Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Decoding Disorder: A Review of a World in Disarray by Richard Haass

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Decoding Disorder: A Review of a World in Disarray by Richard Haass

Article excerpt

"What exists in many parts of the world as well as in various venues of international relations resembles more of a new world disorder. If there were a publicly traded stock called 'World Order Incorporated,' it would not have crashed, but it would have suffered a correction, losing at least 10 percent of its value," writes Richard Haass in A World in Disarray (1) In his grounded view of the current geopolitical landscape, Haass tries to answer questions about the increasing disorder in the world. This three-part book sheds light on the history of the world, analyzes current international affairs, and offers a road map for how to deal with the challenges of what might come next.

Haass explains that Brexit and the U.S. elections are indications that large, powerful democracies are rejecting the idea of globalization. If you add to these the current unravelling of the Middle East, Europe's instability, terrorism, climate change, the threat of nuclear proliferation, low economic growth, populism, and cybersecurity, "it is painfully evident that the twenty-first century will prove extremely difficult to manage."

In the third part of the book, Haass argues that the world needs an updated operating system--a world order 2.0--that accounts for new challenges and other stakeholders, going beyond state actors. Haass introduces the concept of sovereign obligation that informs how governments think about legitimacy and involves governments' obligations to other governments and their citizens. …

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