The Breaking of Nations
Author: Robert Cooper
In this landmark book, revised in 2003, Robert Cooper sets out his radical new interpretation of the new international order that has emerged from the debris of Communism's collapse. He argues that there are now three types of states:
  • lawless 'pre-modern' states such as Somalia and Afghanistan
  • 'modern' states - such as China, Brazil, India - that straightforwardly pursues their national interests;
  • and 'post-modern'states such as those in the EU and Japan, that operate on the basis of openness, law, and mutual security.
The United States, Cooper argues, has yet to decide whether to embrace the 'post-modern' world of interdependence, or pursue unilaterism and power politics.

In the Breaking of Nations, Cooper shows that the greatest question facing post-modern states is how they should deal with a world in which missiles and terrorists ignore borders and where Cold War alliances no longer guarantee security. He argues that when dealing with a hostile outside enemy, civilised countries need to revert to tougher methods from an earlier era - force, preemptive attack, deception - if we are to safeguard peaceful coexistence throughout the civilised world. He also advocates a doctrine of liberal imperialism that advocates that post-modern states have a right to intervene in the affairs of modern and pre-modern states if they pose a significant enough threat.

The Breaking of Nations is essential reading, a cautionary tale for superpowers, and a prescient examination of international relations in the twenty-first century.
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