This chapter turns to domestic developments within states. The ambition of world order today is to provide the good life for all people, as emphasized in the Millennium Declaration. In order to assess whether those conditions are present or not, international relations are important but we cannot merely look at international relations; we must also focus on domestic developments because the prospects for ordinary people deeply depend on the conditions inside the states where they live their lives. It is the interplay between international and domestic developments which determines what kind of world order we have at any given time. In relation to the overall debate between liberals and realists, this chapter is a warning against an overemphasis on liberal optimism. Many students of world order disregard domestic developments and focus only on international relations. But what states can do in international relations depends heavily on domestic conditions. If the home front is in order, with an effective and well-functioning political system, a contented and relatively well-to-do population and a sound national economy, states are free to focus on the international sphere.
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