World Politics: Anarchism VS. Order

World Politics: Anarchism VS. Order
Prepared By: Professor Michel NEHME
Academican and researcher

The fundamental fact of international life according to neorealists and most neoliberals is that the lack of a common sovereign among states (lack of central authority in the world community) makes interstate cooperation problematic and leads to security dilemmas. Anarchy, which means the lack of authoritative government, is therefore, supposedly, the key permissive cause of conflict and a correlative factor in resorting to power and war. 

Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of the state. These philosophies use anarchy to mean a society based on voluntary cooperation of individuals. Philosophical anarchist thought does not intend to advocate chaos or anomie. The latter term in contemporary English means the absence of any kind of rule, law, principle or order.

Some anarchists imply "anarchy" to refer to a manner of human relations that is intentionally established and maintained. While individual freedom and opposition to the state are primary tenets of anarchism, most anarchists insist that anarchism is much more than that. There is also considerable variation between the anarchist political philosophies, to the point that groups with radically different views may consider themselves anarchist, at the same time denying that other points of view should be called anarchist. Two areas where opinions vary widely are the role of violence and chaos in society, and the role of property and economics. Though it is a vital ambition, Egalitarianism is a present, but lesser subject in the debate about anarchism.

To understand the different stands with regard to the relationship between anarchism and order in the international and domestic orders, I present below the diversity of opinions as offered by different scholars and contending schools of thought in the study of international politics.


Explaining Security Under Anarchy

The first issue above, which deals with the emergence of security communities under anarchy, is an issue relevant for essentially all international relations theory. As such, it has seen a large amount of theorizing. I begin by briefly surveying some of the most prominent arguments.  I do that, however with the conviction that the strongest explanation is a constructivist one focusing on the rising importance of the principle of national self-determination, norms of mutual recognition of sovereignty and the undesirability of war, increasingly reconcilable national interests and improving institutions that embody and help to enforce the norms and principles of cooperation and collaboration.

Is anarchism a political expression of resentment? Is it poisoned by a deep hatred of the powerful? While Nietzsche's attack on anarchism is in many respects unjustified and excessively malicious, and shows little understanding of the complexities of anarchist theory, I would nevertheless argue that Nietzsche does uncover a certain logic of resentment in anarchism's oppositional, Manichean thinking. It is necessary to explore this logic that inhabits anarchism to see where it leads and to what extent it imposes conceptual limits on radical politics.



Anarchism as a revolutionary political philosophy has many different voices, origins and interpretations. From the individualist anarchism of Stirner, to the collectivist, communal anarchism of Bakunin and Kropotkin, anarchism is diverse series of philosophies and political strategies. These are united, however, by a fundamental rejection and critique of political authority in all its forms. The critique of political authority, the conviction that power is oppressive, exploitative and dehumanizing, may be said to be the crucial politico-ethical standpoint of anarchism. For classical anarchists the state is the embodiment of all forms of oppression, exploitation and the enslavement and degradation of man. In Bakunin's words, “the state is like a vast slaughterhouse and an enormous cemetery, where under the shadow and the pretext of this abstraction (the common good) all the best aspirations, all the living forces of a country, are sanctimoniously immolated and interred”. The state is the main target of the anarchist critique of authority. It is for anarchists the fundamental oppression in society, and it must be abolished as the first revolutionary act.

This last point brought nineteenth century anarchism into sharp conflict with Marxism. Marx believed that while the State was indeed oppressive and exploitative, it was a reflection of economic exploitation and an instrument of class power. Thus political power was reduced to economic power. For Marx the economy rather than the state was the fundamental site of oppression. The state rarely had an independent existence beyond class and economic interests. Because of this the state could be used as a tool of revolution if it was in the hands of the right class i.e. the proletariat. The state was only dominating, in other words, because it was presently in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Once class distinctions have disappeared, the state will lose its political character.

Anarchists like Bakunin and Kropotkin disagreed with Marx precisely on this point. For anarchists, the state is much more than an expression of class and economic power. Rather the state has its own logic of domination and self-perpetuation, and is autonomous from class interests. Rather than working from the society to the state, as Marx did, and seeing the state as the derivative of economic relations of capitalism and the rise of the bourgeoisie, anarchists work from the state to society. The state constitutes the fundamental oppression in society, and economic exploitation is derived from this political oppression. In other words, it is political oppression that makes economic oppression possible. Moreover for anarchists, bourgeois relations are actually a reflection of the state, rather than the state being a reflection of bourgeois relations. The ruling class, argues Bakunin, is the state's real material representative. Behind every ruling class of every epoch there looms the state. Because the state has its own autonomous logic it can never be trusted as an instrument of revolution. To do this would be to ignore its logic of domination. If the state is not destroyed immediately, if it is used as a revolutionary tool as Marxists suggest, then its power will be perpetuated in infinitely more tyrannical ways. It would operate, as Bakunin argues, through a new ruling class i.e. a bureaucratic class that will oppress and exploit workers in the same manner as the bourgeois class oppressed and exploited them.

So the state, for anarchists, is a priori oppression, no matter what form it takes. Indeed Bakunin argues that Marxism pays too much attention to the forms of state power while not taking enough account of the way in which state power operates: "They (Marxists) do not know that despotism resides not so much in the form of the state but in the very principle of the State and political power. Oppression and despotism exist in the very structure and symbolism of the state i.e. it is not merely a derivative of class power. The state has its own impersonal logic, its own momentum, and its own priorities: these are often beyond the control of the ruling class and do not necessarily reflect economic relations at all. So anarchism locates the fundamental oppression and power in society in the very structure and operations of the state. As an abstract machine of domination, the State haunts different class actualizations i.e. not just the bourgeoisie state, but the worker's state too. Through its economic reductionism, Marxism neglected the autonomy and pre-eminence of state, this according to scholars was a mistake that would lead to its reaffirmation in a socialist revolution. Therefore the anarchist critique unmasked the hidden forms of domination associated with political power, and exposed Marxism's theoretical inadequacy for dealing with this problem.

This conception of the state ironically strikes a familiar note with Nietzsche. Nietzsche, like the anarchists, sees modern man as 'tamed', fettered and made impotent by the state. He also sees the state as an abstract machine of domination, which precedes capitalism, and looms above class and economic concerns. The state is a mode of domination that imposes a regulated interiorization upon the populace. According to Nietzsche the state emerged as a "terrible tyranny, as a repressive and ruthless machinery," which subjugated, made compliant, and shaped the population. Moreover the origins of this state are violent. It is imposed forcefully from without and has nothing to with contracts (some of which are social contracts). Nietzsche demolishes the "fantasy" of the social contract i.e. the theory that the state was formed by people voluntarily relinquishing their power in return for the safety and security that would be provided by the state. This idea of the social contract has been central to conservative and liberal political theory, from Hobbes to Locke. Anarchists also reject this theory of the social contract. They too argue that the origins of the state are violent, and that it is absurd to argue that people voluntarily gave up their power. It is a dangerous myth that legitimizes and perpetuates state domination.


The Social Contract

Anarchism is based on an essentially optimistic conception of human nature: if individuals have a natural tendency to get on well together then there is no need for the existence of a state to arbitrate between them. On the contrary, the state actually has a pernicious effect on these natural social relations. Anarchists therefore reject political theories based on the idea of social contract. Social contract theory relies on a singularly negative picture of human nature. According to Hobbes, individuals are naturally selfish, aggressively competitive and egotistic, and in a state of nature they are engaged in a war of "every man, against every man" in which their individual drives necessarily bring them into conflict with one another. According to this theory, then, society in a state of nature is characterized by a radical dislocation: there is no common bond between individuals; there is in fact a constant state of war between them, a constant struggle for resources. In order to put a stop to this state of permanent war, individuals come together to form a social contract upon which some kind of authority can be established. They agree to sacrifice part of their freedom in return for some kind of order, so that they can pursue their own individual ends more peacefully and profitably. They agree on the creation of a state with a mandate over society, which shall arbitrate between conflicting wills and enforce law and order.    



The most common reaction of realists to evidence about the decline of war is to deny it has occurred.  John Mearsheimer, for example, writes, “Every state would like to be the most formidable military power in the system because this is the best way to guarantee survival in a world that can be very dangerous … states . . . think about conquest themselves, and they balance against aggressors; this inexorably leads to a world of constant security competition, with the possibility of war always in the background” (Mearsheimer 1995, p. 12). This is a nice description of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when at least some great powers were at war nearly ninety percent of the time, when major countries like Hungary disappeared from the map, and when imperial conquest was common and encouraged by international values.

As applied to the late twentieth century, however, this description simply does not provide a complete picture. Far from being a dangerous place for states, the international system has for decades been a spawning ground for new ones, with the number of states more than tripling from a bit over sixty to nearly two hundred by century’s end.  Military conquest was essentially limited in scope and objective: only one state in the world, South Vietnam, was extinguished by conquest in the last half of the twentieth century. Far from preying on the weak and fragile infant states, great powers created them right and left by withdrawing from previous conquests, frequently in the absence of any serious military threat, which in reality was substituted by economic hegemony. And the intensity of wars though varied in nature were limited to proxy wars: if there was an average of 0.2 wars per country per decade in the period 1816-1947, in the 1948-1980 period that number dropped by nearly two-thirds to 0.07 (Small and Singer 1982, pp. 133-134).

Since neorealism is a structural theory, the only way it could explain such evidence is by appeal to the polarity of the system. It therefore cannot explain the post-Congress of Vienna decline in frequency of international war: the system was multipolar and anarchical in the nineteenth century, just as it was in earlier centuries, and an invariant cause cannot explain a change in outcome. The theory was designed, on the other hand, to explain the peacefulness of the Cold War by appeal to the allegedly stabilizing influence of bipolarity (Waltz 1979).  This was never a terribly convincing theory, as a survey of past bipolar systems (Athens and Sparta, Carthage and Rome, Charles V vs. the Ottomans) illustrates (Kaufman 1997).  However, the combination of bipolarity with the effects of the nuclear revolution provided a much more powerful argument (Gilpin 1981, Jervis 1989): nuclear deterrence made clear the inadvisability of a new world war, while it combined with bipolarity to restrain smaller wars.  Regarding the post-Cold War system, the balance-of-threat version of neorealism (Walt 1987) would suggest that the decline in international tension is the result of the disappearance of the Soviet threat to the West and its interests, and to the absence of a Western threat sufficient to create a counter-coalition.



At least since the publication of Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion, one strand of theory has argued that despite anarchism in the world system, the economic interdependence of states operates to make war among developed states behind the times. This theorizing came in multiple strands. One, functionalism (Mitrany 1933), argued that interdependence was leading to increasing international integration, and to the formation of international institutions that would make cooperation easier and war less likely. The 1970s incarnation of this idea coined the phrase “complex interdependence,” emphasizing how a combination of transnational ties and processes and international organizations created international regimes regulating behavior.  These regimes act to undercut the effectiveness of military force and create a more peaceful pattern of relations at least among some states (Keohane and Nye 1977).

This argument has always, however, been handicapped by the fact that international economic interdependence was, by some measures, higher in 1914 than it has ever been since.  Still, recent research by Oneal and Russett (1997, 1999) has argued that economic interdependence plays an important role in contributing to the relative peace.



Relative Decline of War.

According to John Mueller (1995), the growing tendency toward peace in the twentieth century is attributable to “the historical movement of ideas,” and in particular “the rise of war aversion”.  Before World War I, Mueller points out, war was considered a good thing: in 1895 Oliver Wendell Holmes called war’s message “divine,” while Igor Stravinsky believed war was “necessary for human progress” (1995, p. 126).  Today, virtually no one in the West articulates such views: most consider war at best a tragic necessity, while more and more consider it an inexcusable crime.

The reason for the change, Mueller argues, is less any material changes such as industrialization, but rather the fact that the extreme destructiveness of World War I followed not only a century of relative peace, but also began in the teeth of a considerable antiwar movement whose most dire warnings were borne out by events (1995, p. 135).  Mueller probably underestimates the importance of some causes of this shift: his own data show, for example that World War I was several times more destructive than any previous war, at least for France and Britain.  Furthermore, Edward Luttwak (1995) may be right that smaller family size (itself, in turn, a consequence of the industrial revolution) helped teach parents to be more wary about sending their sons off to die in war.  In any case, Mueller and those who agree with him have clearly found some important patterns, but Mueller at least misses the larger one: what accounts for that exceptionally peaceful nineteenth century? Is it a well-designed balance of power? Or is it a balance of mutual fear among the different major powers?



Democratic Peace Theory.

Despite the vast literature on the apparent absence of war among democracies, there is not much agreement on its explanation for limits. Some theorists argue for a primarily institutional explanation i.e., that democratic institutions are the cause of peace among democracies and off course major powers democracies (Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman 1992). The work of Bruce Russett and his colleagues argues for a combination of institutional factors i.e. democracy, international institutions, and economic interdependence, as the explanation (Russett, Oneal and Davis 1998, Oneal and Russett 1999).  Others prefer to focus on liberal norms as the cause of the democratic peace (Doyle 1983).  Combined models, such as John Owen’s creative synthesis, focus on the interaction between liberal norms and democratic institutions as necessary conditions for the democratic peace (Owen 1994). Other scholars (Spiro 1994) doubt that there is any significant effect at all.


International Society.

Closely related to the arguments about interdependence and international regimes is the “English School” of theorists. These theorists propose the concept of “international society” as “a group of states (or independent political communities) which not merely form a system, but also have established by dialogue and consent common rules and institutions for the conduct of their relations, and recognize their common interest in maintaining these arrangements” (Bull and Watson 1984).  Working from this perspective, Robert Jackson (1990) notes that many developing countries are “quasi-states” which exist only because their sovereignty is internationally recognized according to international norms. And James Mayall (1990) shows how the concept of nationalism shapes international society by determining which units gain recognition as sovereign. Barry Buzan and his colleagues (1993), finally, add the insight that the type of units in an international system matters critically in determining the ability of the system to manage conflict without violence. They show that there have existed international systems, which were anarchical but non-violent because they were closely regulated by shared norms and institutions, both internally and internationally.

While I have found no English School theorist who specifically addresses the decline of war, an explanation could be extrapolated.  The main expression of international society in the immediate post-1815 period was the Concert of Europe, which embodied the fundamental norms of Great Power management of international relations, though the precise values to be maximized were in dispute between the conservative Holy Alliance trio of Russia, Prussia and Austria and the democratic British (and sometimes French). The peaceful nineteenth century would be attributed to the success of the Concert, and to its late-century successor, the Bismarckian system, which also included the fundamental institution of Great Power conferences as the key conflict management tool for Europe. The mid-century wars simply illustrate that no such system is perfect.

To explain twentieth century conflict management, Christian Reus-Smit (1997) offers an innovative fusion of English School, institutionalist and constructivist approaches.  Reus-Smit argues that if an international society includes principles and norms that define what constitutes a legitimate actor (e.g., a sovereign state), and which create institutions defining the limits of rightful state action, then the society can be said to have a “constitutional structure”. As an explanation for peace and war, Reus-Smit’s argument is flawed, as it traces the “foundation” of this international constitution to the 1899 Hague Convention, and its “construction” to the Versailles Treaty i.e., in the run-up to the two World Wars. Still, the idea that principles, norms and institutions might form an international constitution is an important one, worthy of further development.



Though there is now a rich vein of theories using the related approaches referred to variously as constructivist, postmodernist, and post-positivist, I focus here on the work of Alexander Wendt (who while a constructivist is also a positivist). In his publication Social Theory of International Politics, Wendt (1999) emphasizes the “mutually constitutive” effects of the international system and the units that comprise it. Assuming that states are still the key actors in the system, Wendt goes further than Buzan and his colleagues in arguing that the international system is “ideas almost all the way down” that is, that ideas, norms and beliefs are more important than material factors such as power or interest in determining how the international system works, because perceptions of power or interest are interpreted through the prism of those ideas.

Extending Buzan et al.’s insights, Wendt argues, “anarchy as such is an empty vessel and has no intrinsic logic” (1999, p. 249). Rather, he argues, there are three different potential logics of anarchy, which he labels Hobbesian, Lockean and Kantian. Each is defined primarily by the assumptions states make about their relations with each other. If they assume that all other states are enemies, then the relationship is Hobbesian, and the international system matches the expectations of classical realists.  If, however, states recognize and respect each other’s sovereignty, they no longer face threats to their existence, nor pose threats to each other’s sovereignty. In this context, they can become rivals rather than enemies. “Live and let live” can replace “fight or die” as the imperative of the system, neutrality becomes possible, and weaker states are allowed to continue to exist. This is the Lockean system. Finally, if states see each other as friends rather than rivals or enemies, the result is a “pluralistic security community” within which disputes are settled without the use or threat of force, and in which friends help defend each other against threats from outside the community.  This is the Kantian international system.

A second factor characterizing these different systems is the degree whereupon the values of the system are internalized by its respective members (Wendt 1999, chapter 6). In the first degree of internalization, states follow system values only if they are forced to do so: this can apply equally to defensively-inclined states that follow the Hobbesian imperative of “expand or die,” or to aggressively-inclined states that disgorge attempted conquests due to the coercion of others in a Lockean system. In the second degree of internalization, states come to see norm compliance as being generally in their interest, so they restrain themselves in the absence of immediate threats.  Thus states in a Hobbesean system tilt toward pre-emptive expansion, expecting the threat is coming, while ones in a Lockean system stick to the status quo, figuring they are safest if they are not themselves perceived as the threat. Finally, in the third degree of internationalization, states fully adopt system norms, considering them legitimate, so they no longer even seriously consider violating them most of the time.

While Wendt is more concerned with constructing his theory than with applying it, he is quite clear in asserting that the Westphalian international system is a highly internalized Lockean one. That is, modern states see themselves generally as rivals rather than enemies, and the basic norm of respect for each other’s sovereignty is fully internalized, that is, considered legitimate by most.  He illustrates the point with the “Bahamas Problem”, explaining that the U.S. does not invade the Bahamas not merely because it calculates that doing so would not be in its interest; rather, the main interest at stake is the sovereignty norm, which it never occurs to U.S. leaders to violate in most cases (1999, p. 290).  On the other hand, the system also assigns to states the role of rivals, encouraging competition and obstructing cooperation.  This is the situation that neorealism envisages, the Hobbesian rhetoric of some of its theorists notwithstanding.

In the post-Cold War period, Wendt argues, “the international system is undergoing another structural change, to a Kantian culture of collective security. So far this change is limited mostly to the West” (1999, p. 314). In a separate article, Wendt (1994) goes a step further, pointing out that the existence of fully legitimate international norms implies the existence of international “authority” (Hurd 1999), albeit a decentralized one.  Indeed, the combination of this authority with the joint control of coercive force embodied in NATO points to the existence of an “international state,” meaning that within NATO at least, relations are more analogous to domestic politics than to any meaningful understanding of “anarchy”.

As powerful as Wendt’s argument is, however, it has some problems as an explanation of the decline of war. First, Wendt attributes the emergence of Lockean anarchy to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This is indeed the commonly established date for the emergence of the modern international system, but the decline of war, as shown above, dates roughly to 1815, not 1648.  Why did the new norm take so long to come into effect? Arguing that the norm was more about recognition of sovereignty than about peace does not work for two reasons. One is that Wendt’s argument emphasizes that a key implication of the Lockean norm of recognized sovereignty is that with existential threats mostly gone, the security dilemma is alleviated, and that indirectly lead to the decline of war.  Second, the sovereignty norm was, until 1945, arguably even weaker than the decline-of-war effect: the number of states in the European system actually declined in the mid-nineteenth century as a result of German and Italian unification. At the Congress of Vienna, Prussian annexation of Saxony was considered unthinkable; a few decades later, it happened.

Second, Wendt’s approach is not particularly useful for explaining peace during the Cold War. U.S.-Soviet relations before detente were clearly Hobbesian, as each side explicitly set as its aim the eradication of the other’s political, economic and social system. Lockean norms of recognized sovereignty existed in the background, but were irrelevant as the great fears were of nuclear holocaust or of the loss of allies, foreign policy autonomy, and ultimately of social values, not of pure annexation.  Constructivism can help explain peace within the West, but not the successful navigation of the Cold War by the superpowers.


Refining the Constructivist Explanation

Let us sum up the problem so far.  The main pattern to be explained is the secular decline of international war after three successive break points: the post-1815 drop-off in international war; the further decline in the Cold War period, and the near-absence of international war in the post-Cold War decade.  The related puzzles are the absence of security dilemmas between many states, and the rise of civil wars in many others. None of the theories outlined above can explain all of this. Only the international society approach can explain the post 1815 break point, based on the system of international conferences of the nineteenth century. For explaining both World War I and the peace of the Cold War period, there are two possible explanations: the neorealist argument about multipolar instability versus the stability of a bipolar nuclear balance; and Mueller’s hypothesis about the normative rejection of war which came as a result of World War I. All the theories offer hypotheses to explain the peace of the post-Cold War decade among major powers.

The best hope for a comprehensive explanation of the declines in war in the past two centuries would be to combine the international society and Mueller approaches, that is, to build an approach that focuses on the combined effects of institutions and norms. The best approach as it stands from the available literature on the subject for studying order in the international system is constructivism, for as Alexander Wendt has noted, “institutions are made of norms, and normatively based rules” (Wendt 1999, p. 96). Still, any such attempt faces a fundamental problem: how does one explain why institutions suddenly became effective at reducing the frequency of war in the nineteenth century, and why norms shifted even more strongly against war, i.e. eliminating the security dilemma from the relations among many states in the mid-twentieth?  The answer to that from the available readings is nationalism, and in particular, the understanding that international relations has now become relations among nations much more than inter-state relations.


Constructing an Approach

One should note that it is not easy to construct an approach explaining the decline of international war among major power and relative rise of domestic civil wars among weak nations. The foundation of my argument is stemmed from the insight of James Mayall (1990) that the international system has been shaped fundamentally by the principles of sovereignty and national self-determination. I argue along with Alexander Wendt (1999) that nation-states and the international system mutually constitute each other according to these principles. One could go farther than Wendt, however, by emphasizing the fundamental importance of national identity in modifying, and moderating, state behavior; and also by arguing that it is increasingly the nation rather than the state that is the main unit of international life. International war among wealthy nations has declined, one could argue, because the principle of national self-determination and the norm of mutual recognition of sovereignty have produced a highly successful system of managing interstate conflict by increasingly delegitimizing military conquest of one big nation to another and by realizing the catastrophic consequences of such confrontation. In the nineteenth century, international norms limited legitimate conquest only to certain areas; since World War II, conquest has become so illegitimate that it is rarely attempted and even less often successful, it was substituted within a bipolar system by political, military and economic influence to force small nation under a system of subordination.

Within states, however, the principles of state sovereignty and national self-determination may oppose each other, leading to civil war and along that border disputes among small states lead to conflict often manifesting itself in armed confrontations and wars.  Inside multinational states, competition for power is a competition for sovereignty over ethnic rivals, leading groups to see threats to their existence. This suggests that, paradoxically, the fact of international anarchy enhances many international conflicts among small nation-states and makes their management easier by cooperation of superpowers. While competition for sovereignty exacerbates domestic conflict and makes severe violence more likely among weak states, it is to the advantage of major powers to exploit such conflicts. This insight further implies that the standard realist argument that world peace would require a world sovereign is exactly wrong, because creating one would raise the stakes in international politics into the question of “who rules”.  Instead, strengthening the identities, norms, and non-sovereign institutions that now underpin the relatively peaceful world order is the proper path to improved world security.  Indeed, one could depict that the current international order is best understood as a society of nations with a constitutional structure comparable in effectiveness to that of a weak and non-egalitarian state.

The developing countries are a vital force, which cannot be ignored when the world is going multipolar. They are entering a historic phase focusing on evolving their national economies and seeking a fair and rational international political and economic order. In the 10 years following the end of the cold war, economic development in the developing countries has been a driving force for the economic growth in the world and has improved its standing in the world's economy. Though deeply hit by the financial crisis in East Asia in 1997, economies in the developing countries have grown again since 1999. The Asian economy, though still unstable, is tending to grow again, economic growth is being restored in Latin America and the economies in some African countries are gaining forceful growing momentum. The political and economic order in the world today, however, remains the old one, fraught with much serious injustice, inequality and irrationality, forged after the Second World War under the sway and control by the Western developed countries. Economic and information globalization has offered opportunities to the developing countries and at the same time confronting them with ever increasing challenges. The ambience for the development of the developing countries has become grimmer and the South-North relations have turned more complicated. The Western developed countries headed by the U.S. are vigorously pushing their trade protectionism and putting limits on imports from the developing countries resulting in worsening trade conditions for the developing countries. In addition, the developing countries are finding themselves deeply in debts. The developing countries are faced with a series of challenges resulting from the rapid development of the new and high technologies in the world. The developed countries usually set limits on technological transfer or put the technology-recipient countries under their control. Technological gap between most developing countries and the developed countries is further widening. On the whole, the disparity between the developing and developed countries is diminishing in terms of economic scale, nevertheless there is no qualitative change yet. The South-North gap remains critical -- the rich becomes richer while the poor poorer. At the end of the cold war, the international situation has been heading for relaxation on the whole among the contending super and major powers, yet there will by no means be no war again in the world. In recent years, the Western countries headed by the U.S. have been pursuing energetically neointerventionism featuring "human rights over sovereignty". Their primary stunts are guided by this fallacy and backed by high-tech military strength, unjustifiably trampling on international laws and flagrantly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. At the close of the cold war, hegemony and power politics remain stumbling blocks to peace and development in the world. Restriction and counter-restriction, control and counter-control and intervention and counter-intervention remain the vital contents governing the international relations. Though varying in their interests, the common call of the developing countries remains the maintenance of peace, materialization of stability and seeking development. Their interests are identical. While taking advantage of the opportunities brought by economic globalization, scholars gradually perceive the negative effects created by the globalization. They are beefing up their awareness of economic security and earnestly aspiring the founding of a new international economic and political order according to the principle of equality, mutual benefits and common development. The South-North issue remains the central issue in the present-day world. And the broad developing countries are still the nuclear force for the buildup of a new international political and economic order. In the 21st century, the developing countries will continue to seek development at risks. Many developing countries will spring up and seek modernization. This is an irresistible historic trend


Shifting Observation

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. The first section briefly elaborates on the domestic and regional wars in the last two centuries. The second section surveys some of the existing literature on the subject, showing that each literature offers valuable insights in explaining the decline of war and rise of civil war, but that none offers a complete explanation. The third section weaves together insights from most of the competing schools of thought, primarily Wendt’s constructivist approach and Mayall’s English School, to sketch out elements of a “society of nations” argument that can account for the evidence about changing patterns of war. The central argument is how de-emphasizing anarchy and emphasizing the role of nationalism and the sovereignty norm allows one simultaneously to account for the decline in international violence and continued occurrence of civil violence. Anarchy for realists and as stated above is supposedly, the key permissive cause of conflict and war, where as for neorealists every single element of this argument is wrong. First of all, the idea that interstate cooperation is problematic does not comply with the facts but only because there exists a hierarchy of power among economic-political entities and most importantly these entities are supported by their mother states. The international economy is a finely tuned and closely integrated machine based on power and influence relationship and in turn that depends critically at a million points on unquestioned international cooperation among agents of states, firms, and consumers. That cooperation is rarely disrupted because of fear that imposes compliance. International laws are followed by weak entities because they do not have any other option. The international law is similar to domestic laws in a repressive state and is respected in that sense at least as often as are domestic laws in oppressive states. In general political affairs, government bureaucrats worldwide are engaged daily in carrying out the cooperative tasks established by the dictates of their leaders at unending rounds of summit meetings, multilateral conclaves, and meetings of international organizations. Whether they meet for the Group of Seven (or Eight), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, or OAU, Arab League or OSCE summits, national leaders always pretend overtly to come with agendas on which issues of continuing and improving cooperation dominate, however, covertly they carry different intentions. Cooperation is the overt dictated rule. Covert intentions, for the sake of stability, are not to be revealed. In many cases, this cooperation among major powers and developed economies which is still characterized by hidden conflicts is not tempered by security dilemmas: as John Mueller (1995) and many others have noted, relations between the U.S. and Canada or among West European states were formerly characterized by security dilemmas but they are not any more. Even realists such as Robert Jervis (1998) concede that there exists among advanced industrial democracies a “security community” in which despite their differences and conflicts, there is no security dilemma. On the other hand, security dilemmas can arise domestically without anarchy. An example in this regard is the fact that ethnic security dilemmas arose in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union while those countries still had all the attributes of sovereign authority. Ethnic security dilemmas were much more the cause than the result of anarchy in those states. Stating this does not mean that we undermine legitimacy when it comes to governments and governance. Within states, however, the principles of state sovereignty and national self-determination may oppose each other, leading to civil war. Inside multinational states, competition for power is a competition for sovereignty over ethnic rivals, leading groups to see threats to their existence. This suggests that, paradoxically, the fact of international anarchy improve many international conflicts and makes their management easier, by offering sovereign equality as a solution; while competition for sovereignty exacerbates domestic conflict and makes severe violence more likely. According to neorealists logic, the very fact of international anarchy ought to lead to security dilemmas between states, which must seek relative increases in power to ensure their own security. The dominant fact of the post-World War II international system, however, is the complete absence of such security dilemmas among advanced industrial democracies. During the Cold War, this fact could be attributed to the existence of a common threat from the Soviet Union, according to balance of threat theory (Walt 1987). After the Cold War, however, the logic no longer applies: NATO persists in spite of the absence of any threat to hold it together, and in spite of the significant increase in German power that resulted from the reunification of Germany. The U.S.-Canadian border remains the longest unfortified border in the world. Japan continues to rely on U.S. military protection in spite of its position as the world’s second largest economy and the rising threat from nearby China. Most of South America is similarly untroubled by interstate security dilemmas, a fact symbolized by the abandonment by both Argentina and Brazil of their nuclear programs, and the essential end of the longstanding security dilemma, driven tension among all three Southern Cone states. If international anarchy is less and less likely to lead to interstate security dilemmas, intrastate security dilemmas seem more and more likely to arise even in strong states. The rise of armed antigovernment militias in parts of the United States, especially in Montana and neighboring states, is a non-trivial illustration of the trend. These are illegal armed groups, which openly aim to overthrow, or at least resist the authority of the United States government; and which threaten their neighbors, creating security dilemmas. Yet in spite of these problems, U.S. government officials judge, one could probably say, that it would be too costly to suppress these groups. Organized criminal gangs, in the U.S. and elsewhere, create even stronger security dilemma dynamics, as many residents are driven to join one or another criminal gang as a means of self-defense in the context of ever-present gang wars. Thus the existence of even the strongest and most stable state does not prevent the emergence of security dilemmas. The demise of another apparently strong state, the Soviet Union, illustrates how serious such local security dilemmas can become (Kaufman 2001). In early 1988, there was not the slightest hint that the Soviet Union was coming apart. But after ethnic Armenians began mobilizing peacefully to demand an internal border change, a single radio report of ethnic violence touched off an acute security dilemma: fearful of Armenian machinations and seeking revenge, Azerbaijani mobs surged through the city of Sumgait, Azerbaijan, killing at least dozens of Armenians, wounding hundreds, and driving thousands permanently out of the city. The mighty Soviet state was helpless. Despite the deployment of thousands of Soviet troops to trouble spots in the region, the year ended with a massive ethnic cleansing campaign in which hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were driven from Armenia, and comparable numbers of Armenians were driven from Azerbaijan. The Soviet Union remained a powerful state, its troops brutally suppressed a nationalist uprising in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku in January 1990, but it was unable to prevent the emergence and escalation of a security dilemma between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Indeed, by the spring of 1990, only a few months after the Baku intervention, a guerrilla war had broken out between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. This Armenian-Azerbaijani security dilemma did not result from incipient anarchy in the Soviet Union; rather, it began when the Soviet state was strong, and it played a key role in causing the growing anarchy that culminated in the Soviet collapse. Other ethnic security dilemmas in the USSR, most notably between Georgians and minority groups in Georgia, and between Moldovans and minority groups in Moldova, further undermined the Soviet Union’s cohesion and legitimacy. While these examples are anecdotal rather than systematic, they do constitute existence proofs of two propositions. First, international anarchy is not necessarily connected with the emergence of security dilemmas; some states have formed a security community instead. And second, the existence of even a strong sovereign state does not prevent the emergence and escalation of intrastate security dilemmas. Such security dilemmas may cause the state to break down into anarchy, but such anarchy is not a prerequisite for a security dilemma. Therefore, the relationship between anarchy and the security dilemma must be rethought. It is important to note here that factors and variables other than anarchism and central authority are to be taken into consideration if we are going to understand reasons for security dilemmas, conflict and strife. Legitimacy and effective sharing in decision-making are factors to be taken seriously in this context.


Theorizing Multiple Nations One Society

Liberal scholars wrote that one of the key defining features of the international system is the principle legitimizing the identity of the key units in it. Those scholars asserted that different principles of unit identity caused the international system to behave differently: while the imperialist principle promoted the consolidation of the system into a smaller number of larger units, for example, the national principle promotes the disintegration of the system into a larger number of smaller units. To create a comprehensive characterization of system change over hundred of years, One could further argue that theory would also have to include attention to three other variables: the effects of international anarchy, the degree of international economic interdependence, and the effectiveness of “social technology” or ruling institutions. For explaining the modern decline of war (and rise of civil war), however, anarchy and social technology are derivative, and therefore dispensable. Dispensing with anarchy is controversial, but in fact anarchy is not a useful concept for defining the international system. As Wendt has persuasively demonstrated, “anarchy as such is an empty vessel and has no intrinsic logic” (1999, p. 309). Instead, the international system can be characterized either by Hobbesian, Lockean or Kantian norms. Furthermore, international systems may be characterized by a denser or sparser network of international institutions of greater or lesser effectiveness, and by different principles of unit legitimacy; different economic systems also generate different state interests. And as the discussion above shows, for the one set of alleged effects of anarchy that has been held to be undeniable, security dilemmas and the possibility of war, anarchy is demonstrably not either the necessary or the sufficient condition. If we want to understand the relations among nations, the concept of anarchy tells us nothing. The factor of international economic interdependence plays a crucial supporting role in the story, however. As noted above, Oneal and Russett (1997, 1999) have made a strong case that interdependence is an important variable in explaining international peace, at least since 1885, and those effects are mostly independent of principles of unit identity. Before 1945, those effects were much less important than the roles of norms and legitimizing principles, as illustrated by the outbreak of World War I between highly interdependent trading partners. After 1945, however, economic interdependence plays a critical role in explaining international peace: only the combination of norms and legitimizing principles (and the resulting institutions) on the one hand, and of the transformation of interests resulting from economic interdependence and the nuclear revolution on the other, suffices to explain the peace of the Cold War and post-Cold War periods.


Constructing the International System

According to constructivist theory, “it is impossible for structures to have effects apart from the attributes and interactions of agents” (Wendt 1999, p. 12). Thus the principles that legitimate and define the identity of units at the same time help to constitute or create the international system. That system, in turn, influences the units’ legitimizing principles (for example, by encouraging units to adopt the principles legitimized by the system’s dominant members). System and unit are mutually constitutive. Unlike Wendt, however, one could emphasize less the concept of “role” and “collective” identity i.e. aspects of identity that come only from interaction among units, but rather a combination of “corporate” and “type” identity i.e. aspects of unit identity that exist separately from the international system (see Wendt 1999,

p. 224). The principle defining legitimate unit identity is precisely such a concept: a nation can in principle be a nation even if wholly isolated from any other; however, in the international system, a nation-state takes its identity in large part from the boundaries it draws between itself and other nations, and between itself and other states. The international system, one could argue, is defined primarily by the legitimizing principles of the dominant units in the system. Those principles are the prime determinant of the system’s basic structure, whether empire; hegemony; Hobbesian, Lockean or Kantian anarchy; or some other form. To put it differently: Wendt argues that the type of anarchy depends on whether states take on the role of enemy, rival or friend; I argue that the principle of unit identity largely determines which role the states will play. I distinguish three principles of unit identity of relevance for the international system. The first is the national principle, “which holds that the national and the political unit should be congruent” (Gellner 1983, p. 1). The nation is defined by a common culture and a recognition or consciousness of shared nationhood. To be clear: one could argue that where and when the national principle is dominant; the relevant actor is the nation, not the state. If the nation and the state are in fact congruent, or nearly so, this presents no problem as the state simply acts as the agent of the nation, and we can refer to a nation-state. However, if the nation and state are not congruent, focus has to be on the nations. Sometimes, a multinational state  is controlled by a particular nation, in which case the relevant question for “international relations” in the inter-national relations between the dominant nation and the others in the state (as in the dying Soviet Union and Yugoslavia). In other cases, the state shrivels into a political and legal fiction, in which national (or “tribal”) identity becomes one of the few fixed points in a genuinely anarchic situation. While this focus on nation over state seems to pose a major challenge to international relations theory, it merely incorporates information already widely acknowledged, in particular Robert Jackson’s (1990) observation about “quasi states”, legal and political fictions whose existence goes little beyond the fact that they are internationally recognized as states. It seems odd for realism, with its emphasis on the material realities of power, to insist on the “unit-ness” of such pathetic entities when real power rests elsewhere. The second key principle of unit identity is royalism. As it is well known, early modern Europe was dominated by kingdoms governed under the royalist principle, i.e. the divine right of kings. Under this system, the political unit was defined by heredity, as the family inheritance of the ruling monarch. A critical point, however, is that in practice all of the early modern European kingdoms were empires, that is, they also accepted that such inheritance could be changed by military conquest. All of their major non-European rivals, such as the Ottoman, Persian and Mogul “gunpowder empires,” and the Chinese Empire, operated according to the same principle. As the above paragraphs make clear, there are really two distinct types of legitimizing principles that matter for the international system i.e. principles justifying the existence of the unit (royalist inheritance, national identity), and principles justifying change in its territorial endowment (imperialism, nationalism). As it turns out, an important part of the story of the decline of war concerns a particular kind of hybrid form: the national empire. Especially in the late nineteenth century, most leading states took this odd form in which governments’ legitimacy was justified primarily on the national principle i.e. government of and for Frenchmen, Germans, Englishmen, Americans, but at the same time they also considered imperial conquest legitimate on grounds of a “civilization mission” or “white man’s burden”. This self-contradictory set of principles necessarily had a limited life span, but it was of great importance for about a century. There was, finally, another principle of unit identity that was important in the twentieth century: transnational Communism. According to this principle, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were legitimized by the solidarity of workers of many nationalities for their class benefit, and in self-defense against the capitalist system. Though this principle was, in large part, a cloak for a sort of Russian imperialism, the existence of a legitimizing identity beyond naked imperialism was an important ingredient in its longevity and political reach. Neorealism argues that the type of state is not important in international relations, because all states seek to survive. But this was never a terribly convincing argument. The argument, in effect, was that states were like atoms bouncing against each other in a fluid, with the interactions determined largely by their size or atomic weight.


Neorealism in Perspective

As constructivists point out, the international system and the units that comprise it are mutually constitutive. The system’s nature is defined by, and in turn influences, the units’ legitimizing principles. In and of themselves, however, royalism and nationalism are both compatible with any of the anarchical forms Wendt identifies, Hobbesian, Lockean, or Kantian; royalism is also compatible with hegemony or even a single universal empire. Thus in principle, nations could be vicious imperialists who pursue ethnic cleansing to allow for national expansion (as, e.g., U.S. citizens did to the Native Americans in their “westward expansion”), thereby creating a Hobbesian anarchy. Alternatively, nations might mutually recognize each other in a contained Lockean rivalry, or identify with each other in a Kantian confederation (like the European Union). Similarly, reigning monarchs might call each other “brother” and settle disputes without fighting in a Kantian brotherhood. Alternatively, they might compete in a genteel eighteenth century-style Lockean rivalry, or in a winner-take-all clash of civilizations as between Alexander or Genghis Khan and their enemies. What distinguish these forms from each other are primarily attitudes toward imperialism. Monarchies, as systems in which a few elites dominate, get their start by violent conquest, so their norms legitimize imperialist expansion. It is therefore impossible to form a lasting Kantian brotherhood among monarchs, even in cases where the monarchs are literally brothers. Lockean contracts to pursue limited war are possible, but while such norms might limit the stakes in war, there is no reason to expect that they would limit the frequency of war. Even Lockean norms, however, do not naturally fit with royalist rule, so the natural state of relations among monarchies is the Hobbesian. Indeed, there is a reason that Machiavelli’s and Hobbes’ famous books are entitled, respectively, The Prince and Leviathan. Nations, however, are made of different stuff, and they behave differently: national interest is not the same thing as raison d’etat. To be sure, if they emerge into a system dominated by empires, national units will at first to be constituted by the system more than they constitute it. Thus, in such a system, nation-states can be expected to engage in imperial expansion. Even if expansion suits the nation’s economic interest, however, imperialism should not sit easily with it: the national principle is not compatible with colonial rule. And as nations come to comprise more and more of the units in the system, their norms should more and more influence its workings. The likely result is a Lockean system of limited rivalry: recognizing each other’s right to national self-determination, nations should logically fight for limited national goals rather than unlimited imperial ones. Variation should be expected in the medium term, though national feelings in any individual nation can easily morph into national chauvinism, which does justify conquest. Ultimately, however, a system dominated by nations should effectively create balances in which nations preferring the Lockean norm coalesce against imperialist national chauvinists. A system embodying such Lockean norms (or Kantian ones) can be distinguished from the Hobbesian by using the English School term, it is an international society rather than merely a system. Ultimately, the national principle is consistent with Kantian norms as well as Lockean ones, but there is nothing logically necessary about the emergence of a Kantian system among nations. National interests must permit it, in two different senses. First, it must be the case that conflicts of national interest are moderate enough that they can be settled by peaceful accommodation. If, for example, economic needs require military expansion, Kantian norms will not emerge; thus, the international economic system must encourage cooperation. Second, national interests must encourage anti-war norms: war, in short, must be too costly to be attractive. Finally, there must emerge a system of international institutions that can effectively assist nations in settling their conflicts peacefully. Without all three element i.e. norms, interests, and institutions, a Kantian society cannot emerge. This final point is equally applicable to a Lockean society: while the fundamental necessary element of a Lockean society is emergence of a norm of mutual recognition, and therefore of a live-and-let-live system of limited rivalry, such a norm can be effective in limiting war only if reinforced by compatible interests and implemented by effective institutions. While interests are strongly influenced by legitimizing principles (e.g., imperialists have an interest in suppressing nationalism even outside their empires), there are also at least two critical material sources of interests: the economic system and military technology. Unregulated economic rivalry can increase the likelihood of war, while cooperative economic interdependence (as noted above) can reduce it. Regarding military technology, I will argue here that only nuclear weapons have a transforming effect on the international system (Jervis 1989). Finally, as the neoliberal literature has argued (Keohane 1986), institutions are also necessary: without their functions of reducing transaction costs, increasing information and lengthening the shadow of the future, cooperation, while possible, is still likely to collapse. When all of these factors are present simultaneously, not only legitimizing principles and Lockean norms, but also compatible interests and effective institutions, it makes sense to say that international society has a constitutional structure. The shift in analytical focus from nation to state has another implication, for the frequency of civil war. Most states in the world are multinational, but the political unit recognized by the international system is the sovereign state, not the nation, though theoretically the legitimizing principle of the state is the national principle. In multinational states, therefore, the question logically arises: which nation is sovereign? The more strongly the national principle is held, the more the constituent nations are likely to compete for sovereignty. Compromising on equal sovereignty means partition, but the international norm of recognized sovereignty requires that dominant nations acquiesce in minorities’ secession, which dominants are loath to do. Thus the very principles that restrain international violence i.e. states’ mutual recognition of the others’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, simultaneously puts nations within states into a position in which they have to compete for domination (a sort of empire) because international norms oppose equality (separate statehood for each nation), and power sharing tends to be unstable. In short, the same factor that causes international peace by blocking imperialist expansion, also causes nationalist civil wars by facilitating the creation of mini-empires within multinational states.

The purpose of this argument about a society of nations is to sketch out a theory to explain the decline of war among major powers and the rise of conflict among smaller nations regionally and domestically in the last two centuries. Below is an attempt to briefly trace the logic to key periods in the last five centuries.


The war-prone early modern system

In the period from 1500 to 1815, imperialist kingdoms dominated the European great power system. Though major international agreements like the Peace of Augsburg (1555) and the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) introduced some norms into the system (Wendt 1999), the violence of international war was hardly contained: the system remained essentially Hobbesian. The Emperor Charles V in the sixteenth century, Louis XIV in the seventeenth century, the Ottomans in both centuries, and Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth all made bids for European hegemony. Russia, Austria and France responded to the upstart Prussian King Frederick II by trying to eliminate his country as a great power. Everyone accepted the legitimacy of imperial conquest. Indeed, many countries large and small disappeared from the map of Europe, showing that there was no Lockean “live and let live” norm in effect. Hungary, at the time considered a great power, disappeared into the Ottoman maw after the Battle of Mohacz in 1526; it did not reappear until 1918. Scotland’s voluntary union with England in the early seventeenth century became involuntary when the Stuarts were chased from the throne, but no norm saved its independence, which it never regained. The “constitution” of the Westphalian system, the 1648 treaty, was designed in part to eliminate most of the tiny independent German entities, consolidating them into a much smaller number of larger units. And in the late eighteenth century, Russia, Prussia and Austria collaborated to wipe Poland, which had been a great power in the sixteenth century, entirely off the map, also not to reappear until 1918. Given this normative foundation, the highly warlike nature of the system was inevitable.


Nineteenth Century Nationalism.

As it is commonplace to note, the French Revolution introduced nationalism into the European international system (see, e.g., Hobsbawm 1990). Once the violence of that revolutionary change subsided in 1815, the result was for the first time the creation of a system of Lockean norms and institutions sufficient to restrain international war. This sounds like a paradox. Only France and England were moving toward nationhood by 1815, and France temporarily retreated from nationhood under royal rule. So how could nationalism so profoundly change the system? The answer is that fear of nationalism played a critical role. As argued above, a conflict resolution system can work only if there is a confluence of principles, norms, interests, and institutions. The main institutions of conflict management were the Quadruple (later Quintuple) Alliance and the Concert of Europe, which operated according to the traditional principle of consultation and agreement among great powers. The reason for their effectiveness, however, is best illustrated by their eastern subset, the Holy Alliance, which was an alliance of old-style kingdoms (Russia, Prussia, Austria) against the threat of nationalism. Thus the principle on which the Concert powers agreed was a conservative, antirevolutionary one, and the interest was identical–self-preservation against revolutionary nationalist disturbances. The eastern kingdoms especially feared that war with other great powers would undermine their systems domestically, because they had learned that from the Napoleonic Wars to mobilize for major war they would have to try to harness the dangerous power of nationalism. Issues that might lead to great power clashes, such as the problems of Greece (1927) and Belgium (1830), were therefore best settled peacefully by consultation among the powers in the Concert (Schroeder 1976). According to Barbara Jelavich, for example, Tsar Nicholas reaction to France’s 1830 revolution was that, “with the Decembrist revolt still fresh in his mind, he was disturbed by any sign of the renewal of revolutionary activity. It was the challenge to the principle of [royal] legitimacy and the danger of the influence of the movement on Russia that he feared” (Jelavich 1974, p. 93). The British frequently went along because their primary interest on the Continent was also stability, even if a conservative one: Britain’s imperial interests were overseas. As a result, the Europeans limited themselves to fighting only small wars for several decades, mostly against the fast, weakening Turks, but the British also against “natives” in the colonies. (The Crimean War came when Russia miscalculated, and felt trapped into confronting the Ottomans when Britain and France backed the Ottomans). Thus the specter of nationalism made the Concert system work. But this was only a holding action. The revolutions of 1830 and 1848 demonstrated the growing power of the national principle across most of Europe. Prussia had to lead German unification or fall victim to it, and France found itself sponsoring Italian national unification. The trouble was that these were no peaceful, inward-looking nationalisms; every major nation in the world turned to imperialism in the decades after 1871. First Britain and then France led the way in establishing the pattern of the national empire–i.e., nation-state in the metropole, colonial empire overseas. As the two most dynamic powers in the world, they constituted the international system in that image, establishing the new norm of colonial expansion. Germany, Italy, the United States and Japan followed their lead. The old-style royal empires of Russia, Austria and the Ottoman Empire simply tried to soldier on in defiance of the nationalisms threatening their stability (though the Russians and Young Turks did make abortive efforts to harness nationalism) (on Russia see Tuminez 1999). Relative peace in Europe after 1871 depended on a system more rickety than that of the Concert. Bismarck maintained the institution (held over from Concert days) of great power conferences to settle major European matters–most notably at the 1878 Berlin conference–and he updated the Holy Alliance in the form of the Three Emperors’ League. If the institutional practices were uncertain, because less automatic than in Concert days, the norms they expressed and the interests they had to accommodate were at the same time less cooperative. The norms were purely imperialist, if not without restraint: national chauvinism was primarily directed against non-European peoples, while competition on the Continent was restrained by international society’s Lockean norm of mutual recognition among European states. Still, the interests of the national empires were nakedly acquisitive (aside from Bismarckian Germany). Under the circumstances, the only principle that could serve to settle conflict was the old norm of compensation: if the Russians received territory from the Ottomans, then so must Austria; the Germans insisted on compensation for French and British expansion in Africa; and so on.


Norms and the World Wars.

Wilhelmine revisionism changed all three variables in the nineteenth century Lockean equation. In the place of Bismarck’s institutions of overlapping alliances and international conferences featuring statesmanlike diplomacy, Wilhelm II substituted blustery threats, clumsy ultimata, and over reliance on Austria as an ally. Instead of limiting their national chauvinism to abusing non-European peoples, Europeans–especially Germans–increasingly taught their children to look down on their European neighbors, too, as inferior (Van Evera 1991, Tuchman 1962). As a result, instead of observing the Lockean norm of mutual recognition among European states based on the national principle, German politicians’ thoughts turned increasingly to schemes of domination not only over mittelafrika but also over mitteleuropa (Fischer 1967, p. 28). And once the world map had been essentially carved up among the imperialist powers, conflicts of interest increasingly took on a zero-sum cast. To be sure, that problem alone might have been manageable: the great powers might, if they had to, have compensated each other with chunks taken out of the empires of weaker powers such as Portugal, the Netherlands or Belgium. But the issue was not really a few colonies: as Fritz Fischer shows, Germany really wanted European dominance. The Lockean rules were off, so Europe was thrown into the Hobbesian horrors of World War I. The institutional framework of the interwar League of Nations worked just as a norm-centered logic would expect. As long as most of the major powers in the system–not only Britain and France (and the isolationist U.S.), but also Germany and Japan, accepted the system’s central norm of non-aggression, especially during the 1920s, it faced few challenges and worked well. For a brief moment, international society had a constitutional structure, based on the national principle, norms of sovereignty and non-aggression, and the institution of the League. But there was a contradiction: the basic legitimizing principle of the system’s leading units remained national imperialism, which of course justifies military expansion. Once Italy, Germany, and Japan began emphasizing that norm in principle, while their interests seemed to demand violating the norm in practice, the League system became not merely irrelevant, but a positive impediment to effective collective self-defense in what was now again a Hobbesian environment.


Nationalism And the Cold War.

After World War II, the national principle came to dominate international society, now for the first time it is close to a society of nations. At base, the problem was internal to the colonial empires, as the imperialists’ nationalist rhetoric i.e. a discourse that is fundamentally egalitarian, increasingly delegitimized those empires. But the national principle also found its way into the normative structure of international society, especially the presumption (dating from League of Nations days) that colonial status was acceptable only temporarily, and must be conceived as a period of preparation for independence. Some of the colonial powers (most notably the British in India) had even during the war been cornered in promising national independence to some colonies. After it, however, the normative structure of international society was backed by the agreement of both international superpowers, though for different reasons, that old-style colonialism was no longer legitimate. The key step in this process was UN General Assembly Resolution 1514, which condemned possession of colonies and ruled out delays in granting independence even on grounds of lack of preparation for self-government (Mayall 1990, pp. 46-49). Due to this combination of pressures, the colonial empires even of the war’s victors and neutrals dissolved away in the three decades after World War II. This founding principle of non-imperialist national sovereignty, which already implies a Lockean live-and-let-live norm–was reinforced by an emerging postwar norm of respect for international borders. Now, for the first time, not only were wars of conquest no longer legitimate, most border disputes also came to be seen as illegitimate: once colonial powers withdrew and international borders were recognized, changing them by force was no longer considered acceptable. This stronger antiaggression norm found early expression in the Korean War, where even the national principle did not outweigh the judgement of the majority of the world’s states, legitimized by the United Nations, that military conquest was unacceptable. The norm was not, of course, absolutely effective (South Vietnam disappeared from the map due to military invasion in 1975, for example), but by comparison with the past, small and weak states had a remarkable degree of effective normative protection. The dark side of this system was, of course, the Cold War. Committed to the legitimizing principle of transnational Communism, the Soviet Union subverted national independence, both in the non-Russian Soviet republics and in the states of Eastern Europe, in the name of transnational ideological solidarity. The United States tried to legitimize similar efforts at subversion in Latin America, Iran and elsewhere on the grounds of self-defense against Communism. As a result the Lockean norm of mutual recognition of sovereignty was dishonored, though not destroyed, by the institution of systems of satellite states orbiting around both countries. The location of these orbits became the central stake in international political competition, as both superpowers tried to attract additional states into their own orbit and away from that of their rival. In pursuit of new satellites, both sides resorted to installing friendly governments by military force, as the Soviet Union did in Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and Afghanistan (1979); and as the United States did in Lebanon (1956), the Dominican Republic (1965), and Grenada (1989). The emergence in this period of a peaceful community of democracies can be explained by the society of nations approach. The national principle, as noted above, is essentially a democratic principle: political sovereignty, from this point of view, lies in the nation, in the politically aware people, and the state’s political purposes are the purposes of the nation. While kings and dictators can claim to rule on behalf of the nation, in practice they must be concerned more with their own interests than with those of the nation, so a politically aware nation will eventually withdraw first their legitimacy and then their power. The likely result, eventually, is the emergence of democratic institutions. As noted above, liberal, that is, anti-imperialist norms are also the logical implication of the national principle. Thus the two key causes of the democratic peace in Owen’s (1994) explanation of the democratic peace (liberal norms and democratic institutions) are both consequences of embracing the national principle.

As noted above, however, economic interdependence, and in particular, a highly interdependent liberal international economic order, was also a necessary condition for the democratic peace of the Cold War period. It is a common place that the United States gave economic concessions to its European and Japanese allies to encourage their loyalty as allies in the Cold War. It was necessary that the U.S. do so: if their vital economic interests had not been accommodated in the embryonic U.S. led international economic system, they would have resisted that system and would have been forced to rely on self-help policies. Any nation or state will violate norms if necessary to feed its people and achieve economic growth. The system worked because the U.S. at first encouraged relative gains for its trading partners by tolerating discrimination against its own products as part of a comprehensive policy of promoting economic reconstruction among its war-torn allies (Blake and Walters 1987). What created this commonality of economic interests was, of course, the mutual security threat the West faced from the Soviet Union in the Cold War. This strong and mutually reinforcing set of common interests, downplayed by common norms and basic principles, was then affirmed and protected by an increasingly dense web of international institutions, especially the GATT-centered trade system, the Bretton Woods financial system, the European Economic Community, and NATO. Recognizing that they had to work together for the common good, in part as a result of the vivid security threat, they built a set of institutions that made it easier to do so. Eventually, even identity principles started to change so that Europeans came to think of themselves more as Europeans. At the same time, antiwar sentiments became more common than ever before in history: the conditions were emerging for a Kantian, not merely Lockean, system of mutual cooperation, built not merely on common interests but also on a common identity. A weaker sense of a democratic West including Europe and North America also emerged. Among the nations of the West, therefore, there existed an international society with a constitutional structure built on shared principles (national self-determination and democracy), norms (mutual cooperation), interests and institutions. In relations across the Cold War divide, the factors inhibiting conflict were more fragile, but still significant. On fundamental principles and norms, of course, there was little agreement: the U.S. was founded on the nationalist principle, the Soviet Unionon transnational Communism. Neither was inclined to respect the sovereignty of other states when there was an opportunity to attract a new satellite. The existence of a standing Soviet army configured for rapid offensive military action put in doubt the Soviets’ willingness to respect even the sovereignty of the Western European powers (Kaufman 1994). And such American ideas as “rollback” placed American respect for Lockean norms similarly in doubt. Given this clash of principles, the Cold Peace, that is, the absence of major war between the superpowers is attributable primarily to interests. The main interest was self-preservation: as John Lewis Gaddis (1986) has pointed out, statesmen usually go to war because they underestimate the likely costs of doing so, but nuclear weapons had the effect of making it virtually impossible for either superpower to be optimistic that war might pay, as the diplomacy of the Cuban Missile Crisis vividly illustrated. The stark reality of the power of the nuclear weapon and the size of the superpowers’ arsenals made it increasingly clear that war could not possibly serve the interests of either side (Jervis 1989). At the same time, peace did: both superpowers gained enormous international stature as superpowers in a bipolar system, and both enjoyed security and economic benefits from that status though the Soviet Union domestic economy was deteriorating. Furthermore, as Gaddis also points out, the fact that both blocs were economically self-sufficient but not necessarily the same way meant that there was no conflict of interest over resources that might have led them to war. The other source of the Cold Peace was the growth of effective international institutions and behavioral norms. The norms came first: avoiding direct military confrontations or the use of nuclear weapons, respect for the status quo instead of pursuing potentially destabilizing gains (Gaddis 1986). Institutions, however, played no small role in keeping tensions at manageable levels later in the Cold War: from agreements as simple as the 1971 Berlin agreement, to the regularized contacts in summit meetings, arms control negotiations (nuclear and conventional), United Nations bodies of all kinds and, increasingly toward the end, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The shared norms and institutions were enough to keep East and West in the same international society, though disagreement on fundamental principles meant that the Soviet bloc was outside the constitutional structure of the West. In contrast to the trend of decreasing frequency of international war, the number of civil wars in the system increased dramatically after World War II, largely as a consequence of the increase in the number of independent states (Small and Singer 1982, p. 263). From 1816 to 1980, each eleven-year period saw on average about seven civil wars in the international system, with wars taking place, on average, in 13% of states in any given period. For the three decades after World War II, however, the total number of civil wars was statistically twice as high, averaging about 14 in the average eleven-year span, but the proportion of states experiencing civil war remained roughly stable at around 13%. The main difference was the number of states, which roughly doubled from about 65 in the interwar period to an annual average of 147 in the 1970s and then close to 200 at the end of the twentieth century. One might imagine that the number of states need not affect the number of civil wars. For example, if ethnic Tutsis and Hutus have a dispute in Rwanda, it is possible that they would go to war regardless of whether Rwanda was an independent state, or part of a larger unit. If two other peoples in neighboring Zaire go to war at about the same time, one could still count two civil wars even if both units were part of a single Belgian Congo. There are, however, two strong reasons and both related to the rise of nationalism, to believe that more units should result in more civil wars. First, decolonization (which resulted from the increase in the power of nationalism worldwide) led to the creation of a large number of relatively weak states. Thus even if one assumes that many of the disputes would have been the same whether the locale is a colony or an independent state, it is reasonable to believe that, in many cases, the colonial power with its cohesive army would have been more competent to deter violence than a newly independent, poorly organized state might be. Second, there is no reason to think that the number of disputes should be constant. The simple fact of a transition is likely to raise new issues about the distribution of power and other benefits (Lake and Rothchild 1998). In particular, in large multinational units, most of the nations are likely to be too small to bid for power, so their disputes with the center tend to remain quiescent. However, if these large units break down into smaller but still multinational ones, formerly peripheral groups become relatively more powerful, and may have a better chance at bidding for power or for secession. At the same time, their willingness to acquiesce in rule by another group might decline.

For example, in Soviet times, the Abkhazians of Georgia were willing to tolerate being ruled by Russians, but when Georgia became independent, they were much less willing to be ruled by Georgians, and made a bid for their own independence. To be sure, this logic may apply to non-national groups: e.g., leftist rebels probably had a better chance against the Philippine government than they did against the U.S. government before Philippine independence. As the Philippine example illustrates, the other main factor promoting civil war was the superpower rivalry. Some civil wars, e.g. in Burma, Sudan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Lebanon were essentially ethno-nationalist wars. Others, as in Greece, Vietnam, Laos, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, however, were almost entirely ideological in character, with the superpowers typically supporting opposite sides in attempts to expand or maintain their spheres of influence. Still other conflicts combined the characteristics of both, as nationalist conflicts combined with ideological ones (often instrumentally in pursuit of superpower patronage) to create the particularly messy conflicts in places like the Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique.


Major Powers After the Cold War

The end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union can be explained as primarily the result of nationalism. The same institutions, from the United Nations to the CSCE that stabilized the U.S.-Soviet relationship also represented the legitimacy of the national principle of unit identity, creating increasing pressure on the Soviet Union to observe that principle. When Mikhail Gorbachev began to do so, the result was a nationalist assertiveness of unexpected power in the East European satellite states, resulting in the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall. The same sort of nationalist assertiveness then spread to the Soviet Union itself, ultimately leading to its disintegration into its fifteen component and nationally defined parts. The new system is particularly peaceful internationally because it is dominated by the increasingly Kantian society of democratic nations. The end of the Cold War further entrenched the national principle as the foundation of the international order, and the end of the Soviet empire delegitimized the institution of satellite states. Thus a stronger Lockean norm of respect for state sovereignty has solidified the international consensus against international aggression, as Iraq discovered to its cost in 1990-91. At the same time, the interdependent international system increasingly makes national interests more compatible (in the sense that almost all agree on the necessity of maintaining the current cooperative system), and the dense web of international institutions, from the WTO and IMF to the UN, NATO and the OSCE, increasingly facilitates cooperation and suppresses the likelihood of international war. Realists would object here that international institutions simply cannot be consistently effective at settling disputes short of war (Mearsheimer 1995), and that the current period of peace is merely temporary. The core of the institutionalists argument (Keohane 1986) is that institutions provide additional information, reduce transaction costs, and enlarge the shadow of the future so that, for example, reputational concerns increases states’ incentives to cooperate. Realists contend that such effects are too weak to restrain sovereign states. Lacking a common sovereign, independent nation-states must naturally fear cheating, and fear even more that others will gain relatively more from any agreement than they themselves do (Grieco 1988). The trouble with this argument, ironically, is a naive view of what sovereign authority is actually good for.

First of all, most ordinary conflict resolution inside states occurs by application of accepted norms without reference to the sovereign powers of the state. A second Realist argument is that while such institutions might work for relatively mild economic disputes, serious disputes that threaten escalation to violence are different, and they have different dynamics in the anarchical international system than they do inside sovereign states. Again, however, the bright line between “anarchy” and “sovereign order” cannot in practice be sustained. Consider the Montana Militia analogy: inside one of the strongest and most effective states in the international system, a group of extremists who deny the legitimacy of the state, ignore its laws and advocate its overthrow have armed and organized themselves, and periodically terrorize their neighbors. Yet the government does little except watch: while it has the military power to suppress such groups, it does not do so because it recognizes that the threat from the extremists is limited because they are extremists for the overwhelming majority of Americans, the government is legitimate and the extremists are not. Contrariwise, the costs to the U.S. government of suppressing such groups by force are prohibitive, in that it would lose legitimacy among the extremists’ moderate sympathizers by using apparently excessive force, as in the controversial cases of Ruby Ridge and Waco. Thus, the sole world superpower is restrained from maintaining its sovereign control over its own territory by concerns about its reputation. One might protest that groups like the Montana Militia are of peripheral importance, but the sorts of groups that cause civil war present the same sorts of problems. When Franjo Tudjman was elected leader of Croatia in the spring of 1990, Croatia was part of a sovereign Yugoslav state with a powerful army dedicated to maintaining Yugoslav unity. Within months, however, Croatia was building an army on the basis of its police force as a hedge against the possibility of secession, and the Serbs of rural Croatia were building their own army to protect themselves against the Croats (see, e.g., Silber and Little 1997). Once the Yugoslav government lost legitimacy in Croatia, its sovereignty and its army no longer sufficed to maintain order: the loss of legitimacy meant the emergence of a security dilemma. Thus, in the U.S. or in Yugoslavia, states may have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, but they are very far from monopolizing all use of force, even organized armed force. At the same time, most states are highly constrained from using force internationally most of the time. The reason for the problematic status of government coercion is that if the absoluteness of state sovereignty over territory is, on the one hand, exaggerated inside the state, the absolute absence of international authority is similarly exaggerated internationally. Domestic authority is demonstrated not by the sheriff who enforces a court order, but by the voluntary compliance of most court order recipients even in the absence of such coercion. Similarly, the existence of authority in the international system is illustrated by the reluctant accommodation of states to international norms or decisions they would prefer to resist, as when Japan announced that it would abide by the decision of the U.N. Security Council regarding sanctions against North Korea in advance of the U.N.’s 1994 decision on the matter (Hurd 1999). Another weakness of the relative gains argument is the assumption that states remain genuinely autonomous in their action. In fact, the international economy is so highly interdependent that even powerful states in the post-Cold War world are highly constrained under the pressure of economic development in what they can do. The World Trade Organization, in particular, represents the only game in the world. No state, even the largest, has a viable alternative to joining WTO, regardless of relative gains concerns, because vigorous economic growth is only possible within the international trade regime. The relative costs of not joining the regime are much larger than the relative costs of joining. This is the real significance of contemporary economic interdependence: it provides not merely an incentive, but something closer to a necessity for states to cooperate. States such as Russia and China can pursue relative gains in their accession bargains (as can their negotiating partners), but in the end they cannot walk away. At the same time, because they accept the fundamental Lockean rules of the system i.e. the national principle and sovereignty, the degree of their dissatisfaction with the system is limited. In this context, where the web of international principles, norms, interests and institutions is dense enough to constrain even moderately dissatisfied powers, the concept of a society of nations with a constitutional structure (and decentralized enforcement of rules) is more useful analytically than is anarchy. Even the best empirical discussions of the relative gains problem overlook these points: Michael Mastanduno (1991) found, for example, that relative gains concerns played an important role in U.S.-Japan trade disputes in the 1980s. What he overlooked was that rivalry over relative gains on these issues did not change the fundamentally cooperative nature of the U.S.-Japanese relationship, in spite of the fact that the two represented the two largest economies in the world, and were therefore divided by a potentially major geopolitical fault line. Even “rogue states” feel the pull after over a decade of sanctions, even Libya finally gave up its agents for trial in the Lockerbie bombing case. As with domestic law, enforcement of international law is not always effective, but it often is. In contrast with the increasing peacefulness of the international system is the continuing problem of civil war. The breakup of  the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia was driven by a surge in nationalist activity leading to numerous ethno-nationalist civil wars. Indeed, the surge in ethno-nationalist conflict went far beyond the former Soviet bloc, as the period 1988-92 saw the eruption not only of a dozen conflicts in that region, but also of two dozen more ethno-nationalist wars in the southern hemisphere (Gurr 2000, p. 53). The surge is now past: the global number of civil wars peaked at 52 in 1992; in 1998 it was down to 32 (Wallensteen 1999, p. 94). However, the continued existence of large numbers of multinational states guarantees a continued supply of ethno-nationalist civil wars, as long as sovereignty within the state, or in a separate state, remains so valuable a prize for potential dissidents.



This paper has begun sketching out a comparative approach to international relations theories as an attempt to explain the correlation between anarchy and order in the international system. To do that, the frequency of international war in the last two centuries, and the rise in civil war frequency in the last half-century were items of study and data were borrowed from other scholars research. Using a constructivist approach, I have argued that the key factor characterizing the international system is the principle used to legitimize the identity of the units. In the last five centuries, the international system has been defined by one of three main principles of unit identity: the royal principle, the national imperialist principle, and the national principle. The key cause of the decline in war is the rise in importance of the national principle, at first in the early nineteenth century as a threat to royalist kingdoms, which motivated them to be cautious in fighting wars. Later, the principle of national self-determination came to underpin an increasingly strong norm of mutual recognition of sovereignty, which delegitimized most forms of military conquest, and therefore most reasons for war. In other words, states that profess to believe in national self-determination have found it increasingly difficult to justify imperial rule, so they hardly ever attempt conquest (the Iraqi case needs special consideration in this regard). At the same time, these agreed principles and norms have ameliorated the security dilemma, reducing the need for security-driven expansion. To have a pacifying effect, however, principles and norms have to be reinforced by compatible interests and workable institutions. Institutions alone are not decisive, as the unhappy League of Nations experience illustrates. First, the interests of the key actors in the system have to be compatible with conflict-reducing norms and principles: in particular, economic interests must be compatible. Security interests can be made to be compatible in large part through principles and norms: if two neighboring states believe that conquering the other is illegitimate, then neither has to fear conquest. Nuclear deterrence adds another kind of security, as it vastly raises the costs of war while making underestimation of those costs highly unlikely; the result is that war does not pay. And second, if principles, norms and interests are all compatible with mutual security, then institutions–whether a concert system or a United Nations-style collective security system–can be created that will reduce the likelihood of war. There are two different kinds of conflict-reducing norms: the Lockean norm, which casts states or nations as rivals in limited conflict, and the Kantian norm, in which they see each other as friends and collaborators. The decline in great power war after 1815 was the result of a limited Lockean norm, in which the major European states recognized each other’s sovereignty. That norm, however, dated at least to the Treaty of Westphalia; what gave it pacifying force after 1815 was Russian, Prussian and Austrian fear of the rising force of nationalism, which gave them an interest in avoiding major war. That common interest was embodied in the Holy Alliance, and given effect in the more important institution of the period, the Concert of Europe. The mid-century wars ended what was left of the Concert system, transforming the system into one dominated by national empires. However, as long as those national empires continued to respect each other’s sovereignty, the Lockean system could continue to operate, at first through Bismarck’s system of alliances and European conferences. Once Germany decided to bid for European dominance, however, it threw the system back into the Hobbesian war of all against all that led to the two world wars. After the World Wars, the frequency of international war dropped again, for two main reasons. Within the American alliance system, shared principles, norms and interests (both security and economic) led to the creation of an increasingly dense system of cooperative institutions, which made war among its members less and less thinkable over time. Simultaneously, peace between the superpowers was maintained because the superpowers shared an interest in maintaining their joint hegemony and in avoiding nuclear holocaust; in spite of their opposing principles, therefore, they created behavioral norms effective enough to prevent war among themselves. Instead, they channeled their conflict more into a quest for allies, in which they frequently backed opposing sides in civil wars in third countries. Those wars became increasingly common as the rising power of the national principle led to the independence of over one hundred new, fragile states with large numbers of potentially restive groups, both national groups and ideological ones. After the Cold War, the end of the confrontation of different legitimizing principles has led to an unprecedented lull in international war, and to an increasingly Kantian system of international friendship and mutual identification, especially among the North Atlantic democracies. The concept of a society of nations with a constitutional structure offers a useful way of thinking about such a system, and about its predecessors. Like states’ constitutions, the constitution of the society of nations is sometimes subject to catastrophic breakdown. However, even if one relaxes the definition of constitutional structure to embrace all the international societies of the past two centuries, then international society has had three “constitutional structures” that lasted forty-five years each, on average, with reasonable success (the Concert system, 1815-53; the Bismarckian system, 1871-1914; and the contemporary system, 1945-present), plus one unfortunate shorter-lived one (the League of Nations system, 1918-39). This is a record not terribly different from that of a state such as China, whose constitutions suffered massive breakdowns during the Taiping Rebellion in the 1860s, the Boxer Rebellion of 1898, and the revolutionary period 1911-49, before stabilizing in 1949. Also like weak states, the society of nations suffers smaller outbreaks of violence even in stable times. The society of nations has no sovereign power, but its constitution is comparable in effectiveness to that of a weak state. The domestic analogy, it seems, is not so far-fetched.


Works Cited

Blake, David H., and Robert S. Walters. 1987. The Politics of Global Economic Relations, 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and David Lalman. 1992. War and Reason: Domestic and International Imperatives. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Bull, Hedley, and Adam Watson. 1984. “Introduction”. In Hedley Bull and Adam Watson, eds., The Expansion of International Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Barry Buzan, Charles Jones, and Richard Little. 1993. The Logic of Anarchy: Neorealism to Structural Realism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Doyle, Michael W. 1983. “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part I,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 12, no. 3, pp. 205-235.

Ferguson, Yale, and Richard W. Mansbach. 1996. Polities: Authority, Identities, and Change. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Fischer, Fritz. 1967. Germany’s Aims in the First World War. New York: W. W. Norton.

Gaddis, John Lewis. 1986. “The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security 10, no. 4 (Spring 1986).

Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Gilpin, Robert. 1981. War and Change in World Politics.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Grieco, Joseph M. 1988. “Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism,” International Organization 42, no. 3 (Summer), pp. 485-508.

Gurr, Ted Robert. 2000. “Ethnic Warfare on the Wane,” Foreign Affairs 79, no. 3 (May/June), pp. 52-64.

Hobsbawm, E.J. 1990. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hopf, Ted. 1991. “Polarity, The Offense-Defense Balance, and War,” American Political Science Review 85, no. 2 (June), pp. 475-493.

Hurd, Ian. 1999. “Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics,” International Organization 53, no. 2 (Spring), pp. 379-408.

Jackson, Robert H. 1990. Quasi-states: Sovereignty, international relations, and the third world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jelavich, Barbara. 1974. St Petersburg and Moscow. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Jervis, Robert. 1989. The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Jervis, Robert. 1998. “Realism in the Study of World Politics,” International Organization 52, no. 4 (Autumn), pp. 971-991.

Kaufman, Stuart J. 1994. “Organizational Politics and Change in Soviet Military Policy,” World Politics 46, no. 3 (April), pp. 355-382.

Kaufman, Stuart J. 1997. “Fragmentation and Consolidation of International Systems,” International Organization 51, no. 2 (Spring), pp. 173-208.

Kaufman, Stuart J. 2001. Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Keohane, Robert O. 1986. After Hegemony. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Keohane, Robert O., and Joseph S. Nye. 1977. Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition. Boston: Little, Brown.

Lake, David A., and Donald Rothchild, eds. 1998. The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear,Diffusion, and Escalation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Levy, Jack S. 1983. War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495-1975. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Luttwak, Edward N. 1995. “Toward post-heroic warfare,” Foreign Affairs 74, no. 3 (May-June), pp.109-123.

Mansbach, Richard W., and John A. Vasquez. 1981. In Search of Theory: A New Paradigm for Global Politics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Mastanduno, Michael. 1991. “Do Relative Gains Matter? America’s Response to Japanese Industrial Policy,” International Security 16, no. 1 (Summer), pp. 73-113.

Mayall, James. 1990. Nationalism and International Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mearsheimer, John J. 1995. “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security

19, no. 3 (Winter 1994/95), pp. 5-49.

Mitrany, David. 1933. The Progress of International Government. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Mueller, John. 1995. Quiet Cataclysm: Reflections on the Recent Transformation of Politics. New York: HarperCollins.

Oneal, John R., and Bruce Russett. 1997. “The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict, 1950-1985,” International Studies Quarterly 41, no. 2 (June), pp. 267-294.

Oneal, John R., and Bruce Russett. 1999. “The Kantian Peace: The Pacific Benefits of Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, 1885-1992,” World Politics 52, no. 1 (October), pp. 1-37.

Owen, David M. 1994. “How Liberalism Produces the Democratic Peace,” International Security 19, no. 2 (Fall), pp. 87-125.

Reus-Smit, Christian. 1997. “The Constitutional Structure of International Society and the Nature of Fundamental Institutions,” International Organization 51, no. 4 (Autumn), pp. 555-589.

Russett, Bruce, John R. Oneal and David R. Davis. 1998. “The Third Leg of the Kantian Tripod: International Organizations and Militarized Disputes, 1950-1985,” International Organization 52, no. 3 (Summer).

Schroeder, Paul. 1976. “Alliances, 1815-1945: Weapons of Power and Tools of Management,” in Klaus Knorr, ed., Historical Dimensions of National Security Problems. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Schweller, Randall L. 1994. “Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In,” International Security 19, no. 1 (Summer), pp. 72-107.

Silber, Laura, and Allan Little. 1997. Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation, rev. ed. New York: Penguin Books.

Small, Melvin, and J. David Singer. 1982. Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816-1980. Beverly Hills: Sage. Spiro, David E. 1994. “The Insignificance of the Liberal Peace,” International Security 19, no. 2 (Fall), pp. 50-86.

Tuchman, Barbara. 1962. The Guns of August. New York: Bantam Books.

Van Evera, Stephen. 1991. “Primed for Peace: Europe After the Cold War,” International Security 15, no. 3 (Winter 1990/91), pp. 7-57.

Wallensteen, Peter, and Margareta Sollenberg. 1999. “Armed Conflict, 1989-98,” Journal of Peace Research 36, no. 5, pp. 593-606.

Walt, Stephen M. 1987. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Watson, Adam. 1992. The Evolution of International Society. London: Routledge.

Wendt, Alexander. 1994. “Collective Identity Formation and the International State,” American Political Science Review 88, no. 2 (June), pp. 384-396.

Wendt, Alexander. 1999. Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

نظرية الفوضى في دراسة العلاقات الدولية قديمة وجديدة في آن معاً، يختلف على معانيها وتأثيرها الكثير من الباحثين، خصوصاً في ما يتعلق بتفسير أسباب الحروب الكبرى والحروب الإقليمية والنزاعات الداخلية.

المدرسة الواقعية تعتبر حالة النزاع والصدامات بين الدول، نتيجة طبيعية لحالة الفوضى المتمثّلة بعدم وجود سلطة مركزية شرعية قادرة على أن تلعب دوراً شبيهاً بدور الحكومة في الشؤون الداخلية لكل دولة. وعلى هذا بنى المؤرخون السياسيون أسباب تعدد وتعاظم الحروب بين الدول العظمى، حتى نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية وبدء الحرب الباردة، وانتهاء النزاعات بين الدول الكبرى في ظل نظام عالمي جديد لا يزال في مسيرة التطوّر، منذ  التسعينات حتى الآن.

في ظل هذا النظام العالمي الجديد بدأت الولايات المتحدة بلعب دور الشرطي لحكومة ائتلاف دولية تعتبر نفسها سلطة دولية بحكم الأمر الواقع، وليس بشرعية أكثرية.

لقد شهدت السنوات الأخيرة حالة من الهدوء والسلم بين جميع الدول الكبرى، وتحولت التناقضات في المصالح بينها إلى نزاعات داخل الدول االصغيرة والفقيرة، وبذلك بدأت نظرية الفوضى تأخذ مسارها في التفسير غير المعلن لتداعيات الصدامات الدولية والإقليمية والحروب الأهلية في المجتمعات الفقيرة المهمّشة اقتصادياً. وحتى لو شاء البعض أن يشير إلى أن نزاعات الدول الصغيرة هي داخلية بحتة، وأن أسباب الحروب الأهلية لها علاقة بثقافة وتناقضات الداخل، فإن التدخل الخارجي في هذه النزاعات، ودون تنسيق من سلطة دولية شرعية، يشير وبكل بوضوح، إلى أن الفوضى في ظل النظام العالمي الجديد، لا تزال قائمة.