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Governing the World: The History of an Ideaby Mark Mazower
Synopses & Reviews
The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world. Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power.
From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats.
19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II.
Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power. But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets.
Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions. History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.
Frank Ninkovichs revisionist history of Americas relation to the world debunks American exceptionalism once and for all by showing how Americas role in the world has been driven less by its ideals than by its fears. What makes the United States special in the global arena is not its economic dominance, its aggressive foreign policy, or its influence over international institutions. Rather, the United States has become distinctive through its deep-seated and long-standing engagement with the forces of globalization—as well as the threats that they represent or embody. The United States has been exceptionally aware of globalizing forces because it has come to have the most to lose on their account. This magisterial overview of the real history of Americas role in the world will demystify, clarify, and — depending on your politics — enrage.
A chilling and revelatory appraisal of the new faces of espionage and warfare on the digital battleground
Shortly after 9/11, Joel Brenner entered the inner sanctum of American espionage, first as the inspector general of the National Security Agency, then as the head of counterintelligence for the director of National Intelligence. He saw at close range the battleground on which adversaries are attacking us: cyberspace.
Like the rest of us, governments and corporations inhabit glass houses,” all but transparent to a new generation of spies who operate remotely from such places as China, the Middle East, Russia, and even France. In this urgent wake-up call, Brenner draws on his extraordinary background to show what we can—and cannot—do to prevent cyber spies and hackers from compromising our security and stealing our latest technology.
A majestic narrative reckoning with the forces that have shaped the nature and destiny of the worlds governing institutions
The story of global cooperation is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanitys worst problems. But international institutions are also tools for the powers that be to advance their own interests. Mark Mazowers Governing the World tells the epic, two-hundred-year story of that inevitable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power. From the rubble of the Napoleonic empire in the nineteenth century through the birth of the League of Nations and the United Nations in the twentieth century to the dominance of global finance at the turn of the millennium, Mazower masterfully explores the current era of international life as Western dominance wanes and a new global balance of powers emerges.
About the Author
Daniel Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics. Yergin is a Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the United States Energy Award for “lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding.” He is both a world-recognized author and a business leader, as well as executive vice president of IHS.
Yergin received the Pulitzer Prize for his work The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, which became a number one best seller and was made into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series seen by 20 million people in the United States. The book has been translated into 17 languages and has just been released in a new updated edition.
Yergin holds a BA from Yale University and a PhD from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar.
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