Great Powers and World Order encourages critical thinking about the nature of world order by presenting the historical information and theoretical concepts needed to make projections about the global future. Charles W. Kegley and Gregory Raymond ask students to compare retrospective cases and formulate their own hypotheses about not only the causes of war, but also the consequences of peace settlements. Historical case studies open a window to see what strategies for constructing world order were tried before, why one course of action was chosen over another, and how things turned out. By moving back and forth in each case study between history and theory, rather than treating them as separate topics, the authors hope to situate the assumptions, causal claims, and policy prescriptions of different schools of thought within the temporal domains in which they took root, giving the reader a better sense of why policy makers embraced a particular view of world order instead of an alternative vision.

Rethinking World Order

Rethinking world order

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

—Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher

Nation-states are sovereign. No higher authority possesses the right to regulate their behavior. No legal superior exists to resolve their disputes. And no guardian stands ready to defend them when they are threatened. As a result of this anarchic environment, even well-meaning national leaders engage in self-help. Uncertain about the intentions of others, they cultivate their state's power, knowing that at the end of the day they are on their own. When push comes to shove, they are responsible for protecting their country, judging whether a foreign power has violated its territorial integrity or political independence, and punishing the perpetrator of the transgression.

Ever since the ...

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