The Breaking of Nations : Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first Century, Paperback

The Breaking of Nations : Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first Century Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In this book, Robert Cooper sets out his radical interpretation of the new world order that has emerged from the debris of communism.

It is an essential account of the times in which we live. 'A fluent, stimulating and often original book' Brendan Simms, Sunday Times 'An excellent new analysis of the cracks in today's geopolitical landscape.'Philip Stephens, Financial Times 'Intelligent and stylish' Robert Skidelsky, New Statesman'A seminal work: a brilliant and successful attempt to bring intellectual order to the chaos of the twenty-first century.' Francois Heisbourg, International Institute for Strategic Studies


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: International relations
  • ISBN: 9781843542315



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Cooper's recognition - with others - that the European wars, WWI & WWII, coalesce into the 2nd European 30 year war is a good starting point. Does it point to a failure of the Peace of Westphalia? He has enormous hope that the European Union is a lasting solution and that it is a pointer to the world that the intelligent use of 'words' lifts human societies above the need for force. Though he does refer to other geopolitical units in other parts of the world, he doesn't explore those places throughout the long 7,000+/- years of recorded history. His focus is from NOW - Europe at the very end of the 20th century tagging into the early 21st - Europe (Christendom) at the height of it's Civilisation's dominance of world order. To that end Cooper's rumination is on the short term - the recent pattern of past and looking at the NOW where the force mad George W is the US President (or is it Cheney as the user of real power) and the small 'l' liberal and very wordy Blair is on the edge of Europe. I fear that Cooper hopes too much. His placing the US with Dubya as President in the 'Modern" camp and Britain as "Post Modern" (lets face it, Europe didn't get much of a look-in in the planning of either Iraqis stoush) is wishful thought above reality. In 2010 and enquiry, in the English history of 'nice-ness' , is analysing the failure of words over force. In Australia at the time we hoped that Blair's intelligence would win over the idiocy of the Dubya/Cheney hunger for flashy action. That our PM of the time was enthralled with Dubya didn't help. At that time force won over words. The wordy Blair, it now seems, changed facts to convince himself with other words that force was the way to go.The thing is that throughout history those with fewer verbal skills and depth of reflective knowledge have reverted to force. The peaceful and wordy civilisations are frequently overrun by the numerous hungry tribal hordes sweeping across lands to feast on the stored surpluses of the civilised. The hordes are led by an actionman (men usually) whose intent is force with strategy. Several generations later the hordes descendants become the new civilised.Oh. Isn't that the truth too of Europe? Wasn't most of it above the Rhine hordes until or after the 10th Century of Christendom?

Review by

A comprehensive review of the current world affairs, taking into consideration important historic events of the twentieth century.Cooper's analysis focuses on understanding the new world order, classifying nations into pre-modern, modern and post modern. These nations employ foreign policies the fit into their classification, which reflects their history and role in the current events.I disagree with the author in his view of the reasons why European nations stopped fighting each other after centuries of semi-continuous wars. Cooper relates that to their adoption of a new identity, a European rather than a national one, making others seem less-foreign. He also mentions (though in a subtle way) that this is also caused by them being more honest now than they used to be. I believe the main reason for the peace is that its common knowledge amongst Europeans that war achieves very little (if anything) and costs a lot. The people of Europe know this for a fact better than anyone else, partly due to the two world wars, and partly due to the high education standard of an average European. I also think that direct and indirect European involvement in wars outside the continent (many of which lack legitimacy) make the moral reason for peace invalid.The Breaking of Nations is a book that provokes robust thinking of the politics of the world in the age of globalization. The complexity of the current world order and the factors affecting decision making are undoubtedly unprecedented, this book makes developing a view on the matter more inclusive.