Inside the Cave: The Banality of I.R. Studies

In general, the landscape of international relations thinking in the United States is a view of a great American desert with a few refreshing and enlivening oases. Here's how to improve it.

Issue: Fall 1998

The twentieth century has certainly been among the most--if not the
most--grand and dramatic centuries in the history of international
relations. In the military sphere, there was the First World War, the
Second World War, and the Cold War (really a third world war). In the
economic sphere, there was the Great Depression of the 1930s, the
long boom of the 1950s-60s, and the oil shocks and world inflation of
the 1970s. History doesn't get any more grand and dramatic than this.
And at the end of the story comes the triumphal conclusion: the
United States as the sole superpower, as the hegemon of the global
economy, and as the first universal nation--bestriding the world more
grandly than any empire since that of Rome.

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