In the preceding chapters we have first set out our theory, and then applied it to all regions of the world. We have not been trying to 'test' some single formal relationship of cause and effect. Rather, we have been applying a systematic framework of concepts and expectations to a complicated period of world history. Our aim has been to see whether our concepts and expectations fit well enough into this world history to enable us (and others) to make a general interpretation of the structure of international security as well as specific and comparative interpretations of different regions.
Because we were constantly held in check by people with much deeper expertise than ours about the regions, the most important learning experience for us was in the tension between, on the one hand, our initial ideas about how the empirical material might be decanted into our theoretical containers and, on the other, our growing understanding of the specificity and uniqueness of each individual region. The result of this tension is a set of case studies that are all underpinned by the same set of questions, but whose main plots and themes often differ markedly. While we have tried to compare systematically on a number of dimensions, the individuality of each region demanded that the main synthesising plot (s) for each chapter be allowed to structure how the story was told. Thus the chapters have not proceeded as rigid checklists giving different answers to the same questions, but have focused on the particular points at which the dynamics and contradictions that decide the fate of each region congregate. We hope in this way to have preserved a balance between the presentation of an analytical framework systematic enough to allow for significant crossregional comparison, and the distinctiveness of each regional story.