Further Back to the Future? A Reply to Foreign Minister Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov created quite a stir when he withdrew his article “Containing Russia: Back to the Future?” from publication in Foreign Affairs and submitted its uncensored version to Russia in Global Affairs. In that article he lamented what looks to be a return of a Cold War mentality in some U.S. foreign policy circles. He argues that we should bring back a pre-World War I system of states based on the Westphalian model.

In his essay in International Journal on World Peace, (September, 2007) Morton A. Kaplan argues that this discussion of the international system is an important one. He too laments any belligerent Cold War attitudes but argues that the solution will not be in going further back in history to go forward. Kaplan argues that the world has changed much and a Westphalian system is no longer possible or desirable. The United Nations, which presupposes such a system of sovereign states, must also be reformed to adjust to numerous levels of global interaction that place limits on state sovereignty.


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