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On Shinzo Abe’s Japan
Headline-grabbing economic and monetary reforms read as smokescreens for a hardening of Japanese foreign policy, with Washington’s partial support. Incompatible mythologies of legitimation in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, presaging insoluble tensions for the region.
After decades of connivance with territorial seizures from Palestine to East Timor, the West rediscovers the principle of state sovereignty in Crimea. The actual record of 20th-century land grabs, and the cross-cutting geopolitical pressures bearing down on Ukraine.
In the American intellectual landscape, the literature of grand strategy forms a domain of its own, distinct from diplomatic history or political science, though it may occasionally draw on these. Its sources lie in the country’s security elite, which extends across the bureaucracy and the academy to foundations, think-tanks and . . . read more
Since the Second World War, the external order of American power has been largely insulated from the internal political system. If party competition in the domestic arena has rested on rival electoral blocs, combining significant fluidity of contours with increasing sharpness of conflicts, in the global arena such differences are . . . read more
The European Vortex
Global economic turmoil has exposed the structural flaws in the single currency. Amid deepening divergences between industrial north and debt-laden south, Michel Aglietta assesses the Eurozone’s chances of recovery, and the impact of its continued travails on the world economy.
Another Turn Of The Screw?
Beneath the roiling surface of the Euro-crisis, a further chapter of the EU integration project is underway. Susan Watkins on the institutional machinery Berlin is imposing across the Union, and the political stakes—and hypocrisies—laid bare by the struggle.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Repeatedly invoked to choke off emergent nuclear powers in East Asia and the Middle East, the NPT’s actual content has remained largely undiscussed. Norman Dombey itemizes the Treaty’s provisions, and the asymmetrical burdens imposed on signatories, the better to gauge its successes and limitations.
Contesting the Peninsula
Heightened insecurity and inequality as outcomes of a decade of centre-left rule in South Korea. Can neoliberalism advance further across the ROK’s shifting political terrain, as a newly elected President’s popularity crumbles in face of public resentment?
Afghanistan: Mirage of the Good War
Reasons for the West’s stalemate in Afghanistan sought neither in lack of troops and imperial treasure, nor in Pakistani obstruction, but in the very nature of the occupation regime. Tariq Ali on the actual results of ‘state-building’ in the Hindu Kush, as a broken country is subjected to the combined predations of NGOs and NATO.
Jottings on the Conjuncture
A reckoning of global shifts in political and economic relations, with China emerging as new workshop of the world and US power, rationally applied elsewhere, skewed by Israeli interests in the Middle East. Oppositions to it gauged, along with theoretical visions that offer exits from the perpetual free-market present.
Prisons of the Stateless
Charged in 1951 with defending rights of asylum, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been recast for an age of humanitarian warfare. From Operation Provide Comfort to Bosnia and the Rwandan massacres—a compliant advocate of repatriation at any cost.
Mid-Point in the Middle East?
As fears are voiced within the US establishment of impending debacle in Iraq, a survey of the embattled landscape from Baghdad, Ramallah and Tehran to Beirut and Damascus. American control is slipping, Ali argues—but it is too soon to count on imperial defeat.
A Lockean Europe?
Liberalization and its discontents seen in the longue durée—the struggle of late-coming statist contenders against an Anglophone heartland, now subsuming Europe in its Lockean embrace. Kees van der Pijl tracks the removal of macro-economic questions from democratic decision-making as central precondition for the EU’s neoliberal turn.
States of War
Reflections on the challenge of Afflicted Powers, from the Retort collective. How is America’s forward policy since 9/11 best explained, and what does it tell us about the nature of the inter-state system today? Has the age of Great Power rivalry passed, and if so, what kind of geopolitical order is replacing it? Capital, spectacle and war in the vortex of the Middle East.
In the conclusion to his major two-part essay on the new US imperialism, Giovanni Arrighi situates the contradictions of the current American ‘spatial fix’ for the problems of overaccumulation in the context of a longue durée of systemic cycles. Have Washington’s attempts to secure its world role through the invasion of Iraq instead hastened the rise of China?
In the first part of a major engagement with David Harvey’s New Imperialism, Giovanni Arrighi sets out the interlocking dynamics, spatial and temporal, of capitalist development and imperialism. Should US difficulties in Iraq and the ballooning current-account deficit be read as symptoms of a deeper-lying crisis, a shift from hegemony to dominance presaging the rise of a new East Asian challenger?
The Myth of Anglophone Succession
How far are the systems of British and American international power historically comparable? Can the imperium presided over by Clinton and Blair be regarded as essentially a sequel to the Victorian order guided by Palmerston or Salisbury, or does it represent something quite new—the first true hegemony in history?
The American expedition to Baghdad, and world-wide reactions to the new imperium. From mass demonstrations against the war to the diplomatic hypocrisies colluding with it. The UN as framework of blockade and intervention yesterday, and mask of reconstruction tomorrow.
A Calculus of Power
John Mearsheimer’s Tragedy of Great Power Politics disdains liberal-imperial rhetoric for a tough-minded theory of ‘offensive realism’. Peter Gowan argues that, whatever its merits, the behaviour of states in the international system cannot be dissociated from the internal dynamics of the political orders they protect.
Demos and Cosmopolis
As representative democracy spreads it is steadily thinning: the nation-states that have been its traditional framework are losing much of their power. Popular sovereignty can only be recovered, Daniele Archibugi argues, in a cosmopolitan order antithetical to its simulacrum in the ‘international community’ of today.
A reigning doctrine of international relations proclaims that, despite everything, the world is entering a new epoch of hopeful cosmopolitanism—narrow state sovereignty being overcome by the common and, where necessary, armed resolve of a ‘Pacific Union’ of democratic nations. What then of the asymmetric hegemony of the United States?
Running the World on Windows
Reviewing Daniele Archibugi’s case for a ‘cosmopolitical democracy’ in NLR 4, Geoffrey Hawthorn argues nation-states can neither be wished away, nor shadowed in parallel by a global civil society: they remain the Hobbesian precondition of a realistic politics, which Kantian prospects set aside at their peril.
When the nation-state loses many of its traditional powers, Daniele Archibugi argues, democracy requires a cosmopolitan political authority above it. But current ‘humanitarian’ interventions do not fulfil such higher norms—they betray them, as the self-arrogated prerogatives of the few.
The Dollar Weapon: From Nixon to Reagan
us international economic policy since the beginning of the seventies can only be explained as a reaction to the relative decline of the American economy vis-à-vis Western Europe and Japan. There is already an ample literature on the decline in us economic power, footnote1 which is evidenced by the . . . read more
The Strategic Triad: The United States, Russia, and China
The official end of the Cold War, marked by the growing incapacity and then the collapse of the Soviet Union, inevitably meant a reduction of us military expenditure. This had long been regarded as essential from a strictly economic point of view: the extraordinary prodigality of the Reagan years, with . . . read more
Isaac Deutscher and the Lost History of International Relations
Iwould like to express my thanks to the Deutscher Committee for the great honour of this award.footnote1 The Isaac and Tamara Deutscher memorial prize is a uniquely valuable institution in many ways but the most valuable aspect is surely the legacy of Deutscher himself. For Isaac Deutscher was not just . . . read more
The Return of the Great Powers
On the surface, the situation in the Balkans may look rather optimistic at the moment: the Croats and Muslims have ceased fighting; some sense of normality has been restored to Sarajevo; and the crisis around Gorazde has been defused. In a broader context of European security, however, it has rarely . . . read more
Russia Should Be Looking East, Not West
It is difficult not to feel one has seen it all before as one watches the Western response to the request of the new Russian and Union governments for economic assistance. The ‘grand bargain’ has been dusted off the shelf on the Russian side and the more impressionable commentators again . . . read more
Realpolitik in the Gulf
On the morning before Yom Kippur late this past September, I found myself standing at the western end of the White House, watching as the colour guard paraded the flag of the United States (and the republic for which it stands) along with that of the Emirate of Kuwait.footnote* The . . . read more
Barely 18 months since becoming technically independent, Guyana is well on its way to becoming a model example of neo-colonialism in South America. Amid much talk of neutralism and planned economy, the political régime has adopted policies of frank subservience to the United States and other imperialist nations, especially Great . . . read more
Morals for Sale?
The demand for Britain and the outside world to take action against apartheid in Southern Africa can be justified on grounds of selfinterest as well as of morality. As the likelihood of any internal solution has receded in the six years since Sharpeville, so the chances of nonracial co-operation have . . . read more
Revolution from Without
The struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie must eventually result in the seizure of State power by the proletariat. One would naturally expect this to take place independently in each individual State, and Marx has pointed out that ‘in form, if not in essence, the struggle of the proletariat . . . read more
The Ends of Cold War
While I sympathize with Fred Halliday’s intentions in his article on ‘The Ends of Cold War’,footnote1 I must disagree sharply both with its method and execution. No doubt he has been trapped by the pressure to make instant commentary (his lecture on the events of October to December 1989 in . . . read more
Campaign for a Foreign Policy
In the last decade, military propositions have taken precedence over political principle in foreign policy. Can the campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament become, in the next few months, a campaign for a new foreign policy? And what would such a policy be?read more
The Origins of the Second Cold War
In the seventies writings on the crisis of imperialism proliferated in leftist social science.footnote1 Their focus of attention was the revolutions in the Third World, the relations between North and South, the incipient economic crisis in the centre, and the sharpening of economic rivalry among the main capitalist nations. For . . . read more
The Congo, the United Nations and Chatham House
Catherine Hoskyns’s book, The Congo since Independence, is a scholarly and fair-minded account, based on an analysis of all the available documentary material, and also on discussions with many of the personalities concerned, of events in and about the Congo during the two fateful years 1960 and 1961. This is . . . read more
Introduction to Tukhachevsky
Mikhail Tukhachevsky, whose meteoric career illuminates certain episodes of the Soviet past that still have significance today, was born in Penza province of Czarist Russia in 1893. According to a colleague who knew him in the twenties, he came from an impoverished family of aristocrats, originally of Flemish descent: a . . . read more
The USSR and China: Confrontation or Detente?
Difficulties in relations between the cpsu and the Chinese Communists existed before Mao Tse-tung came to power in Peking and they were apparent in the first negotiations in Moscow with the Party-Government delegation of the Chinese People’s Republic. At the time, however, the existence of these difficulties was not widely . . . read more
Law of the Sea
Delegates will assemble in New York in March this year for what will hopefully be the final substantive session of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (unclos), which was inaugurated in the same city in December 1973. Sessions at Caracas (1974) and Geneva (March and April . . . read more
Kurdistan in the Middle East Conflict
In March 1988 the Western media once again shocked their audience by bringing home horrific stories of the extensive and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons on the civilian population in remote Kurdistan. As two reporters visiting the area put it: ‘Neither side in the Gulf War has ever been particularly . . . read more
Japan and America: Antagonistic Alliance
The ‘Nixon Shocks’ of 1971, which announced the opening of relations between the us and China and initiated a series of measures to protect the us economy, had an immense combined impact in Japan.footnote1 As America’s main economic rival, Japan was the most threatened of all the major capitalist economies . . . read more
From the U-2 to the P-3: The US-Pakistan Relationship
Not long after the U—2 surveillance aircraft was shot down over Soviet territory in 1960, Nikita Khrushchev approached Pakistan’s ambassador at a diplomatic reception and told him that he had looked carefully at the map, taken out a pen and drawn a big red circle round Peshawar. In his characteristically . . . read more
Modern Capitalism and Its Shepherds
Merchant capital, usurer capital, have been ubiquitous, but they have not by themselves brought about any decisive alteration of the world.footnote* It is industrial capital that has led to revolutionary change, and been the highroad to a scientific technology that has transformed agriculture as well as industry, society as well . . . read more
‘100 Years Under British Rule rather than one year under Jagan’, a slogan waved aloft by the Opposition to the People’s Progressive Party in British Guiana, gives a keyhole look at what is behind the conflict in the small South American Colony seeking independence. The United Force, representing the moneyed, . . . read more
Washington v.Tokyo: Wall Street v. Marunouchi
In November last year the us House of Representatives passed a protectionist trade bill, by 215 to 165 votes, which was condemned inside and outside the usa as the worst of its kind since the Smoot-Hawley Bill of 1930. The bill was blocked in the Senate by the pre-adjournment logjam. . . . read more
George Kennan prefaces his remarkable memoirsfootnote1 with an exemplary self-critical account of his background and early environment, with its attendant psychological effects. Historically and socially, George Kennan was an ‘outsider’, ill at ease in the 20th century, and ill at ease with its ideas, particularly marxism (‘something to which I . . . read more
A Reply to Edward Thompson
Despite the evident disagreements between us, and a certain measure of misunderstanding, I find Edward Thompson’s comment welcome and stimulating. The overriding issues that confront us all concern the future, on which, as he himself makes clear, there is far more that unites than divides us. There are, however, a . . . read more
The Conjuncture of the Seventies and After: A Reply to Ougaard
Morten Ougaard’s critique of The Making of the Second Cold War is most welcome: it establishes a common terrain for socialist discussion of contemporary world politics, one that delimits a shared and distinct area of political analysis. At the same time, within that common terrain, it becomes possible to identify . . . read more
Cold War in the Caribbean
Amidst the general worsening of East-West relations, and the sharply antagonistic policy of the usa towards the Third World, a new political situation has emerged in the Caribbean. The region itself has a population of around twenty-nine millions, and comprises thirteen independent island states, numerous European and American colonies, and . . . read more
Cold War Origins
Those hasty, impetuous souls who urged President Roosevelt to take a tougher line against the wartime claims of the Soviet Union were faced with a number of obstacles. There was Roosevelt’s strong belief that co-operation was not impossible, the desire to sustain the alliance against the Axis and give no . . . read more
The Big Fist
Arms and Influencefootnote1 presents an American view of present international relationships. It is a world of a permanent contest of nerves, in which nations have to use all methods at their disposal to persuade other nations to behave in desirable ways; a world potentially without rules, but from which rules . . . read more
Cuba: America’s Lost Plantations
This long extract is taken from two articles which originally appeared in the American magazine, Liberation. They are by one of its editors, Dave Dellinger, who spent some time recently in Cuba, and who discusses, in this article, both the exciting achievements of the Cuban Revolution and the major criticisms . . . read more
Strategic Aspects of Asia in the Global System
Capitalism, born in Europe, utilized the continent of its birth as a launching pad to colonize the rest of the world. World economics in the shape of the global market paved the way for world politics. Expansionist capital created the conditions for wars and revolutions on an unprecedented scale. It . . . read more
Introduction to a Speech in Tashkent
The speech published below was delivered in Tashkent, ussr, during the last week of April 1985, at a conference on ‘Peace and Security in Asia’ jointly organized by the United Nations University in Tokyo and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Such events are not new, but the special interest of . . . read more