After the Cold War: Essays on the Emerging World Order.


KEITH PHILIP LEPOR, ed., After the Cold War: Essays on the Emerging World Order (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997), 344 pp. $34.95 cloth (ISBN 0-292-74693-8).

Keith Philip Lepor assembles one of the most compelling, intriguing, and enlightening series of essays ever written on the international arena in the post--cold war era. As editor of this volume, Lepor brings together twenty world leaders to generate an analytical discussion of "the emerging world order." With the destruction of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1991, new issues and problems began to emerge as viable concerns in the international system. While some scholars perceived these vast changes as sources of optimism and as a catalyst for establishing a new and positive world order, Lepor instead cites that "while the Cold War may be over between the United States and the Russian Federation, as the successor state to the former Soviet Union, the world in many ways has become a much more dangerous and unpredictable place" (p. xxx). It is from this premise that Lepor proceeds, stating that the essays amassed in his book address the problems and future course of the international system. His goal is to bring insight and analysis to the widely used concept of the "new world order" and to examine vital questions as to whether we are beginning to witness the breakdown of the international system and whether the nation-state has outlived its usefulness, to name a few.

The foreword, written by Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, former president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, serves as a brilliant preface to the selections and topics found throughout the book. In his essay, former President Gorbachev outlines several positive shifts in the international system involving the end of confrontation between military alliances, more democratic and homogenous international relations, the slowdown and reversal of the arms buildup, the decline and collapse of the few remaining totalitarian and militaristic regimes, and the settlement of several regional conflicts. However, he is also notably concerned with the path that the international system is taking and identifies several global challenges such as interdependence, nuclear danger, environmental crisis, and society's moral decline. As a world figure, Gorbachev states that "the current state of world affairs, and the state of the Earth we inhabit, give no cause for optimism," as "crises are developing everywhere," and "we face above all else, the challenge of interdependence" (p. xvi). He also favors enhancing the role of the United Nations, although the original UN charter needs certain amendments and provisions to make it a world organization able to handle the challenges of the next century. In other words, "the United Nations needs a concept of action, of if you will, a comprehensive strategy of global partnership" (p. xvii). Although the arms buildup has been declining, former President Gorbachev cites the need for further cuts in nuclear weapons culminating in their eventual...

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