The Real World Order: Zones of Peace, Zones of Turmoil

The Real World Order: Zones of Peace, Zones of Turmoil

The Real World Order: Zones of Peace, Zones of Turmoil

The Real World Order: Zones of Peace, Zones of Turmoil


"Singer and Wildavsky's distinction between a zone of peace and a zone of turmoil resonates as a crisp and straightforward distinction that possesses much explanatory power and is embedded in a deep political insight. That distinction is, in my opinion, destined to become the way we think of the new world order. I know of no recent book that competes with this one for its scope and vision combined with nontechnical analysis." - Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Silver Professor of Politics at New York University and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University


Whether this book is optimistic or pessimistic depends on whether a century is a short time or a long time.

It is impossible to prevent most of the world from being subject to violence, injustice, poverty, and disorder for at least several more generations. But we believe that a process is well started that will make most of the world peaceful, democratic, and wealthy by historical standards by about a century from now, or perhaps two.

Since human society has been dominated by poverty, tyranny, and war for thousands of years, it is easy to argue that our vision of the spread of wealth, democracy, and peace in "only" another century or so is too optimistic. (And we are not at all free from doubt about it.) But since people's lives are shorter than a century, our view of the world also says that billions of human beings are doomed to have their lives cut short or mutilated by poverty, tyranny, and violence. Some may see this view as pessimistic, because a century is such a long time.

We care less about labels such as "optimist" or "pessimist" than about the implications for action. the specter of suffering, injustice, and unnecessary death in the zones of turmoil is a goad to action, even though they are mostly temporary and partly unavoidable evils. the tasks of speeding the spread of wealth, democracy, and peace and limiting the damage from the turmoil of transition are urgent challenges for individuals and for the United States and the other democracies. If we can be wise and energetic in reinforcing the current trends, we can enable millions and millions of people to have more decent lives.

The inference we draw from our "optimistic" view, that our part of the world is now richer and safer, is that we can afford, and have a responsibility, to speed the day when more of the world will be richer and safer.

This book presents a perspective that makes it possible not only to balance "the best of times and the worst of times" but to understand how our current world order will work. There is always some kind of world order, although usually it is not very orderly. the world order may be more or less stable, lawful, decent, or violent, but there is always some pattern of forces and relationships that determines how the critical decisions are made . . .

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