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Dynamics among Nations

by Hilton L. Root

Liberal internationalism has been the West's foreign policy agenda since the ColdWar, and the West has long occupied the top rung of a hierarchical system. In this book, Hilton Rootargues that international relations, like other complex ecosystems, exists in a constantly shiftinglandscape, in which hierarchical structures are giving way to systems of networked interdependence,changing every facet of global interaction. Accordingly, policymakers will need a new way tounderstand the process of change. Root suggests that the science of complex systems offers ananalytical framework to explain the unforeseen development failures, governance trends, and allianceshifts in today's global political economy. Root examines both the networkedsystems that make up modern states and the larger, interdependent landscapes they share. Usingsystems analysis -- in which institutional change and economic development are understood asself-organizing complexities -- he offers an alternative view of institutional resilience andpersistence. From this perspective, Root considers the divergence of East and West; the emergence ofthe European state, its contrast with the rise of China, and the network properties of theirrespective innovation systems; the trajectory of democracy in developing regions; and the systemicimpact of China on the liberal world order. Complexity science, Root argues, will not explainhistorical change processes with algorithmic precision, but it may offer explanations that match themessy richness of those processes.

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