Peter Gowan on Giovanni Arrighi and Beverly Silver: Chaos and World Governance. Plotting the different axes of any international hegemony, and the prospects for American supremacy in the new century.
At the dawn of the century, America rampant appears to be master of global politics. Washington’s military budget currently accounts for over a third of world expenditure on arms, and is larger than that of the next nine powers put together. The Pentagon’s weapons systems are in a league of their own. The US enjoys an unchallengeable military predominance over any combination of hostile states for the foreseeable future. Critics point out that American strategic preponderance is overwhelmingly based on air and sea power: the US has lost its capacity to control populations on the ground because its hugely increased capacity to kill has been accompanied by a precipitate decline in its willingness to let its soldiers die.
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The Ways of the World
In an interview recorded earlier this year, Peter Gowan recalls his political and intellectual trajectory, from the end of empires to Marxist militancy, from Eastern Bloc shipyards to the rise of the Dollar–Wall Street Regime.
Crisis in the Heartland
Against mainstream accounts, Peter Gowan argues that the origins of the global financial crisis lie in the dynamics of the New Wall Street System that has emerged since the 1980s. Contours of the Atlantic model, and implications—geopolitical, ideological, economic—of its blow-out.
Twilight of the NPT?
Responding to Dombey, Peter Gowan asks why such an unequal treaty has attracted so many adherents—and why its superpower beneficiary has sought to undermine it. Do impasses around the NPT signal failures for US dominance?
A Radical Realist
Peter Gowan on Christopher Layne, Peace of Illusions. A maverick mole inside realist international-relations theory, overturning orthodox accounts of US global strategy.
Peter Gowan on Mark Leonard, Why Europe will Run the 21st Century. Panglossian manifesto for a Blairite Europeanism as model for the new Atlanticist world order.
Peter Gowan on Neil Smith, American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization. The neglected career of a key thinker of American expansionism, and his scenarios for a world order after the age of European imperial dominance.
US : UN
The American origins of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945, and the duality of US usages and conceptions of it ever since: from the Cold War through the collapse of the USSR to today’s war on terror and occupation of Mesopotamia.
Instruments of Empire
Peter Gowan on Andrew Bacevich, American Empire. A clear-eyed colonel examines the swords and deeds of the us state in the post-Cold War world.
A Calculus of Power
John Mearsheimer’s Tragedy of Great Power Politics disdains liberal-imperial rhetoric for a tough-minded theory of ‘offensive realism’. Peter Gowan argues that, whatever its merits, the behaviour of states in the international system cannot be dissociated from the internal dynamics of the political orders they protect.
A reigning doctrine of international relations proclaims that, despite everything, the world is entering a new epoch of hopeful cosmopolitanism—narrow state sovereignty being overcome by the common and, where necessary, armed resolve of a ‘Pacific Union’ of democratic nations. What then of the asymmetric hegemony of the United States?