Nations Unchained: Revolution, Empire, and the Collapse of the Westphalian Order
20 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2014 Last revised: 25 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 25, 2016
This paper examines transformations of “world orders,” of the basic norms governing relations between powers and between powers and peoples. I present three historical transformations of the world order: First, the transformation at the end of the Eighteenth Century of the order in Europe based on the equality of states and the balance of power, into a world order based on nationalism and imperialism. Second, the transformation in the aftermath of World War II in which imperial domination was rejected, national self-determination affirmed, and territorial acquisition by force outlawed (what I call “1945 rules”). Third, the present collapse of 1945 rules in the face of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. I assess these transformations with help from Nicholas Onuf and the English School of International Relations.
Keywords: empire, nationalism, Martin Wight, Hedley Bull, Thomas Paine, Vladimir Putin
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