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The precarious state of international order: Assessment and policy implications

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The international order is becoming increasingly precarious as a result of the pressures of globalisation and inadequate policy responses by many states, most importantly the United States, which still holds a pivotal role in building and sustaining international order. The present state of affairs in global governance is characterised by 1) an overwhelming concentration of power at the level of interstate relations but 2) a diffusion of power if we look at the totality of international relations, 3) the erosion of state authority and political legitimacy, 4) the growing importance of markets and of 5) fundamentalist ideologies, 6) the declining utility and the paradoxical impact of force on political order, and 7) by the still indispensable but increasingly fragile base of international order in functioning statehood at the national level. Overall, this situation reflects a mismatch between political demands on and the actual supply of international order whose present state leaves much to be desired. By way of conclusion, the article offers some policy recommendations about how to change the present precarious situation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2006

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