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SUMMARY AND COMMENTARIES ON THE EVOLUTION OF WORLD POLITICS From the book International Politics on the World Stage,

12e, John T. Rourke1

SUMMARY The book divides the evolution of world politics into three major periods: Early Development, which includes Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome periods, and periods after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the Eighteen and Nineteenth Centuries The Twentieth Century, dubbed the evolving world system The Twenty-First Century, dubbed the genesis of a new system

A. Early Development In general, this period is divided into three further detailed periods. While it spans a very wide period, yet changes have evolved slowly. In the Ancient Greece and Rome periods, it is said that four important political characteristics were seen during these periods. The characteristics are: Territorial state. During these periods (especially during the existence of the Greek city-states) territories were first defined as political entities. The definition of political entity itself brings consequences: the feeling of (at least permanent) ownership of the land, and the presence of citizenship and laws regulating it. Sovereignty. Sovereignty implies there are no legitimate higher authorities above the city-state abovementioned, either secular or religious. Nationalism. Nationalism here was the feeling of identification by citizens of the Greek city-states upon their polis, as said by Aristotle, Man is an animal of the polis. Democracy. Peoples democracy in times of Athena was thinking of being not the subjects of a certain ruler, but as citizens who were actively involved in guiding their polis (Sherman & Salisbury, 2004:56).

John T. Rourke, International Politics on the World Stage, 12th Edition (New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2008).

The development continues with the period after the fall of Roman Empire, which spanned 1,300 years. To specify, this long span is divided into some detailed factors: The presence of Universal Authority during the Middle Ages, in which an authority exercised complete control over a certain territory and people. The presence of this authority is defined into two kinds of authority: Religious Authority, which was practiced by mainly the Roman Catholic Church, that had power over the known world (i.e. Europe), underlying the basics of European Civilization (among them the Latin language), had power so immense that many kings are theoretically under the hand of the Pope. Other than that, the Secular Authority also spanned many empires such as the Chinese Empire, the British Empire, the French Empire, and so on, which had no relations whatsoever to the Church (the kings were said to had received their authority from God). The presence of Local Authority, also in the Middle Ages. This kind of authority is often known as feudalism. While there was a king over a large area of land, there are masters of land who controlled certain, small parts of that land, as vassals of the monarch. Yet they were quite autonomous, sometimes even more powerful than the monarch. Later, those feudal system were declining due to two major forces: military technology, that diminished the ability of the feudal fiefdoms to defend themselves; and economic expansion which is contributed by improvements in trade (the founding of new trade routes), and mass production with the flourish of primitive factories. Both factors made feudal fiefdoms obsolete in contributions toward a certain state, making it useless in terms of defense and economics. Finally, the whole universal authority declined, especially during and after the period of cultural and intellectual rebirth known as the Renaissance. The outcome, in relation to the authority exercised by the Roman Catholic Church was the Protestant Reformation, triggered by, among many, Martin Luther and Henry VIII, who rejected the authority of the Pope. One of the highlights of this factor is the presence of the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended a long struggle between the Catholic Holy Roman Empire and the Protestants. This treaty was said to mark the birth of the modern nation state.

Yet while the feudal system toppled, state was not yet the main actor in international politics. Yet there are experimentations in looking on which form to be done. One form was the revival of city-states, such as the one in Venice. The other was the formation of confederations. The final stage of development in this period was within the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Only after these periods sovereign states gained the prominence of being the primary actor of the international system. Within this stage there were three themes: The advent of popular sovereignty, under which for the first time the people believe that they are subjects, not citizens. While initially people thought that the state belonged to the monarch, the emergence of popular sovereignty gave birth to nationalism, which gave people more identification to the state. The Westernization of the international system, derived from the domination of the western world, especially caused by scientific and technological advances ever since Renaissance in Europe, which later gave birth to industrial revolution. However, this industrialization also promoted colonialism and imperialism throughout the world, especially by the Europeans. The growth of the multipolar system. Within the 19th century alone there were some major powers known as power poles, among them Great Britain, France, Prussia, and some others. It was made to keep the balance of power to refrain states from dominating the whole Europe.

B. The Twentieth Century The twentieth century saw the most momentous change compared to any periods of written history. Among them, how the population of the world quadrupled within one single century, how international organizations gained prominence, how number of monarchs went down and elected officials governed sovereign states. Within this one-hundred-year period technological and scientific innovations were unstoppable, from computers to nuclear bombs, from televisions to the Internet. While those inventions solved many problems, it created some other problems. Technologies helped the development of world economy, increased living standards,

while giving bad excess to the world, from deforestation, pollution, and many other things. The eclipse of the Multipolar system marked the twentieth century. The European balance of power from some mighty empires was finally failed, with those empires later polarized into large groups of power and later engaged into wars. Most monarchies were also abolished, many czars, kaisers, and emperors abdicated or toppled off by popular revolutions. In other parts of the world, however, large power started to emerge. United States and Japan tried to gain prominent role in the international system; China, after the abolition of the empire in 1911, tried to place itself into foreign domination. Two major wars also happened in the twentieth century. The World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) were regarded as tragedies with huge proportions. Yet only after the World War II the multipolar system of Europe was finally destroyed, replaced by a bipolar system placing the Western European countries with the United States facing the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR. Finally, both United States and the Soviet Union formed alliances all over the world, dividing the world into two antagonistic spheres in what became known as Cold War, a conflict without involving any arms. Within this Cold War was the mutual fear of nuclear war, peaked on one occurrence at the Cuban missile crisis (1962), in which both countries did directly confront each other. Only after decades 1970s and 1980s relations between Moscow and Washington began to heal again. Reforms were taken by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, yet Communism found itself rapidly deteriorating by the end of 1980s. The destruction of Communism might be the end of the development of world politics in the twentieth century.

C. The Twenty-first Century There are only some changes in polar configuration in the twentieth century. The immediate sight in this twentieth century will be the presence of the unipolarity of the United States, said to be the worlds hegemonic power, possessing power far beyond any other power. However, it is realized that by being a hegemon does not make the United States the leader of everything. One explanation is that being a

hegemon does not mean that other states are powerless, on the contrary, there is an urge on multipolarity. The urge of multipolarity is being raised by several states, like France, India, and Russia; however this does not mean that this is an anti-American sentiment, states are only anti-unipolarity. Not only urging on multipolarity, there is also the rise of limited unipolarity, since while it may appear that the United States is holding the strongest power, yet the United States is still heavily relying on many other states. The growing power of non-Western states also gives prominence to the weakening Western orientation of the international system. Many major countries in Asia and Africa, such as China, have achieved enough power to command the international system. These countries are also gaining prominence through international organizations, such as the United Nations. There are also challenges to the authority of the states. Some forces are fragmenting the world, such as the presence of jihad or tribalism. This may lead to some sort of reverse process to pre-Westphalian system of modern sovereign states. Security is also another issue. Terrorism, especially after September 11, 2001 attack, raises awareness on the term asymmetrical warfare. Meanwhile, international security forces also provide alternative approach on global security. The presence of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (UNPKF) is one such example. In economics, there is an increase in economic interdependence. Free trades are becoming more prominent, currencies flow easily across borders, and some economic organizations also help this interdependence to exist, such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and some others. On the other hand, economic development arises the North-South gap. The term North represents the economically developed countries, while the term South represents the less developed countries. Some countries however, are trying to industrialize themselves, putting them in the category newly industrializing countries. While violations of human rights are everywhere still, awareness on the protection of human rights is actually louder and stronger. Awareness upon protection of the environment is also rising, overseeing the need of balancing economic development and environmental protection.

Commentaries While this book have succeeded in elaborating some 3,000 years of evolution of world politics, there are some things that I cannot grasp, or simply not recognized by the author. Among them: 1. While the author recognized Ancient Greece and Rome as the beginning of international system (Rourke 2008, 37), the author failed to recognize other civilizations. One notable miss would be the Ancient Egypt. In a period much earlier than the authors beginning period of 700 B.C. the king Ramses II, otherwise known as Ramses the Great signed what might be the first peace treaty in international system with the King of the Hittites2. This peace treaty might well be the leading example on how to settle a conflict in international system (in this case, an armed conflict between two neighboring states). 2. The author might have been succeeded in overseeing the fact that Athenian democracy was limited on adult male Athenians only (Rourke 2008, 37). Yet by that time, the term democracy (the demos and the kratia) was not the real term. The term isonomia (equality of rights) was also recognized, as the term to equalize power between the rich and the not-so-rich Athenians3. 3. In discussing on the Roman Catholic Churchs religious authority (Rourke 2008, 37), the author have also failed to recognize how the Papal authority shapes the international system. Through its history, the Roman Catholic Church has many political ambitions in reality, at one instance, brought the creation of the State of the Church, otherwise known as Papal States4. It will be very exhaustive to elaborate all the things here, yet how Papal States and its influence in Europe in particular, shaped the role of the today Vatican City State in global politics (especially how the meeting of politics and religion actually works in maintaining peace).
2

PBS, "Egypt's Golden Empire," PBS, March 15, 2006, http://www.pbs.org/empires/egypt/newkingdom/ramesses.html (accessed August 25, 2010). 3 The famous act of Athenian democracy might be the act of ostracism or banishing people from the community for ten years. That was the form of direct democracy in which people directly cast a vote to ostracize people without going through representation. See Nick Ewbank, "The Nature of Athenian Democracy," CLIO History Journal, 2009, http://cliojournal.wikispaces.com/The+Nature+of+Athenian+Democracy (accessed August 25, 2010). 4 Gustav Schnrer, "States of the Church," The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 14, Robert Appleton Company, 1912, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14257a.htm (accessed August 25, 2010).

4. When the author talked about popular sovereignty (Rourke 2008, 41), I say it would be better that it was the diminishing of absolutism. To say that it was the revival of popular sovereignty ever since the Athenian democracy was right, however later in the chapter the author would carelessly mix replacements of monarchies with democracy; although in reality both concepts could run simultaneously. This misconception is later continued in pages 4445. 5. The author tried to draw a parallel over the establishment of the United States and France. However, on my point of view, both countries were established on different background, though with the same revolutionary way. The United States was a British colony, and independent by their own through their Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776. France, however, was a sovereign state under a monarchy, which was absolute and corrupt. The revolution was a regime change, not a movement to be independent from a certain entity. The underline here, however, there should be enough distinction between being democratic and becoming a republic5. Democracy can be implemented into various forms of state, including monarchies. 6. Perhaps, the hardest one to digest is the term Westernization of international system (Rourke 2008, 42). I do not get the concept of being international if the system tends to go to one part of the world. The author thought that it was caused by the advancements of technology and science. However, the author forgot to mention on the advancements that the Eastern world found. The invention of paper, gunpowder, mathematics, algebra, or even simple observatory was done in some Asian countries. Should the whole point be internationalization of western systems? The international system should cover both sides: either Western or Eastern. It is true and realistic however, to say that the international system has been influenced heavily by Western systems, yet the Eastern influence on the international system exists even until now.

The French Revolution of 1789 (i.e. the toppling of King Louis XVI) was followed by the Reign of Terror, clearly not a democracy (called sometimes a radical democracy or the rule by a few). It was a republic, yet not a democratic one. This was the mixing of terms of democracy and republic. See The Columbia Encyclopedia, "French Revolution," Columbia Encyclopedia, 2008, http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/French_Revolution.aspx#1E1-FrenchRe (accessed August 25, 2010).

7. I should say that even if the international system was westernized, the real driving force was not merely scientific and technological advances, but of colonialism and imperialism. It was easy for the Western world to spread the influence since colonialism and imperialism put (with force) the Western system into a third-world system, which later went bottom-up to the whole world anyway. To put it in general, as the historian George Santayana said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, history is important. However, to keep history alive we have to see both sides of the house. In this case, unfortunately the author put a lot of emphasize on the Western influence on the evolution of international system, not looking on how the Eastern world influenced the global politics that we recognize today.

Matthew Hanzel Department of International Relations, 2009 043 2009 0015