We began with the claim that the division between liberal optimists and sceptical realists is the major fault line in the debate about world order. For liberals, the future looks bright: liberal political and economic values are increasingly dominant and that makes for a cooperative world based on common values and aspirations. For realists, anarchy remains a core feature of the international system; in a context of several emerging powers this points to intensified conflict and rivalry, even interstate war. Additional theoretical positions were surveyed in Chapter 1; they make several contributions to the debate but the liberal and realist positions define the overarching theme in the discussion of world order.
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