States, Civilisations, and the World Order

JCA editor Kevin Hewison has a new review available. He reviews States, Civilisations and the Reset of World Order by By Richard Higgott, and published by Routledge.

50 copies are available for free download to those who are quick. Use this link: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RBKCG2MTKATYJKGAWEHP/full?target=10.1080/00472336.2022.2113222

The book acknowledges the decline of US global power, the rise of China, and increased global instability. For the author, these events mark the decline of the post-1945 liberal international order established under US hegemony.

The author seeks to explain how this situation has come about and what it means for the world order. Dealing with the US’s lurch to the right under Donald Trump, Brexit and Conservative buffoonery in the UK, the rise of identity politics and communitarianism, a climate crisis, and the economic and social turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, Higgott’s perspective on the current liberal order is understandably pessimistic. His alternative is for a “rebuilt world order” through a “common sense” call for a rediscovery of the “co-operative urge” and a new and “hard-headed internationalism.”

Hewison concludes that the book is a useful account of the current crisis of the US-dominated liberal international order. It is a liberal plea for a new world order and a renewed multilateralism. However, he sees some issues with the attention to civilisationalism, and sets these out in the review. Noting Higgott’s nuanced positioning, Hewison rejects the cultural determinism associated with the civilisational approach where discussions of values, culture, and civilisations are made a part of the well-organised and interconnected extremist positions.He points to a need for more attention to capitalist crisis and inter-imperial rivalry.

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