Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies and International Order

Jeffrey W. Legro

Published by Cornell University Press, 2005
ISBN 10: 0801442729 / ISBN 13: 9780801442728
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Synopsis: Stunning shifts in the worldviews of states mark the modern history of international affairs: how do societies think about—and rethink—international order and security? Japan’s "opening," German conquest, American internationalism, Maoist independence, and Gorbachev’s "new thinking" molded international conflict and cooperation in their eras. How do we explain such momentous changes—and in many cases their equally surprising absence?

The nature of strategic ideas, Jeffrey W. Legro argues, played a critical and overlooked role in these transformations. Big changes in foreign policies are rare because it is difficult for individuals to overcome the inertia of entrenched national mentalities. Doing so depends on a particular nexus of policy expectations, national experience, and ready replacement ideas. In a sweeping comparative history, Legro explores the sources of strategy in the United States and Germany before and after the world wars, in Tokugawa Japan, and in the Soviet Union. He charts the likely future of American primacy and a rising China in the coming century.

Rethinking the World tells us when and why we can expect changes in the way states think about the world, why some ideas win out over others, and why some leaders succeed while others fail in redirecting grand strategy.

From the Back Cover: "Jeffrey W. Legro delivers a thoughtful and very clearly written account of the conditions under which major powers change or don't change their visions of their status and role in international society. The book is yet another nail in the coffin of realist theory as it shows that power relationships, unfiltered by prior, collectively held ideas about cause and effect in international relations, tell us little about major power behavior. The book guides us in looking for and theorizing about important instances of `new thinking' in world politics, and thus helps problematize the persistence of `old thinking.'"--Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University "What explains fundamental reorientation of the grand strategy of great powers? Jeffrey Legro moves beyond conventional accounts stressing immutable adaptation to the balance of power, random response to external shocks, or normative persuasion by inherently attractive ideas. He argues instead that big changes in how states view the world reflect domestic struggles to redefine the national interest, which are in turn shaped by contingent yet explicable interactions between ideas and events. This subtle theoretical synthesis marks an important advance in our understanding of the role ideas play in international relations, from which Legro draws important implications for the contemporary foreign policy of the United States and China."--Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University

"The rapid pace of change in the fundamental features of international politics demands that scholars develop better theories of change. In recent years, many scholars and activists have argued that the force of new, persuasive, principled ideas can lead to fundamental change in the world. Jeffrey W. Legro's Rethinking the World looks at dramatic new departures in the thinking of great powers--America's and Japan's emergence from isolationism; Gorbachev's "new thinking" that ended the Cold War; Germany's break with its Nazi past--and shows how external shocks combined with domestic politics and the pre-existing stock of ideas about the world to determine whether change would happen and whether the change would stick. This book's fruitful, balanced approach will be a welcome addition to my syllabus on international relations."--Jack L. Snyder, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations, Columbia University

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Title: Rethinking the World: Great Power Strategies...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Ithaca, NY :. Cornell University Press, 2005. Hardcover. Dustjacket. 253 pp.- Stunning shifts in the worldviews of states mark the modern history of international affairs: how do societies think about and rethink international order and security? Japan's "opening," German conquest, American internationalism, Maoist independence, and Gorbachev's "new thinking" molded international conflict and cooperation in their eras. How do we explain such momentous changes—and in many cases their equally surprising absence?Cornell studies in security affairsEnglish. Cornell studies in security affairs text. Condition : very good copy. ISBN 9780801442728[KEYWORDS: POLITICS*. Bookseller Inventory # 30685

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