Sunday, February 22, 2009

Breaking of Nations or Major Problems in the History of American Workers

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

Author: Robert Cooper

In this landmark book, Robert Cooper sets out his radical interpretation of our new international order. He argues that there are now three types of state: lawless "pre-modern" states; "modern" states that are fiercely protective of their sovereignty; and "post-modern" states such as those that operate on the basis of openness, law, and mutual security. The United States has yet to decide whether to embrace the "post-modern" world of interdependence, or pursue unilateralism and power politics.

Cooper shows that the greatest question facing our post-modern nations is how to deal with a world in which missiles and terrorists ignore borders and where Cold War alliances no longer guarantee security. When dealing with a hostile outside enemy, should civilized countries revert to tougher methods from an earlier era - force, preemptive attack, deception - in order to safeguard peaceful coexistence throughout the civilized world? The Breaking of Nations is a prescient examination of international relations in the twenty-first century.

THe New York Times

On the toughest issues, the trans-Atlantic divide really may be unbridgeable, at least until Tony Blair becomes president of Europe and installs Robert Cooper as his national security adviser. — Max Boot

Publishers Weekly

Cooper, a senior member of Tony Blair's cabinet, worries that the 21st century may wind up being the worst era in European history, as Western governments continue to lose control over the technology of mass destruction. Advocating "better politics rather than better technology" to combat the encroaching chaos created by unstable nation-states and rising terrorist organizations, he lays out a cogent argument for why the governments of Europe should present a united front and take an active role in promoting geopolitical stability, perhaps even through increased military presence. Only by pooling their resources, he suggests, can European nations offer a viable alternative to American policy mandates. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Foreign Affairs

The United States has Fukuyama, Huntington, and Kagan as its prophets of the coming world order. Who does Europe have? The answer is Robert Cooper, a former adviser to Tony Blair and an EU diplomat. This small book of essays offers a sweeping interpretation of today's global predicament. Cooper argues that two revolutionary forces are transforming international relations: the breakdown of state control over violence, reflected in the growing ability of tiny private groups to wield weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of a stable, peaceful order in Europe that is not based on either the balance of power or the sovereignty of independent states. In this scheme, the Westphalian system of nation-states and power politics is being undermined on both sides — by a postmodern Europe and a premodern world of failed states and post-imperial chaos.

Cooper makes a good case that the growing threat of terrorism necessitates new forms of cooperation and a reconstructed international order that goes beyond the balance of power or hegemony. Stable order in the new age must be built on legitimate authority and more inclusive political identities. But apart from these postmodern urgings, Cooper's vision remains sketchy.

Kirkus Reviews

A slender but not slight consideration of Europe's future on a hostile planet. British diplomat Cooper, once the UK's ambassador to West Germany and now head of the government's Defence and Overseas Secretariat, posits a world divided not into first, second, and third parts, pace Chairman Mao, but into "pre-modern," "modern," and "postmodern": the first made up of such hopelessly backward, even failed states like Afghanistan, the next of distinct nation-states such as China, and the last of super, or perhaps supra, states-those that make up the European Union. These states coexist uneasily, pre-modern Rwanda alongside modern Argentina alongside postmodern Japan ("Unfortunately for Japan it is a postmodern country surrounded by states firmly locked into an earlier age," each with its own sense of destiny). The US stands apart, in its way, if only because it has vastly outspent the rest of the world militarily-and then, Cooper writes, spent more efficiently-so that "were all the rest of the world to mount a combined attack on the United States they [sic] would be defeated." Problem is, the world is changing; the most dangerous enemies of the peace are not states but nongovernmental groups, the most common wars civil and not imperial or state against state-and in any event, the world is probably no safer with one superpower than with many ("However admirable the United States may be-and for many it is the embodiment of freedom and democracy-would those qualities survive a long period of unilateral hegemony?"). In these three essays, Cooper wrestles with the implications, concluding that if Europe is to hold its own in this new world, it will have to have America's ear: "And that means weshall need more power, both military power and multilateral legitimacy." Recommended reading for policy wonks, realpolitikers, and other students of the modern (and pre-modern, and postmodern) world.

Table of Contents:
Pt. 1The Condition of the World1
1The Old World Order7
2The New World Order16
3Security in the New World55
Pt. 2The Conditions of Peace: Twenty-First Century Diplomacy81
Pt. 3Epilogue: Europe and America153

See also: Practical DV Filmmaking or Books in the Digital Age

Major Problems in the History of American Workers: Documents and Essays

Author: Eileen Boris

This text, designed for courses in US labor history or the history of American workers, presents a carefully selected group of readings that allow students to evaluate primary sources, test the interpretations of distinguished historians, and draw their own conclusions. Major Problems in the History of American Workers follows the proven Major Problems format, with 14-15 chapters per volume, a combination of documents and essays, chapter introductions, headnotes, and suggested readings.

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