The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century

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9781843542308: The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century
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In The Breaking of Nations, Robert Cooper shows that the key question confronting postmodern states is how they should deal with a world in which missiles and terrorists ignore borders and where the certainties of the Cold War alliances no longer exist. He argues that Europeans have to be prepared to use the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception - if they are serious about safeguarding what they have achieved. He also articulates a doctrine of co-operative imperialism and underlines the moral values that lie behind foreign policy choices.

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Folks who like their global political analysis presented in snippy sound bite form can hurry along to the Carvilles and Coulters and find plenty of reading material. But for those who appreciate the complex tapestry of security issues and international affairs, Robert Cooper offers plenty to think about. The present-day world, posits Cooper, is divided into three types of nations: premodern (often third world and politically unstable), modern, and postmodern. While the present-day Europe Union exists as a postmodern model, with each country relying on others to facilitate prosperity, most other large nations, including, for the moment, the United States, are stuck in a merely modern capacity, still viewing foreign policy as essentially a way of keeping enemies at bay and maintaining the status quo. As terrorism grows more powerful and the "premodern" world more unstable, sophisticated weaponry becomes more readily available to terrorist organizations. It then falls t! o the enlightened "postmodern" countries to intervene militarily, taking a pre-emptive approach when necessary, to contain threats, root out bad guys, and defend the world. With this scenario in mind, Cooper urges EU members to increase their military capability to better measure up to the status and power of the American military forces. But as technology makes weapons of mass destruction more readily available around the planet, a more aggressive diplomatic strategy, Cooper says, is crucial to effectively dealing with the build up of weaponry and he presents five "maxims" to illustrate how such a diplomacy should be organized. While Cooper cogently presents his vision of where the world is and where the powerful nations need to take it, he also acknowledges the vagaries of a shifting world and as such presents The Breaking of Nations more as a rumination on complex issues than a ready-made solution. --John Moe

About the Author:

Robert Cooper is currently Director-General of External and Politico-Military Affairs for the Council of the European Union.

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