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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Governing the World by Mark Mazower. A history of the project of world government, from the first post-Napoleonic visions of the brotherhood of man to the current crisis of global finance.
The Napoleonic Wars showed Europe what sort of damage warring states could do. But how could sovereign nations be made to share power and learn to look beyond their own narrow interests? The old monarchs had one idea. Mazzin A history of the project of world government, from the first post-Napoleonic visions of the brotherhood of man to the current crisis of global finance. Mazzini and the partisans of nationalist democracy had another, and so did Marx and the radical Left.
It is an argument that has raged for two hundred years now, and Mark Mazower tells its history enthrallingly in Governing the World. With each era, the stakes have grown higher as the world has grown smaller and the potential rewards to cooperation and damage from conflict have increased. Against this, there emerged many of the ideas that would shape the international institutions of the twentieth century—liberal nationalism, communism, the expertise of the scientist and the professional international lawyers.
Mazower traces these ideas into the Great War through to the League of Nations. He explains how the League collapsed when confronted by the atrocities of the Third Reich, and how a more hard-nosed approach to international governance emerged in its wake. The United Nations appeared in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and a war-fighting alliance led by Great Britain and the United States was ultimately what transformed into an international peacetime organization.
Mazower examines the ideas that shaped the UN, the compromises and constraints imposed by the Cold War and its transformation in the high noon of decolonization. The s ushered in a sea change in attitudes to international government through the emergence of a vision of globalized capitalism in the s that marginalized the UN itself and utilized bodies like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization—the final acts of Anglo- American institution-building.
We are at the end of an era, Mazower explains, and we are passing into a new age of global power relations, a shift whose outcome is still very much in question. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Governing the World , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 03, Helen rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Adults. Shelves: mazower. This is a wonderfully written book by historian Mark Mazower about the idea of an international organization orchestrating international relations - since the time of the Concert of Europe in post Napoleonic wars Europe, until , when the book was written.
Mazower concludes that the idea has essentially floundered although some good has come out of attempts of nations to work together collectively to head off war, such as international philanthropy, the growth of NGOs, and the implementat This is a wonderfully written book by historian Mark Mazower about the idea of an international organization orchestrating international relations - since the time of the Concert of Europe in post Napoleonic wars Europe, until , when the book was written.
Mazower concludes that the idea has essentially floundered although some good has come out of attempts of nations to work together collectively to head off war, such as international philanthropy, the growth of NGOs, and the implementation of the principle that the UN has the right to protect minorities if they are being persecuted i.
The Concert of Europe eventually broke down over the issue of nationality in SE Europe the Bosnian wish to break free of Austria-Hungary and the League of Nations failed about 20 years after it was founded, once WW2 broke out.
Is the centrifugal force of nationalism once again on the ascendant, compared with the consolidating force of internationalism? It would seem so, at least in some countries, including the USA. This is a book that is sweeping in its scope, and that manages to convey the origins of the idea of nations coming together to deal with issues internationally, since the time of the post Napoleonic war era.
The Concert of Europe was the response of various European powers bourgeoisie to the French revolution Napoleon tried to spread in Europe, freedom, and the idea of national self-determination. After SE European nationalities struggled to to achieve independence from the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars, WWI broke out, which represented in some ways the end of the idea of Europe, at least as it had existed up until then - more or less lost to the gruesome extremes of warfare in an age of advancing technology.
It represented the end of the Concert of Europe just as the League of Nations was in turn a failure, although it had been founded on nobler principles.
World war 2 broke out to supposedly protect the German residents of Western Poland, once again nationalism drove peoples, this time, Germans, into an expansionist frenzy.
Here are some interesting quotes from the book: "The League of Nations Much like the men of , [President Woodrow] Wilson was drawn to the language of religious passion. The extraordinary Protestant theologian George Davis Herron, who shared Wilson's overheated blending of Protestant eschatology and Mazzinian nationalism, hailed the war as "between a white and a black governing principle, each striving for possession of the world. Wilson, he wrote admiringly, sees "the law of love He cunningly hopes, he divinely schemes, to bring it about that America, awake at last to her national self-hood and calling, shall become a colossal Christian apostle, shepherding the world in the kingdom of God.
Yet in the president himself theology was combined with a deep commitment to political pragmatism. There were good tactical domestic reasons for this, but there was also philosophical inclination: Wilson's ideal of politics as inherently deliberative underpinned his commitment -- a deeply elitist commitment -- to democracy and public opinion as the bedrock of any living political order.
From the time the United Stats entered the war, Wilson preferred to avoid the war aims debate entirely. But that became harder when in late the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, stepped up their antiwar propaganda, and called for a "democratic peace. The Soviets called for a general peace, and believing that all governments were under pressure to stop fighting, they addressed themselves to "all belligerent peoples" and only secondarily to their governments. Where the Bolsheviks led, the Americans and British followed.
News that the new leaders of Russia were parleying with the Germans -- Lenin and Trotsky's peace negotiations with the Central Powers went on through the winter of -- made it seem imperative to do whatever was possible to keep their country in the war. Wilson warned that "the voices of humanity that insist that the war shall not end in vindictive action of any kind" had been exploited by "the masters of German intrigue to lead the people of Russia astray.
This term, which was to become so associated with Wilson, had in fact been highlighted far more emphatically by Lenin, heir to a long tradition of rich Marxist debate on nationality that went back to the Hapsburg debate of the early twentieth century and before. In his October "Decree on Peace," the Bolshevik leader had gone into some detail about the plight of small nations forced against their will inside the borders of larger and powerful sates, and insisted they should have the right to determine their own fate.
This as a clear reference to the nationalities of the Hapsburg monarchy and an effort to destabilize the Central Powers. If politics was a struggle between races, each unified in its own state, then there could in reality be nothing they shared, or should.
Each state must on this reading develop its own conception of law. It followed that treaties were only to be observed insofar as it suited the signatories to observe them: they were "scraps of paper," as one German lawyer admitted in print, which could not be allowed to hold the well-being of the race hostage. Nazi lawyers worked hard to peddle this view not only because it allowed them leverage over the political organizations representing the ethnic Germans across eastern Europe, but also because they hoped to use it to pressure neighboring governments to cede rights over these minorities and thus allow the Reich to start interfering in their domestic affairs.
Long Live the United Nations Another of the key differences between the wartime discussions in and was the shift in register. As planning moved from London to Washington, a generation accustomed to thinking on classic Oxbridge common-room style about the eternal wisdom of ancient Athens was superseded by a new cohort of policymakers more comfortable with discussions of comparative legal systems, farm economics, or business cycles.
Still populated by historians and classicists rather than American-style social scientists, Whitehall had been thinking mostly in terms of a revival of the old Concert [of Europe] diplomacy.
The goals of the New Deal, as Roosevelt had anticipated in his Four Freedoms speech, also provided a potential program for global action, and the war itself had made the broader struggle against hunger and poverty seem more acute.
But as civil servants and technical experts began planning for the serious humanitarian and refugee crisis that would undoubtedly greet the victors after Nazism's defeat, some British diplomats mocked the American "new Dealers Marxist ideology allowed considerable latitude for maneuver.
Stalin's anti-colonialism was predictable, as was his desire to make sure the Red Army had a free hand in eastern Europe. On he other hand, his overriding goal was to preserve good relations with the British and the Americans as long as possible after the war to give the USSR the time it would obviously need to recover from Nazi occupation: so long as membership of the UN helped Soviet security and did not jeopardize it, therefore there was no reason not to go along with this latest expression of Anglo-American internationalism.
What we do know is that in late , he was desperate to get a second front opened the following year; one of the reasons why he had wound up the Comintern was to send a reassuring signal to his partners. Perhaps he was reassured in turn by Roosevelt telling him that American troops were not expected to play a police role in postwar Europe and that the decisions of the proposed new UN Executive Council would not be binding.
In these circumstances, there was every reason to support the UN idea and few evident drawbacks. The Bush administration in particular threatened to veto UN peacekeeping operations unless the Security Council gave any Americans involved immunity from prosecution, and it went further -- to the fury of many of its own partners -- by concluding numerous bilateral agreements with other countries not to surrender each other's nationals to the court.
Yet its role in American foreign policy since its creation has emerged in a fashion characteristic of the longer history of the American deployment of international institutions, its "exceptional" sponsor extending the power of international law while remaining above and beyond its reach itself. A form of managed capitalism would place limits on the market and property ownership without doing away with them completely; there would be nationalization of key industries, land reform, and worker cooperatives.
The result would be not communism but the realization of a simpler, more manageable, and perhaps nobler dream: a world in which economic forces would be guided and controlled by man rather than dominating him.
In the war years on Ventotene, finance capital was seen as a force to be controlled and checked, and the speculators themselves were seen as at least partially responsible for the slump of the s.
By contrast, integration through financial liberalization and monetary union has produced wealth that European democracies cannot afford and problems they cannot answer limiting their power and undermining the credibility of their institutions. No longer the fount either of political liberty as nineteenth-century liberals once hoped , or of social welfare, European internationalism has moved a long way from its origins. In its various nineteenth-century incarnations, after all, internationalism was preeminently a movement to restore sovereign power to the peoples of the world, and those who governed in their name.
Its approach to the nation-state and its institutions was almost entirely positive. Now we are on the verge of a new era, and as Western predominance approaches an end, the prognosticators speculate on what will come next.
In the current crisis, politicians have essentially acted as underwriters, essential but subordinate to the dictates of communities of financial market makers they hesitate to contradict.
More generally, the politicians have become policymakers, who listen in the first place to private interests and their lobbyists and try to adjudicate among them. Time will show whether they are any longer capable of governing. If that fails to happen, the responsibility will not be theirs alone.
Governing the World
T he idea of a world government has captivated people since the prophecies of Isaiah, who was one of the first to articulate what is instinctive to many: that our shared humanity requires a universal political community. But the challenge of turning this ancient vision into a reality has been raising and dashing hopes for centuries. In Governing the World: The History of an Idea , Columbia historian Mark Mazower works his way forward through wars, diplomacy, and social movements to document the intellectual history of this impulse and its manifestations. He begins in the era of the Concert of Europe — the loose collective of European monarchies that sought to maintain political stability in the hundred years between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the start of World War I. Under the shelter of this European great-power peace, the nineteenth century saw a flowering of internationalism. Indeed, much of the global activism and advocacy that today we associate with post—Cold War globalization originated in these nineteenth-century movements.
Governing the World by Mark Mazower – review
The author of this late 19th-century hymn to internationalism, couched in a language so tantalisingly familiar and yet so frustratingly hard to pin down, was the Russian-Jewish linguist Ludwig Zamenhof, the begetter of Esperanto meaning "Hopeful". It was Zamenhof's hope that his universal language might open up an escape route from destructive nationalist conflicts, mapping instead a possible path to world peace. While the vision was utopian, the transformation it envisaged was necessarily incremental, and the project was solidly anchored in grammatical and lexical detail - perhaps too much detail. Enthusiasts for world harmony turned out to be no less fractious than the xenophobic nationalists they aspired to tame, and their own petty disputes over language — and in particular an enhanced form of Esperanto termed Ido meaning "offspring" in the parent language — soon led to an Ido-Esperanto schism. While it's easy to snigger at the grandiose delusions of Esperantists and other similarly dreamy minorities, such as advocates for a single world government, Earth doesn't seem entirely safe in the hands of the rest of us, with our passive but pragmatic acceptance of conventional politics-as-usual. At times I despair that the only order of things that might actually save the planet from environmental degradation is a global eco-dictatorship, in itself almost as worrying a prospect as the failure of the biosphere.