Martin Shaw/Global Society and International Relations/Chapters 1/2/4/5/6/7
State theory and the post-Cold War World
Contents: The challenge to international relations theory; Sociology of the state and international relations; Social and international forces in the end of the Cold War; Social forces in post-Cold War international relations; Theoretical directions in the new global context
The international order of the twenty-first century will be radically different from that which we knew between 1945 and 1990. In place of the bipolar world, a new regime of states and international institutions is being forged - and with it new relationships of state and society. The outline of this world is only partially visible in the upheavals of the mid-l990s. The Soviet Union, the second superpower, which until recently constituted one pole of the old 'post-war' order, has disintegrated before the eyes of its former adversaries: after several years of upheaval, we do not yet know in what form the state system will be consolidated in its territories. The Cold War division of Europe has gone: Eastern Europe undergoes economic, political and even military fragmentation, while the West unites, however problematically, in the European Community. The United States, triumphant as the sole superpower, is nevertheless struggling to maintain its supremacy over its European and Japanese allies.
The role of war in this new world order is highly problematic. On the one hand, however strong the rivalries of the major Western powers are or may become, no one seriously believes that - even in the longer term - they will lead to war. Even realists and Marxists, an unholy theoretical alliance with a common interest in denying this assertion, can manage little more than caveats to it. The Western community of interest in a pacified world is being reinforced by institutionalisation, economic and political as well as military. This generalisation can be upheld, even if Western leaders stop woefully short of a positive assertion of its potential and seem, in many crises, to actively avoid concerted action.
Similarly, the collapse of the Soviet Union is a historic failure for the successor states, so that however much they may find conflict among and within themselves, it is highly unlikely that - even with nuclear weapons - Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the others will pose a direct threat to Western interests. Like many other states - China, India, and the other major states of Asia, the major Latin American powers, even most of the Middle Eastern states - they are likely to look for an accomodation with and role within the Western-dominated world economy and state-system. For all these reasons, the era of big wars between core states in the world system seems over. The total war system of global state-society relationships, which survived in markedly attenuated form during the Cold War and the nuclearisation of military technology, is finally passing. In its place, the core states of the West, and to a considerable degree many other parts of the world, are moving into a post-military relationship of state and society.
On the other hand, however, it has rapidly become apparent that some regional and, even more, civil conflicts now have greater potential for war. The removal of Cold War bloc discipline and the undermining of Cold War ideologies, especially Communism, have thrown both the state-system and state-society relations into new flux. The nation-state has been transformed from a relatively stable nexus of state-society relationships into the focus of the manifold instabilities of both the state-system and civil society. In this new situation, the existing forms of state theory in both international relations and sociology are brought very decisively into question.
The challenge to international relations theory
This new situation poses a major challenge to the ways in which we have learnt to understand the international order. The theory with which academic social scientists attempt to grasp these realities has been developed in the 'post-war' era. International relations has emerged as a discipline in the shadow of the Cold War. Even when it has not (as has sometimes been the case) taken on the propagandist tones of one side, it has inevitably been constrained by what have appeared the enduring realities of bipolar conflict. Even when writers attempted to see beyond the Cold War, they hardly imagined that it would collapse as suddenly as it did in the late 1980s, and few attempted until very recently to predict the shape of the post-Cold War World. In short, it is as if a charge has been placed under the categories of international relations theory: in the l990s we can see the explosion, but we are not sure what will be left, and how useful it will be, when the dust settles.
Before major upheavals, the best theory is often that which, while it does not generate precise predictions of change, nevertheless sensitizes us to its dimensions. In the last years of the Cold War a ferment had begun in international relations, and much of this centred around the concept of the state. International relations theory had always known - or so it thought - what states were. Liberals knew that states existed to protect individuals from each other; realists that states protected themselves from each other. Identification of security with the state was almost complete, and the classical writers (and many others) had hardly felt the need to separate out categories like 'society' or even 'nation' from that of 'state'. Because people thought they knew what 'state' meant, remarkably little attention was paid to exploring the concept and its ramifications.
In the 1980s, however, as the 'new' Cold War intensified, critical thinking about international relations also expanded. From a variety of different directions, writers began to problematize the state which, for realism especially, had been so taken for granted. Marxists had been largely responsible for a revival of critical theorizing about the state in the previous decade: not surprisingly, then, some attempts at new perspectives in international relations came from this point of view. Marxism appeared to represent a superior view of the state, which was manifestly more serious in its attempt to integrate social assumptions than most traditional international relations views.
There were however three major difficulties with this approach. First, Marx and Engels, whose writings on the state in general were limited and fragmentary, wrote virtually nothing on the international aspects of state. Second, Marxist theorists of the state - Leninists and Gramscians, instrumentalists and structuralists alike - however divided they were in other respects, were united in viewing it from within national societies, from the perspective of class. And third, Marxist views of the international were for the most part incorrigibly economist, defining the 'world system' in terms of the global economy, and leaving little room for the system of states. Some of the earliest attempts to bring Marxism into international relations, like the work of Kubalkova and Cruickshank focused heavily on the official Marxist-Leninist doctrines of the Soviet Union and other Communist states - now completely abandoned except for a few curious anachronisms, and of little use in any case to the kind of critical Marxism which western theorists sought to develop.
A recent writer who looks for such a 'critical theory' argues that we need to go 'beyond realism and Marxism'. Sharing the impulse for a view of the state which transcends traditional international relations categories, but generally critical of the Marxist conception of the state (especially as applied to international relations), a growing number of specialists have looked to reconstruct the theory of the state. As Halliday demonstrates, the relations between international relations and sociological theory are proving of critical importance to the reconstruction of state theory. The emergence of a non-Marxist sociology of the state, represented by major works such as those of Skocpol, Giddens and Mann, has presented an alternative pole to both realism and Marxism.
These new directions were begun before the end of the Cold War. Although the theorizing is at a general level, the crisis and change of direction in the world system provides a particularly sharp test of its relevance. How far do the new approaches help to explain the change itself and to understand the lines of the emerging new international order? Moreover, the most abstract theory responds, however indirectly, to historical circumstances, and it is to be expected that works written in the early 1980s (at the height of the 'Second Cold War') will reflect the very difficult conditions in which they were written. How far are the limitations those of tone and emphasis, which are unavoidable, and how far are they real structural weaknesses?
Sociology of the state and international relations
A major reason that the new sociology of the state is being taken seriously in international relations is that it, in turn, takes international relations - in the old-fashioned sense of relations between states very seriously. Skocpol used the international relations between states, especially in war, to explain the internal breakdown of states, in revolutions. Mann explained that he preferred a geopolitical explanation of wars to either the 'optimistic theory of pacific capitalism' or the 'pessimistic theory of militaristic capitalism' emanating from sociology and Marxism respectively. Giddens reinstated warfare as a basic 'institutional cluster' of modern societies, seeing it is a side of the nation-state which had been strengthened.
In Mann's work, there is a polemical assertion of the autonomy of states as actors and of geopolitics as a basis of international relations, which, coupled with a denial of social-systemic factors, leads a sociological analysis towards realist conclusions. As Yalvac points out, the convergence with traditional international relations views of the state, just when international relations theorists are moving away from them, may not necessarily be helpful; we do not have to accept his own preferred Marxist alternative, to recognize the problem as real.
With Giddens, who is less polemical about it, there is also a sense in which the analysis leads towards a world of warring nation-states, in which the autonomy of states from non-state actors has been increased. In his work, which has been most influential in international relations, the end-point also seems close to realism: violence is the arbiter of a world of nation-states. One might think that sociology had no more to offer to international relations than a more weighty, secure intellectual underpinning for positions which are under challenge within the discipline; paradoxically, the radical infusion of social categories may have effects which are intellectually conservative.
There is a real problem here, although the line of thought has (one hopes) only to be simplified in this way for its inadequacy to become apparent. The paradox can be unravelled to reveal a more progressive contribution. Firstly, we should recognize that the limitations of Mann's and Giddens' conclusions are the product of the direction in which they are travelling. Sociology has traditionally ignored (up to and including the Marxist debate on state theory) not merely international relations but the basic territorial aspect of the state. It has been necessary to insist on some truths which seem fairly elementary in international relations, to get serious work going. The specific conclusions are less important than the direction of the argument.
Secondly, the theoretical infrastructure which has been developed can sustain a far wider range of developments than would be indicated by a simple realist reading. To see the state in its international aspect as related to definite social structuring changes the whole way in which we conceptualize the problems of international relations. And thirdly, the body of work in question signifies a breakthrough in the sociological understanding of international relations. Now this has occurred, it is possible to create a wider debate in which other, even quite contrasting sociological contributions to international relations will be possible.
Thus once we see warfare as a basic social process and institutional context, it becomes possible to ask more specific questions about the relations of war, state and society than Giddens himself addresses. We can identify specific forms of warfare, such as total war (which is discussed in chapter 2), through which their interaction is developed. When we look at such specific forms, the global trends towards 'surveillance' and 'warfare' seem more problematic. War is not just an outcome of trends towards the concentration of administrative and military power. War, in turn, acts on society, not just to mobilize it behind the state, but to accentuate social contradictions which in turn can threaten the state. The revolutionary tensions produced by war affect the nature of individual states and thus feed back in turn into international relations.
In this sense, a sociological account may offer more than a supporting argument for a view of interstate relations: it may see the system of states as existing in complex interaction with society-state relations. The understanding of war is clearly a specific intellectual context of great significance in this debate. Traditionally, the discipline of international relations has seen it as the decisive means by which conflicts between states are resolved and major changes in the international system occur. The historical sociology of war sees it, in contrast, as an arena of social and political change, in which war mobilisation causes social upheaval which spills back into the state system.
The specific focus on war, as a context of both state and intrastate social action, may in fact lead us to revise Giddens' categories: 'surveillance' suggests a much too one-sided relationship between state and society. Although states have partially succeeded (but not as much as Giddens implies) in removing violent challenges, this 'pacification' does not mean passivity. Just as nation-states themselves have more active relationships to their societies - they mobilize as well as control and survey - so social groups act to modify states.
This debate has, of course, developed within the framework of the Cold War world. It is probably not a coincidence, given their quasi-realist conclusions, that Giddens and Mann produced major works and much quoted articles in the early 1980s - when it would have been difficult not to have been impressed with the warlike potential of geopolitics. The debate about total war also bears the impress of its context, a world which had been so clearly shaped by the Second World War. As we have noted, the issue is whether the structure of the analyses also help us to address the new context into which international relations theory is now thrust.
There are two arenas in which we can examine this issue: the process of ending the Cold War itself, and the nature of the new international order which is now emerging. If the state theorists whom we have discussed, or sociological approaches in general, are relevant to international relations, then they must have important implications for these two key arenas.
Social and international forces in the end of the Cold War
Intellectual battle has already been joined over the end of the Cold War. In some quarters, there have been celebrations for the victory of capitalism - and the 'end of ideology'. These apart, however, the theoretical issue is clearly raised: can we explain this great change in international relations in terms of international relations itself, or do we need a wider-based political science and sociology? As Cox points out, there is a superficial plausibility to the thesis that the US under Reagan and Weinberger confronted the Soviet Union - and won. The tightening of the arms race, as a result of US rearmament, certainly increased the pressure on the ailing Soviet economy. And yet to see the competitive interstate level as self-sufficient and determining is to take a very narrow and ultimately unsatisfactory view of the breakthrough.
Clearly the end of the Cold War is above all the result of the implosion of the Soviet Union. This epoch-making crisis cannot be attributed - not even in its timing - solely or mainly to the pressure of the arms race. Indeed the arms race generated contradictory effects on the Soviet system: at the same time as it presented an increasingly intolerable economic pressure, it also provided much of the rationale for the regime. The discipline of Stalinism and Brezhnevism - in the subordination of eastern Europe as well as the basic political and ideological repression - was largely justified by the exigencies of military and political competition with its Western adversaries. The Cold War helped freeze the Soviet empire for four decades, even as it contributed some of the pressures towards its ultimate demise.
International competition in wider senses clearly played a larger part: but to draw attention to this raises problems for a classical international relations approach. The logic of the USSR's and Eastern Europe's positions in the world economy, and the example of freer intellectual, cultural and political life in the West, were both fundamental determinants of the change in the Soviet Union. Neither of these can be reduced to a 'state' effect: they were influences of global economic and cultural relations on the Soviet and eastern European economies and cultures, to a considerable extent independent of the actions of Western states. Indeed one of the most fundamental reasons for the crisis of the Soviet system and the 'triumph' of the West was clearly the much greater impact of society on Western states, compared to the apparent insulation of Stalinist regimes from societal influences.
Equally important was the impact which societal influences on Western states had on international relations. This occurred in ways not always consistent with the triumphalist vision of Western ideologists. This can be seen most clearly in the contribution of peace movements in Western Europe in the early 1980s to a loosening of the North Atlantic alliance. These social movements, arising within Western states and in opposition to dominant policies, clearly influenced the whole climate of debate and policy-formation. Although in the short term (in 1981-83) the peace movements were clearly defeated in their immediate objective of preventing cruise missile deployment, in the longer term their ideology of pan-European peace and disarmament paved the way for the European dimension of Gorbachev's reform movement. Moreover the 'zero option' on intermediate nuclear weapons, proposed by Reagan to head off the peace movements, was picked up by Gorbachev and became, ironically, the basis for US-Soviet agreements. At the same time, the greater autonomy of Western European states within NATO encouraged the more European and reform-minded communists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (for example in Hungary) to try to move their parties towards more independent positions beyond the Cold War.
The example of the peace movements in the West also played an important part in developments in the East. The Western movements helped stimulate small, more courageous unofficial peace and human rights groupings in eastern Europe, many of whose activists were to play a part in the East German and Czechoslovak revolutions of 1989. The peace movements were a most important cutting edge of the re-emergence of civil society in Communist states. This development, in turn, reflected deep social changes which had formed, throughout the Eastern bloc, educated intelligentsias excluded from power.
Complex societal and state pressures, working their way through to the international system, thus prepared the way for Gorbachev and the crisis of the Soviet system, and in turn for the end of the Cold War. There was therefore a critical interaction of what would conventionally be defined as 'social' and 'international' changes, in the processes which led to the end of the Cold War. We can define this dialectic of civil society and the international system as, from a more developed theoretical perspective, the interrelationship of two major constellations within global society.
This interaction can also be seen in the actual events which led to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The decisive initiatives which led to this event came, from 1985 onwards, from the top level of the Soviet state. It was also crucial that, once it became clear that Gorbachev really meant business, his disarmament proposals received an increasingly positive response from the United States and most Western European states. Equally importantly, his example in initiating reform within the Soviet state undermined the Stalinist system everywhere in Europe. It is difficult now to credit how Honecker and Jakes (the Stalinist leaders of East Germany and Czechoslovakia respectively), for example, imagined they could stand against this tide. That they did meant that Gorbachev had to play a direct part in signalling their departure, for example during East Germany's ill-fated fortieth anniversary celebrations in October 1989.
Gorbachev, nevertheless, while he willed the fall of Honecker, hardly intended the instant reunification of Germany and the complete dissolution of Communism in Europe. This draws our attention to the fact that while states can control much of the process of change, they are ultimately subject to a much wider array of social forces. Gorbachev, from 1989 to 1991, seemed increasingly like the captain of a large and unwieldy old tanker, tossing in seas so turbulent that he could be washed overboard - his ship eventually breaking up and sinking. That no Gorbachev-type leader appeared in East Germany or Czechoslovakia meant that the people had to go on the streets, their unprecedentedly peaceful revolutions toppling the regimes and breaching the Wall. The totalitarian autonomy of Ceaucescu meant that reformers in Romania could only take power as a result of a bloody popular revolt. These interventions of the people were repeated in varying forms all over the Soviet Union, in the democratic and national movements of the Ukraine and Georgia as well as the Baltic states, and in Russia itself, in the events leading up to the unsuccessful coup of August 1991 and the end of Communism.
The effects of these wider societal interventions in the state, internationally as well as domestically, are not all unequivocally benign. The internationalism of the end of the Cold War is matched by the resurgent nationalisms of half a continent. On the other hand, however, the positive effects on international relations of the East German and Czechoslovak revolutions are difficult to gainsay. Prepared by the dramatic changes at state level under Gorbachev, these social movements were nevertheless an essential and defining moment of the transition from the Cold War to the new international situation in which, as we have suggested, big wars between major powers are increasingly unthinkable.
Social forces in post-Cold War international relations
As well as accounting for the process of change, a theory of the state needs to describe and explain the emerging new international situation itself. Of course, terms like 'order' and 'system' imply a concept of stability and equilibrium. It is extremely doubtful that the new international situation can involve anything like the relative simplicity of the bipolar world at its most stable. For many years, analysts have described the changes in the international system in terms of growing fragmentation and complexity, with the gradual break-up of blocs and the emergence of additional regional powers (not to mention the proliferation of nonstate actors). Now that the framework of blocs has been removed (almost), it is unrealistic to expect a new simplification. International relations may abhor a vacuum and seek a new hegemony, but this may be easier to call for than to define. One at least of the old superpowers is still alive and kicking, although the hegemony of the USA is still clearly in historic decline.
Expectations of a definitively new order have rested on the possibility of an over-arching alliance of the US, Europe (notably Germany) and Japan with the Soviet Union: a 'superbloc' of the industrial world which would dominate the divided regions of the 'developing world' and breathe new life into international institutions. The relatively united response, under clear US leadership, to the Gulf crisis in 1990-91 seemed a clear indication of this direction. The promise has been that (as within the European Community, where economic cooperation has helped inhibit old military rivalries) a 'security community' will be formed, among whose members the resort to war will become increasingly unthinkable, and the development of common military and political policies towards the rest of the world will become the norm.
It is conceivable that, despite conflicting economic interests which will make it extremely problematic and uneven at times, such a process may take place. Much of the old 'Third World' may acquiesce in it, in many situations, because of its close dependence on the great northern powers. But there are formidable regional rivalries which can issue in war, as the Middle East continues to demonstrate; and the continuing shifts of global population, productivity and military power which may be expected in the first half of the twenty-first century will make the mere 'containment' of the South, however powerful the bloc ranged against it, a very difficult business.
Only a much more radical restructuring of the international order than Western interests may contemplate, to allow for the development of the South and the representation of its interests in a genuinely global community, will ultimately guarantee a new and lasting stability. This process could be both threatened and assisted by internal transformation of nation-states. The democratization of China, for example, with its billion plus people, could be a tremendously positive process, but it could also pose problems for international order just as acute as the implosion of the Soviet Union. Indeed, one can go further and say that even the most positive changes in international relations and national political regime can have acutely dangerous effects, as raised expectations generate rapid and often unforeseen socio-political responses.
The dark underside of the new instability, and the malignant potential of the interaction of emerging civil society with international change, can be seen quite clearly in many developments of the early 1990s. In the Caucasusian republics of the former Soviet state, as well as in former Yugoslavia, the collapse of Communism has led to new nationalist wars. In a crisis which is more than just the break-up of an empire, or even of a political and ideological system, but a crisis of the entire global state and political systems, new forms of nationalism flourish. When civil societies are beginning to emerge after decades or even centuries of suppression, the more sophisticated forms of Western liberal-, social- and christian-democratic ideologies are not easily developed. Their roots have often proved to be much weaker than those of nationalisms rooted in historic ethnicities, which are effective vehicles for those most ambitious for state power. The collapse of state structures, once the underpinnings of the Cold War have been removed,
has often been swift, in a process which has spread beyond Europe - particularly to countries like Somalia and Angola, former African foci of East-West rivalry.
These negative effects of social forces such as ethnic nationalisms in international relations are important to the theoretical debate because some see their greater intrusion as inherently destabilising. Lawrence Freedman, for example, could claim prophetic insight for his warning to the European peace movements, issued more than a decade ago, that they threatened to destabilize the international order. He expressed a concern to prevent the bipolar system being replaced by something worse - which would lead to the world war which the peace movements themselves wished to avoid. His argument contained the assumption that social movements could disrupt the finely balanced relations between states, bringing disorder into an imperfect but nevertheless ordered system.
It is clear that in an obvious sense Freedman was right. Complex social movements do introduce instability into interstate relations, not only because there are more actors, but because the relations of social forces to conventional state actors are generally less clearly regulated than those between states themselves. In a more fundamental sense, however, Freedman's approach was limited. Since the state-system exists in the context of global society, social movements of many kinds will inevitably influence the international system, and their actions (just like those of states) can have both positive and negative effects. Any valid conception of world order in the post-Cold War era must be based on more than a new set of relations between states. It must also include civil societies in a way which states (and international relations theorists) have been reluctant to in the past.
Theoretical directions in the new global context
Earlier in this chaper we discussed how the sociological perspectives on state and society, which we examined in chapter 2, had entered the debate in international relations. We noted, however, the tensions in this incorporation of sociology, and argued that the sociological contribution itself needed radical development. This need has been underlined by the implications of the new global and international situation, some of whose dimensions we have discussed in this chapter.
Clearly many of the concepts developed by social theorists have been of a very general character, and give us few specific directions in which to take analysis. Nevertheless their meaning for contemporary developments can generally be deduced. Mann polemically argued, for example, that 'class politics and geopolitics are separable' and the historical linkage 'between national and international class struggles can (and should) be rendered obsolete'. He is dealing however with one sort of social input into international relations, the role of social-systemic differences. What he is referring to is the reified 'class' struggle of 'capitalism versus socialism', rather than the real class struggles of say, Soviet miners or French farmers and the ways in which these may connect with international relations.
Debate can take place about the extent to which the end of the Cold War, like the Cold War itself, resulted from such a conflict of social systems. Halliday argues that the coincidence of the demise of communism and the end of the Cold War clearly demonstrates the 'inter-systemic' character of the conflict. Thompson, in contrast, argues again for seeing the Cold War as a 'system' of relationships between adversary states - and their societies. It is not hard to see the limitations of this debate: the Cold War was both a system which conditioned the existence of separate socio-economic systems in the two halves of Europe, and was conditioned by the differences of these two systems. The extended Stalinist system of 1945-90 was, after all, a product not of social revolutions in Eastern Europe, but of geopolitics. The Soviet Union imposed its system on Eastern Europe in order to create a defensive buffer, in actions which helped trigger the Cold War and it sustained its satellites because of the Cold War. In turn, however, the social and political system of the satellites proved to be the Achilles' heel not just of the Soviet 'system' but of the Cold War 'system' as a whole. As Thompson argues, the emergence of social forces such as peace movements, opposed to both the Stalinist social system and to the Cold War international order, was of critical importance.
In a broader sense, then, Mann's argument for the separation of geopolitics and social relations cannot be sustained, and it weakens the necessary contribution of sociology to the understanding of international relations. Giddens' approach would appear at first sight to be almost as limited, in its apparent failure to allow for the role of social conflict in international relations. The argument that what we have is a world of warring nation-states, whose administrative power is ever increasing the surveillance and pacification of societies, would not appear to be supported by the success of revolutions in breaking up the Soviet empire and the Cold War, leading to a new international unity among the states of the industrialized world.
The problem of Giddens' concepts, however, would appear to be partly their level of generality. They are simply not specific enough to deal with changes of the kind which we are discussing. It is not difficult though to see how his argument could be developed to take account of recent changes. The problem with the Soviet system, it could be suggested, was the insufficiently modern nature of the state. Neither the multinational Soviet empire, nor the satellite states which each lacked a genuinely national character, were properly nation-states. Partly because of this, these states manifested a traditional rather than a modern balance between physical coercion and surveillance, as means of maintaining internal order.
Military power, which according to Giddens is almost exclusively an external means of power for modern nation-states, was for the Stalinist states a vital means of suppressing social unrest (as shown by the depressingly repetitive responses to eastern European revolts from the l950s to the 1980s). The crude coercion of the labour camps, political prisons and even the psychiatric wards was a long way from the sophisticated surveillance of the most advanced western states, which is Giddens' model.
From this sort of perspective, the Eastern European revolutions and the reform-fragmentation process in the Soviet union can be seen as transformations of modernity, assisting the consolidation of modern nation-states. 'All previous revolutions have only succeeded in building up the state machine', wrote Marx in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was also to be true, despite Marx's expectation to the contrary, of the proletarian revolution - in Russia and elsewhere. It may now be true of the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, in Gidden's sense of the achievement of modern nation-states with effective administrative power leading to more balanced surveillance of societies.
This discussion highlights the ambiguities of 'surveillance' as a concept with which to grasp the relationship between society and the state. Clearly it can be read in a one-sided sense, as a new, less physically coercive but nevertheless wholly oppressive form of state power. Giddens also suggests, however, that the development of surveillance is related to democratization (as it clearly is in the extension we have made to Eastern Europe). Modern nation-states also involve a more genuine balance between society and the state, in which society is able to influence state forms. Surveillance may actually be the price of social reform, and involve the creation of institutions able to monitor social inequalities and achieve social change within the nation-state framework. 'Underprivileged groups', as Giddens argues, 'have many opportunities to actualise sources of countervailing power'.
Even the peaceful revolutions of 1989 can have a place in such a Giddensian scenario. Clearly this was a moment of great tension: Leipzig, Berlin or Prague could have gone the way of Tiananmen Square. The tanks which Honecker ordered to be used, Jakes would like to have used and Ceaucescu did use against the demonstrators (before they were turned against him), could have left a much bloodier trail across eastern Europe. The 'velvet revolution' was a fragile achievement, but it was achieved nonetheless, and its success is a portent. This unique moment, in which the ruled opted entirely for peaceful protest, and the rulers (thanks to Gorbachev, and excluding Romania) gave in without significant violence, is testimony to the positive side of pacification, as Giddens describes it. The achievement of fundamental political change, of a genuine revolution, without violence, is welcome confirmation of this side of the modern nation-state. That Gorbachev, in his attempt to create such a state in the Soviet Union, clearly identified the need to avoid military violence as a way of solving even such fundamental issues as the survival of communism, bears witness to the association of the modern state with pacification.
Even more interesting, from the point of view of international relations, is that the eastern European revolutions brought about not an increased danger of war but an unprecedented outbreak of peace between the major powers. Skocpol has argued that war is not external, but internal to revolution. War is often, if not usually, a condition for revolution, and revolution in turn almost always involves war.
The first side of this formula was partially met in that the militarized character of the Stalinist states was a major contributor to their downfall; they were largely the products of war, and the Cold War had helped to freeze their political forms. Military competition with the West was certainly an important part of their socio-economic crisis, just as the costs of war had weighed heavily on ancien regime France and Tsarist Russia (leading as Skocpol shows to their classical revolutions).
The second part of the equation was not met, however, because of the different international context in which the revolutions occurred. Classical revolutions - from the French, Russian and Chinese, which Skocpol discusses, to the Iranian (which invited, so to speak, the Iraqi invasion of 1980 and the bloodiest war of recent times) have always destabilized the international order. Instability has always equated with war. The peaceful revolutions of Eastern Europe, however, emerged from Gorbachev's project of reforming international relations, and their leaders supported this project. At the primary inter-state levels, of relations between the major powers and between the main Eastern and Western European states, these revolutions therefore accentuated rather than contradicted the development of a peaceful international order. Instability there has been in these inter-state relations, but of a kind which has been managed successfully between states.
This raises another area in which Giddens' analysis can be extended. Pacification, as Rosenberg has pointed out, is a process which pertains not only within nation-states bur between them. The picture of internally pacified but externally warring nation-states which Giddens presented was not fully accurate as a description of the post-war world. There was an important extension of surveillance and pacification to interstate relations within both military blocs. Within the US-NATO-Japan axis, and on a lesser scale within the Soviet-Eastern European bloc, war had been eliminated by the new relations of superpower domination resulting from the Second World War.
The Cold War, arms race and surveillance of lesser states were the mechanisms which kept the blocs in place, and (paradoxically) guaranteed an important degree of pacification. East-West competition also involved, as advocates of deterrence argued, the mutual surveillance of the superpowers. Although this was inherently unstable, it is arguable that the precarious international pacification which it involved nevertheless paved the way for a more durable pacification of the core of state-system, which is now developing. All in all, the overall picture still may have been very much as Giddens presented it, but limited international as well as domestic pacification existed within the framework of warfare.
The end of the Cold War raises the prospect of a radical extension of this process, in which surveillance ceases (especially in the East) to be a crude mechanism of superpower domination, and becomes a means of collaboration, mutual monitoring and embryonic global decision-making between somewhat more equal partners. The possibility exists of a new 'European peace order', as Booth describes it: that the whole northern industrialized world will constitute a 'security community', within which war will be as effectively eliminated as it is already within the narrower European Community, or within the old blocs. This can only be achieved by a huge extension of international surveillance. The mechanisms for this are beginning to be created in the development of the United Nations and various regional security frameworks, and in the international regimes on climate control and environmental problems.
The extension of surveillance to the international level raises even more acutely the problem which has already been highlighted: that of democratization and societal inputs. As we have already seen, one fundamental danger of the new international order is a lack of equity between North and South. Another equally important danger is the exclusion of societies, of the people, from a process which is managed between states. International surveillance must become mutual, and more equal, not only between one state and another but also between state-system and global society. The positive contribution of civil society to the end of the Cold War must not be an isolated moment, to be followed by a retreat from international concern which allows states to remonopolize the process. On the contrary, it should be the beginning of extended surveillance of inter-state relations by social groups, movements and parties in a developing global civil society, in order to make international relations accountable to the people.
What this theoretical discourse so far does not take account of is the spread of the new wars in the former USSR and Yugoslavia. The second part of Skocpol's formula may not have been realised in wars between the major powers, or among major European states; it has been realised however in lesser, but still very murderous and destructive wars within these former multinational states. These wars are often described simply as 'civil wars' but, in the most important cases, they have a dual aspect: inter-state wars between the successor states (Armenia-Azerbaijan, Serbia-Croatia), and civil wars between minority ethnic groups and successor states, and between communities (including plural communities as well as ethnically defined groups). Even considered as inter-state wars, the new wars, as wars for territory, are fought by the sucessor states against their own and neighbouring populations as well as against rival states. They are, in a grisly resurrection of some of the worst features of total war, wars of genocide, or in the contemporary euphemism, 'ethnic cleansing'.
These situations certainly cast a pall over the early post-Cold War vision of a peaceful northern industrialized world, although they do not alter the transition to post-militarism which is occurring in the pacified core of global society. What these new wars emphasise is that this transition should not be as a vindication of the classical sociological theme of a peaceful industrial society, a victory of sociological utopianism over international relations realism.
This is clear when we consider the circumstances of the very partial global pacification which is occurring. The consolidation of peace is only an outcome of the most horrendous effects of the industrialization of warfare. Only the effects of two world wars, in subordinating most state rivalries within blocs, and of the nuclear arms race in forcing the recognition of the need for a global security order, have brought us precariously to the threshold of a peaceful industrial society. It has been not the automatic effects of scientific and technological or socio-economic rationality, but the twisted results of their utilisation in international conflict, which have forced the issue. The social foundation of international cooperation in production, which theorists as diverse as Comte and Marx stressed, is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of peace: it requires definite state forms, at an international and well as national level, to achieve it. The new wars emphasise how far we are from fully reaching adequate state forms on a global level.
If neither realism nor utopianism on its own offers solutions, there may be a case, as Giddens has argued, for 'utopian realism', which looks beyond the horizons of warring nation-states. Such an approach, it is clear, requires an integration of sociology and international relations in understanding the relations between societies and states. These disciplines, however, must be prepared to recognize each other's diversity. There has been a tendency, in the appropriation of sociology by international relations to see the former as more unified than it actually is: it is to be hoped that this book conveys something of the debate within sociology which is needed to make the discipline relevant to the new international situation.
Sociologists may of course fall (indeed this essay may have done) into the parallel danger of over-unifying international relations approaches. It is probably the case that sociology can provide only part of the infrastructure for a new approach to international relations; its lack of specific expertise, when it enters into the international arena, has been apparent in recent explorations. International relations theory must itself generate new synthetic approaches, which do more than integrate societies in a subordinate role into a perspective centred on the state system. Rosenau's argument for a 'conceptual jailbreak' from the categories of international relations, leading to the identification of 'postinternational politics' as a new object of study, is the sort of development which promises to break down the divisions between international relations, political science and sociology in studying the interaction of transnational, national and subnational politics.
In this approach, the rigidities of both national and international politics are seen as dissolving in a new flux, indeed 'turbulence' of global and societal relationships. States may survive, limping along, buffeted by internal and external forces that drive the norms, habits and practices relevant to their capacities for cooperation to the brink of transformation, and yet managing to persist, sometimes resisting the tides of change and sometimes astride them, but with few exceptions retaining sufficient legitimacy to sustain their essential structures and undertake collective action.
States, then, remain central actors in world politics, but their interactions are surrounded and complemented by the ever more important interventions of transnational and subnationat actors. The argument for seeing world politics as a whole, in the context of global society, in which the 'international' is only one and an increasingly subordinate part, opens the door to a new kind of study of the global social and political system. In this conception the post-international replaces the international as the context of study, and the approach is not merely multidisciplinary, but in an important sense supradisciplinary.