Edwards, government professor at the University of Texas and author of several substantial publications on international...

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CREATING A NEW WORLD POLITICS: From Conflict to Cooperation

Edwards, government professor at the University of Texas and author of several substantial publications on international relations, is much more convincing when criticizing the old world politics (conflict) than creating the new (cooperation). The major problem with the essay seems to be Edwards' self-conscious and very misty attempt to formulate an original alternative to 20th century American foreign policy, which he characterizes as consensus in nature, though there are identifiable strains: Realism (the old Cold War approach), Neorealism (the emerging Nixon-Kissinger stratagem), and Idealism (the moralistic Wilsonian view). Each of these variations however relies on military force or the threat thereof and hence promotes ""unacceptable risks,"" a situation which increases rather than alleviates international tensions. If not conflict diplomacy, what then? Edwards summarily rejects isolationist notions, arguing that America's role in the world will continue to ""require not withdrawal but active participation. . .because we have always been a people desirous of constructive innovation and moral contribution."" What is left? Cooperation -- without the use of force, implied or otherwise. It is here that Edwards becomes fuzzy, taking refuge in jargon. To achieve a world politics of cooperation we must improve or correct our ""reality images"" of self and the international community (e.g., put aside such childish concepts as the ""domino theory"" or the ""lessons of Munich""), and exploit the ""multiple symmetry-maintenance"" phenomenon in a positive manner (i.e., political ""exchange interactions"" on an international level designed to reduce or bargain away differences). This is the nub of Edwards' ""program for international political reconstruction""; but after the conceit of nomenclature has been cleared away, his ""new world politics"" is exposed not only as wistful thinking but naivete about the behavior of nation-states.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: McKay

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972