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Dangerous Times?

The International Politics of Great Power Peace

Christopher J. Fettweis

Publication Year: 2010

What horrors will the twenty-first century bring? For many people, a clash of civilizations and a perilous return to great power rivalries are the dominant visions of things to come. Fueled by daily headlines, overwhelming majorities of people from all

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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pp. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. viii

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pp. ix-x

ACADEMIC BOOKS TEND to take longer than they have any right to, and they involve small armies of helpers. The list of people who provided me with helpful guidance and comments along the way, sometimes unknowingly, includes George Quester, Virginia Haufl er, Mac Destler, Dennis Pirages, Warren Phillips, Ted Gurr, Adm. William Crowe, Michael Nacht, Ivo Daalder, Karen Dawisha,...

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Introduction: Anxiety, Danger and the Ghost of Norman Angell

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pp. 1-16

WHAT HORRORS WILL THE twenty- first century bring? For many people, catastrophic terrorist attacks and prolonged guerrilla quagmires are chilling visions of things to come. Official signals, like omnipresent color-coded threat warnings and mystifying orders to stockpile duct tape and plastic sheeting, add to overall levels of anxiety. Six in ten Americans apparently think that a world war is...

Part One: Theory

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1. Explaining Behavioral Change: Why Norms Evolve

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pp. 19-36

NOT LONG AFTER HOMO SAPIENS came down from the trees, archeologists and anthropologists tell us, they organized themselves into political communities and fought one another.1 Since then, the only societies that have not made war upon their neighbors have been those with no neighbors at all; and even in those cases, cleavages within communities usually developed soon enough to provide...

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2. From Opium to Obsolescence: The Norms of War

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pp. 37-54

IN 1839 GREAT BRITAIN DISPATCHED the Royal Navy to reprimand a manifestly inferior non-European people, which was something it did with some regularity throughout the imperial era. The upstart, who in this case was China, had had the temerity to impose restrictions on the importation of British opium, which London had promoted as a way to offset China’s monopoly on tea. As addiction...

Part Two: Evidence

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3. On Predicting International Affairs

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pp. 57-82

THE END OF THE COLD WAR took practically everyone (including, it deserves to be recalled, the Soviets) by surprise. The essential facts surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union are well-known and uncontroversial, but their meaning for international relations theory is not. Some scholars have argued that the end of the Cold War poses a number of important epistemological problems...

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4. Evaluating the Crystal Balls

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pp. 83-109

NOT TOO LONG AGO Daniel Bell warned those who would predict the future that “every seer has a sense that an age is ending.”1 The scholars who have announced the end of major war surely have such a sense, as do most who have writt en about the future of international politics since the end of the Cold War. This chapter examines aggregate data from the last two decades to try to determine...

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5. Resource Wars? The Three Stages of Petroleum Politics

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pp. 110-132

AT SOME POINT IN THE twenty-first century, the world will begin to run low on oil. Demand around the world is skyrocketing for the nonrenewable resource, far outpacing the growth of supply, and all projections suggest the pace will continue. While oil will not likely ever run out in the literal sense, geologists warn that in the not-so-distant future it may well be a relatively scarce commodity....

Part Three: Implications

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6. Theory and Great Power Peace

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pp. 135-153

THE GREAT WAR MOTIVATED E. H. Carr and his colleagues to establish the first independent department for the study of international politics at Aberystwyth in 1919. In large part, the field that has emerged since has been an att empt to understand, explain, and ultimately prevent interstate conflict. War is one of the few quasi-quantifiable topics in international relations, and it has been the direct...

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7. Grand Strategy and Great Power Peace

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pp. 154-182

HOW SHOULD THE DECLINE of war affect the decisions of individual states? What is the best grand strategy for an era of great power peace? The next two chapters continue the thought experiment begun in the last and ask the reader to accept the notion, if just for the next few pages, that major war is indeed obsolete and perhaps even the corollary that the incidence of all kinds of warfare is...

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8. Foreign Policy and Great Power Peace: Restraint in Practice

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pp. 183-214

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to give an address on September 11, 2001, at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. The speech, which of course was never delivered, was to have been a broad discussion of the threats posed by rogue states and of the need for missile defense.1 “Why put deadbolt locks on your doors and stock up...

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Conclusion: Angell, Honor, and the Proliferation of Peace

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pp. 215-223

IN A 1904 ESSAY TITLED “The Law of Acceleration,” historian and novelist Henry Adams became one of the first to observe that the pace of societal evolution was substantially increasing as time went on. Borrowing imagery from Newton, Adams explained how the revolutions in science and industrialization were rendering many aspects of traditional life obsolete at ever- increasing speeds. The...


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pp. 225-262


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pp. 263-273

E-ISBN-13: 9781589016866
E-ISBN-10: 1589016866
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589017108
Print-ISBN-10: 1589017102

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 3 figures, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2010