Richard Rosecrance, ed. The New Great Power Coalition: Toward a Concert of Nations. Lanham and Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001. 338 pp. $34.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8476-8894-4; $111.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8476-8893-7.
Reviewed by Howard H. Lentner (Department of Political Science, Baruch College, and Ph.D. Program in Political Science, Graduate School, City University of New York )
Published on H-Diplo (February, 2003)
A Program for World Order
Since the demise of the Cold War, scholars and policy analysts have pursued a debate that involves describing the world's condition and advocating preferred arrangements. Every contribution to the discourse includes both elements, but some appear more forthright in advocacy than others. This fine book promotes a clear agenda--an encompassing coalition of great powers that can maintain a stable peace--and it also includes excellent analytical treatment of the various topics addressed. Not everyone will accept its premises, but the book will edify readers interested in the debate over current international circumstances and possible directions for the future.
The post-Cold War debate began with Fukuyama's triumphalist thesis that liberalism represented "the end of history". Another important strand came from the realist camp which anticipated a re-emergence of a balance of power in the world or a stable structure undergirded by nuclear power. Noting a shift away from the ideological conflict of the Cold War, Huntington anticipated that regional "civilizations" would likely clash in the future. A somewhat distinctive debate, but one that also contributes to the discourse about the post-Cold War period, is the liberal or democratic peace literature. Perhaps closest to Rosecrance but different because of his emphases on hegemonic leadership and institutions is Ikenberry. Rosecrance and his colleagues join this broad debate by proposing that, by means of a specific set of incentives, Russia and China be brought into a grand coalition to maintain major power peace and to rein in recalcitrant smaller powers.
In a particularly clear introduction, Arthur A. Stein lays out the basic framework of the book. The authors assume that the leading industrial countries--including the United States, Japan and in Europe--will continue their cooperation because of similar domestic institutions. They also assume "that there are underlying military deterrents to Great Power expansion," one being the unspoken premise that the United States, with its superior military power, will check itself (p. 3). To induce China and Russia to join the concert, these advocates consider various economic and status incentives. Noting that a major-power concert needs an ideological or normative base, they treat regional conflict settlement, prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and increasing liberalization of the global economy as the "set of principled objectives" that can hold the coalition together (p. 4). Given the prominence of democratic and human rights discourses in the post-Cold War debate, it is perhaps surprising that this team of scholars does not include democracy and human rights as some of the ideological components that might cement the concert. In addition to incentives, the writers also stress emulation, though they do not extend it to political arrangements and political values. They also invoke international institutions both as embodiments of norms and as means for conferring status.
Following the introduction, the book includes six chapters of case studies which illustrate influence patterns; four chapters that treat international organizations and norms; four chapters probing the inculcation of new norms; and, finally, three chapters that deal with United States policy options for inducing Russian and Chinese cooperation within the coalition. A concluding chapter brings the volume to a tentative but fairly optimistic close. The book is characterized by high-quality descriptive analysis throughout and the authors bring good policy analysis to bear. Where the evidence shows failures of policy, the authors come to the appropriate conclusions. Where events do not provide grounds for optimism about achieving the goal of a grand coalition, the authors state their honest reservations about the prospects.
Kristen Williams, Deborah Larson, and Alexei Shevchenko write an archive-based analysis of the failures to influence the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the Marshall Plan and in the detente period. The latter two authors follow this with a nuanced analysis of Soviet policy under Gorbachev in the 1985-1991 period in which they argue that the Soviet leader not only emulated the West but also became a "'norm entrepreneur' for other nations" (p. 43). According to Richard Baum and Shevchenko, China's reactions to the forces of globalization have included both accommodation and resistance.
The other cases deal with a slightly different problem from that of inducing cooperation of the great powers; they deal instead with the problem of coercing so-called "rogue" states. Gitty M. Amini and Joel Scanlon treat the use of sanctions against North Korea and Vietnam. Jennifer Kibbe argues that incentives and sanctions were inappropriately applied to Iraq and thus failed to influence that state's behavior. Amini describes another failure in the attempts to shape Iran's behavior. Although somewhat off center from the main theme of this book, these chapters offer insightful analyses and interesting observations.
Success has marked the institutional influence of the European Union on state behavior, according to Kristen Williams' analysis. Greg Rasmussen and Stein's analysis of the Non-proliferation Treaty and the Missile Technology Control Regime lead them to conclude that while these have not been entirely successful, they have slowed the pace of proliferation. Employing a comparative analysis of previous Great Power concerts, Rasmussen believes not only that a new concert is feasible but also that ideological consensus has already been partly achieved. Using the most novel idea of the book, Richard Rosecance and Stein analyze present international conditions as an order provided by a set of overlapping clubs. At the same time, they advocate doing more to bring Russia and China into this institutional and organizational set.
Deepak Lal leads off the section on norms by examining three sets of economic incentives historically invoked to shape states' behaviors: treaties dealing with trade and property rights; incentives offered by organizations like the European Union and the World Trade Organization; and, economic sanctions and the conditionality of the International Monetary Fund. Stein examines the new norm of transparency to illustrate how intrusive international pressures have become in the modern world, writing that the "history of the last half-century demonstrates what might be called 'intrusiveness creep'" (p. 277). Somewhat less persuasive, Rosecrance offers a brief survey of emulation during the last one hundred years. Steven L. Spiegel and Kibbe present an analysis of emulation of major power standards in the Middle East. They note that Cold War norms of limited wars and arms races appealed to the states in the region but that economic models had less appeal in the post-Cold War period.
In the final section of the book, Larson and Shevchenko make a case for American efforts to induce Russia to cooperate, mostly by incorporating it into the various Western economic and security "clubs". Sounding a more cautious note, Baum and Shevchenko indicate that China cannot be expected, soon or with enthusiasm, to adhere to the norms and practices of Western institutions. In a somewhat outdated chapter, Alan Alexandroff assesses China's anticipated accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is a balanced assessment, but no longer useful as a policy guideline because China has already joined the WTO. The concluding chapter by Kibbe, Rosecrance, and Stein restates the premise that world order will rely on Great Power cooperation, but the authors are necessarily hesitant to conclude that a concert is certain to arise in the near future.
Even while reiterating that the analysis throughout clings to a high standard, I would like to mention that the chapters written by Stein are particularly characterized by lucid analysis. In addition, I wish to note that editor Rosecrance has exercised his function of integrating the work and insuring a sustained analytical perspective with great skill. This is a superbly edited book.
Aside from some reservations about the adequacy of the ideological cohesiveness that these authors claim as a basis for forging a new concert, I feel compelled to comment on the absence of concern about security in the book. Except for the chapter by Rasmussen and Stein on slowing down arms proliferation, the book does not face head-on the problem of linking security objectives to the matter at hand. Although security divisions and the overall problem of security are never far from the concerns of statesmen, this matter has become more prominent in the last year and a half. Until analysts bring to bear central concerns with collective security, alliances, coalitions of the willing, and so forth, it seems unlikely that they have gone to the core problem of forging cooperation among the major powers.
. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).
. Respectively, John J. Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe After the Cold War," International Security 15, Summer 1990: 5-56; The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York and London: W.W.
Norton, 2001); and, Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Emerging Structure of International Politics," International Security 18, Fall 1993: 44-79.
. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).
. Michael W. Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 2," Philosophy and Public Affairs 12, 1983; Joanne Gowa, Ballots and Bullets: The Elusive Democratic Peace (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999); Christopher Layne, "Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace," International Security 19, Fall 1994: 5-44; and, Bruce M. Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).
. G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order After Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
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Howard H. Lentner. Review of Rosecrance, Richard, ed., The New Great Power Coalition: Toward a Concert of Nations.
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