A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order Themes

Haass, Richard
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The Primacy of Sovereignty in World Order

A thorough respect for sovereignty is the most important principle in Haass’s conception of world order and foreign policy proposals. His arguments in favor of sovereignty draw significantly from the history of international relations. Notably, he begins this history in 1648, the year the principle of sovereignty was created by the Peace of Westphalia. In his view, sovereignty marked the beginning of modern international relations and anything before that point is irrelevant. Sovereignty can be compared to the technological advances of the industrial revolution, which dramatically reshaped conditions and determined the situation of the modern world. To discuss world order without sovereignty would be like discussing modern technology without acknowledging the importance of electricity or telephone communication. More practically, Haass argues that peaceful periods of history correspond with respect for state sovereignty. He notes that the 19th century was relatively free of...

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