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Grand Strategies

Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order

CHARLES HILL
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by:
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nq2n7
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  • Book Info
    Grand Strategies
    Book Description:

    "The international world of states and their modern system is a literary realm," writes Charles Hill in this powerful work on the practice of international relations. "It is where the greatest issues of the human condition are played out."

    A distinguished lifelong diplomat and educator, Hill aims to revive the ancient tradition of statecraft as practiced by humane and broadly educated men and women. Through lucid and compelling discussions of classic literary works from Homer to Rushdie,Grand Strategiesrepresents a merger of literature and international relations, inspired by the conviction that "a grand strategist . . . needs to be immersed in classic texts from Sun Tzu to Thucydides to George Kennan, to gain real-world experience through internships in the realms of statecraft, and to bring this learning and experience to bear on contemporary issues."

    This fascinating and engaging introduction to the basic concepts of the international order not only defines what it is to build a civil society through diplomacy, justice, and lawful governance but also describes how these ideas emerge from and reflect human nature.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16593-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS BOOK
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. PROLOGUE: BOOKS OF THE RED CHAMBER
    (pp. 1-8)

    Late on the morning of February 21, 1972, I listened at my desk in the American Embassy Saigon to Armed Forces Radio Vietnam’s relay of an announcer describing the arrival of President Nixon in Beijing. I had been a Foreign Service “China watcher” through the horren dous years of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, when Chairman Mao sent thousands of young Red Guards out to burn books and put an end to China’s traditional culture. After my diplomatic reporting on the Cultural Revolution I had been assigned to wartime Vietnam under a general instruction to look for indications that China...

  5. 1 CLASSICAL ORDERS
    (pp. 9-48)

    Look at Rembrandt’sAristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer. What is he contemplating? How to convey the matters of war and peace, of strategy and humanity, found in Homer’sIliadandOdysseyto Aristotle’s pupil Alexander. Homer’s face and sightless eyes give no clue. Aristotle’s gaze is off into space. His right hand touches Homer’s head, while his left fingers the chain that carries a pendant engraved with the head of Alexander the Great, whose expression we cannot make out. We can imagine the thoughts and words of Homer running like an electric current up to and through the mind...

  6. 2 CREATIVE DISORDER
    (pp. 49-72)

    There being no universal world government, the “vast external realm” has been regarded as anarchic and ungoverned, yet all regions and times have produced large-scale systems through which polities relate to one another. In 1887, in a low brick room at Tel al-Amarna, a peasant woman stumbled upon an archive of documents relating to the foreign affairs of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) revealing intensive diplomatic contacts among the great powers of the time. A mixed language scholars called Amarnaic served as a diplomatic lingua franca among Egypt, Babylonia, the Hittites, the Canaanites, Mittani (Syria), and other states. The international system for...

  7. 3 SOURCES OF MODERN WORLD ORDER
    (pp. 73-87)

    “War is the father of all things” the pre-Socratic thinker Heraclitus said. Out of the Thirty Years’ War that ravaged Europe from 1618 to 1648 came the elements of the international state system that has shaped world affairs in our time. The war’s losses, in proportion to Europe’s population, exceeded the fifty million of the Second World War. Such horrors brought internationally significant steps: “laws” to constrain the conduct of war, an understanding that religion should be removed as a cause of conflict, and the idea of the state as the basic entity of international affairs. The concept of balance...

  8. 4 WHAT KIND OF STATE?
    (pp. 88-117)

    Thinkers and writers in England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries provided a rich array of substantive concepts for what was taking shape as an international state system: the idea of “the social contract” as the foundation of state governance and a way to tame power, the beginning of the end of the “divine right” to rule, the idea of religious freedom, the importance of “grand strategy,” and inquiry into the positive and negative attributes of a variety of kinds of governance within a state.

    When Daniel Defoe’s fictional cavalier left the German battlefields of the Thirty Years’ War...

  9. 5 ENLIGHTENMENT: CRITIQUE OF DIPLOMACY, STATE, AND SYSTEM
    (pp. 118-133)

    The Enlightenment drew a line across history. From then on, everything would be “modern.” This would require rethinking and rewriting the Westphalian system. If the international state system was born at Westphalia in 1648, a second transition came at the end of the eighteenth century with the Age of the Enlightenment in response to religion-driven conflicts like the Thirty Years’ War. Philosophy, rational inquiry, scientific standards of progress, toleration, and secular politics were to displace “superstition,” the primary cause of mankind’s self-imposed immaturity, as Kant put it. With this came “critique”—reason contesting against reason to challenge the foundations of...

  10. 6 AMERICA: A NEW IDEA
    (pp. 134-176)

    The discovery and settlement of the New World forced changes to some key assumptions about world order and relations among states. The European encounter with other peoples raised an idea of universal human nature, and the encounter with nature forced hierarchy to give way to equality. The struggle to control new lands had to take some account of the global balance of power and international state system, producing fresh thought about liberty and democracy. The New World invited a major rethinking of the enterprise of “founding,” of the form that a polity should take, and the political substance that should...

  11. 7 DISORDER AND WAR
    (pp. 177-231)

    The Enlightenment opened the Age of Revolution. To Rousseau, war is revolution’s first step because aggressors will never cede power peacefully. Oppression is itself a form of war; revolutionary war to defeat it is therefore the only path to peace. Revolutionary ideologies reject state borders and sovereignty and are universal in scope. In this sense, every major war of the modern age may be seen as an effort to destroy the established international system and replace it with an alternative world order based on an alternative ideology.

    The international state system was massively threatened by revolutionary ideology. The French Revolution...

  12. 8 THE IMPORTED STATE
    (pp. 232-281)

    As soon as the Minister’s Cadillac arrived at the head of a long motorcade the hunters dashed this way and that and let off their last shots, throwing their guns about with frightening freedom. The dancers capered and stamped, filling the dry-season air with dust. . . . The Minister stepped out wearing damask and gold chains and acknowledging cheers with his ever-present fan of animal skin which they said fanned away all evil designs and shafts of malevolence thrown at him by the wicked.

    This scene occurs in Chinua Achebe’sA Man of the People. As he concludes his...

  13. 9 THE WRITER AND THE STATE
    (pp. 282-292)

    The grave of Hermann Broch, in a cemetery in the pleasant southern Connecticut town of Killingworth, is a strange yet fitting symbol of a life in the ravaged twentieth century. The author of “one of the major literary works of the century,” the “last great achievement of European literary modernism,” Broch, born in Vienna in 1886 and at one time “a captain of industry,” fled the Nazi rise in 1938.¹ Coming to the United States an impoverished outsider, he would search unsuccessfully for an academic place to continue his work until Henry Seidel Canby, a Yale professor and a founder...

  14. EPILOGUE: TALLEYRAND AND EVERYTHING ELSE
    (pp. 293-298)

    Robert Calasso’sThe Ruin of Kaschis an attempted epic of literature and statecraft, asummathat touches upon much that is spread across the pages of this book: diplomacy, the state, and statecraft. The consensus of reviewers has been that there is “no take-away thesis,” but this misses the logic chain ofKasch. Like Joyce’sUlysses, Calasso’sKaschis meant for a reader’s lifetime of concentrated effort, so any clear-sounding line of thought extracted from it must be a distortion. Nevertheless,Kaschsuggests that Westphalian structures have been hollowed out by the corrosive rationalism of modernity and that the...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 299-324)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 325-343)
  17. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 344-346)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 347-368)