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Irony and foreign policy

International relations is increasingly about values, identity and powerlessness

By Robert Cooper   December 1998

It is time we had a new theory of international relations. Hume, the empiricist, observed and wrote on the balance of power; Kant, the rationalist, constructed a model for perpetual peace. With Hegel we have the march of ideas; and the states that embodied them marching across each other’s territory. The end of the 19th century produced Marxist theories of international class struggle, Leninist theories of imperialism and Darwinist theories of racial struggle. These theories were enough to ruin most of the 20th century and perhaps we have done well to avoid new ones for a while.

The intellectual context…

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