Quantum Leap

The new world of foreign policy is neither a unipolar world nor a multipolar world, but an integrated global system, in which the United States plays a central, but constantly tempered, role.

Issue: Spring 1995

It is no coincidence that the sweeping changes in international politics today have occurred side by side with an equally radical "paradigm shift" in the physical sciences. On the contrary, there is a causal link between the two developments. The radical changes we have witnessed in foreign policy, including the collapse of the Soviet Union, have come about largely as a result of the information revolution. This revolution, in turn, has come about largely as a result of a revolution in scientific understanding generated by quantum mechanics. At first glance, there might seem to be little connection between contemporary foreign policy dilemmas and the arcana of subatomic physics. But in reality the mysterious new laws governing the quantum universe closely parallel the new principles governing political life in the information age--and the new rules shaping the conduct of foreign policy in the post-modern era.

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