Beyond Confrontation: Transforming the New World Order

Beyond Confrontation: Transforming the New World Order

Beyond Confrontation: Transforming the New World Order

Beyond Confrontation: Transforming the New World Order


This book presents confrontation as the key theme of the post-cold war world. It argues that the world could be changed dramatically for the better if people and governments were to adopt a new way of thinking and dealing with conflict that takes us beyond confrontation. The examples of war, international economics, environmental decay, and racial conflict show that in today's interdependent world, the problems we face are interdependent too. The central tenet is that it is almost always more pragmatic to act cooperatively. Most important, the book shows that cooperative problem solving is not mere "pie in the sky" idealism.


It took a long time to write this book. My progress was slowed by other projects and the normal interruptions that keep us academics from writing as quickly as we'd like. More important, events like the end of the Cold War made me wonder if I was writing a book that was either years ahead or years behind its time. There were times when I thought about abandoning the project altogether.

I was in one of those frames of mind on November 8, 1994.

Like most political junkies, I turned CNN on when the first polls closed, stayed with the networks until they abandoned their election coverage around midnight, and then listened to NPR and the BBC well into the morning.

The news was devastating. The right won in large part because its negative campaign tapped the alienation felt by many Americans, but the left had contributed heavily to its own defeat, because it was seen as having nothing constructive to offer.

Sometime in the wee hours of November 9, the BBC announced that it was also the fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. That only heightened my pessimism. Since I was in the final stages of writing this book, it was hard for me not to remember how much things had changed for the worse in international as well as domestic political life.

The euphoria and hope many felt in 1989 had already given way to concerns about a host of problems, old and new alike, which may prove even more daunting than those of the Cold War years. In the late 1980s, Presidents Bush . . .

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