Goodbye, New World Order. This is a thoughtful and balanced foreign relations essay on the notion of an international community. Is it still there? Was it ever there?
As far as the international system is concerned, what are the most striking aspects of the current situation? There is the United Nations sunk in irrelevancy, except as the world’s leading humanitarian relief organization. There is a landscape of international relations that seems far more to resemble the bellicose world of pre-1914 Europe than the interdependent, responsible world imagined by the framers of the U.N. Charter. There is an entire continent, sub-Saharan Africa, mired in an economic calamity largely not of its own making. There is a Europe that pays lip service to human rights, but remains intransigent where its own real interests — such as farm subsidies that effectively condemn sub-Saharan Africa to grinding poverty by limiting its agricultural exports — are concerned. And then there is the United States, seemingly bent on empire.