THE STATE OF WAR by Stanley Hoffman


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The title of this collection of nine ""Essays in the Theory and Practice of International Politics"" sums up precisely the author's central concept. With Hobbes and Rousseau, Mr. Hoffman holds that international politics is an all but constant, all but inevitable (in effect, a ""natural"") ""state of war""--an idea, incidentally, that von Clausewitz did not in any sense negate with his famous assertion: ""War is the continuation of politics by other means."" So long as war and politics are linked together in this traditional stance, it is a minor quibble which is the cart and which the horse, Deductions proceeding from such an assumption are bound to be disturbing to those who would see a peaceful world in the future, but whether one accepts or challenges its ultimate validity, it is at least a point of view making possible a good many valuable insights into present problems. Mr. Hoffman does beth scholarship and citizenry service by placing the issues raised by nuclear power inside this classic framework. Another less successful effort has been made here ""to provide a basis for a sociology of international law."" The names of two persons to whom thanks is extended in the Introduction should be noted: McGeorge Bundy and Raymond Aron. In each case the debt was great, and well paid by a gifted pupil.

Publisher: Praeger