How the Great Powers Shape the World BOOK REVIEW

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“A century’s journey: How the great powers shape the world”

For all the claims of globalization, says Robert A. Pastor, a handful of countries still define the world at the end of the 20th century–and will continue to do so in the 21st. This statement infuses new blood into the current foreign policy discussion about the likely arrangement of the foreign policy stage in the 21st century. Many foreign policy analysts have suggested that new powers will arise in a big way and push aside and steal the limelight form the usual stars of the foreign policy theater. In A century’s journey, Robert A. Pastor Along with six other foreign-policy scholars, argues that the current foreign policy heavyweights will continue to wield considerable influence, despite the new set of circumstances they are presented with. Pastor examines the recent history of the world’s seven “great powers” (France, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, China, Japan, and the United States) to demonstrate how they have influenced–and adapted to–the upheavals of the 20th century. They also offer some thoughts on what the “Liberal Epoch” to come will bring: if Russia and China are not fully welcomed into the community of great powers, Pastor warns, conflict is inevitable. And while international law and tribunals will continue to play an important role, they will require strengthened means of monitoring and enforcement if they are to be effective. This point is particularly important, because it outlines the new framework that needs to be developed by the international community to be able to deal with an increasingly integrated world and the effects of that integration. A Century’s Journey offers some carefully considered insights into how the nations of the world will deal with each other in the coming decades.

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This incisive study of the evolving world order argues that seven countries have changed the world during the 20th century and predicts their continued centrality in the 21st.

Will the world of the twenty-first century be dominated by global companies, ethnic strife, or rogue tyrants? This definitive volume argues convincingly that the answer depends on the actions of the world’s great powers, which will continue to set the rules affecting globalization, culture, and pariah regimes.

In A Century’s Journey, seven influential scholars trace the global strategies of the world’s most powerful countries during the past 100 years. Through authoritative chapters on each great power, readers will learn how these countries redefined their interests in response to momentous changes and reshaped the world so that it bears only slight resemblance to the world of 1900.

The scholars and their areas of expertise are Professors Robert A. Pastor (United States), Stanley Hoffman of Harvard University (France), Josef Joffe, Editor of Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Robert Legvold of Columbia University (Soviet Union/Russia), Robert J. Lieber of Georgetown University (Great Britain), Michael Oksenberg of Stanford University (China), and Kenneth Pyle of the University of Washington (Japan).

In A Century’s Journey, Robert A. Pastor and six other preeminent foreign policy scholars argue that the key to understanding the world’s future lies in how the great powers shaped the twentieth century – from a world of conquest and exclusive spheres-of-influence to one of pluralism, market-driven openness and international institutions. In contrast to some proponents of concepts like globalization, “the clash of civilizations” and “democratic peace,” the authors believe that nation-states remain the decisive actors on the international stage”.

“A Century’s Journey is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand today’s complex web of global power.”

Robert A. Pastor is Goodrich C.White Professor of International Relations at Emory University. He served on the National Security Council and has been a consultant to the Departments of State and Defense, the National Security Council, and the CIA. The author or editor of eleven books, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


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