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Thank you for inviting me to address such an important and far-reaching subject. While we have arrived at what President Bush has called "a defining moment of history," we are still a long way from a popular consensus on a "new international system" or "world order."
The stunning changes, both within and among nations, that we are all experiencing will focus the minds of historians for generations to come. But we, who are living through these momentous times, do not have the historian's advantage in predicting events after they have happened.
Together we must tackle the immediate challenge of shaping the transition to a more cooperative world community, despite many uncertainties, in the hope of achieving peace and security in all regions. Defining the new international system is beyond the wisdom and authority of any one leader or nation. First, there needs to be a much broader understanding and agreement about the changing nature of relations among states, developments within states, and the rapidly blurring lines of their domestic and foreign affairs. Traditional definitions of national and international security are also in great flux.
Regional and World Order
Before rushing headlong into the future, let us reflect for a moment on what history has taught us about previous attempts to establish regimes of regional and world order. Until now, mankind really has experienced only two basic alternatives.
* The first, and most prevalent, has been domination: a state or group overpowers and rules others. This model has engendered demands for liberty, whether the stakes were material (such as land, resources, and other forms of wealth) or intangible (religious or cultural freedom). I need not dwell on the painful lessons of such regimes, particularly in a region less than two generations free of colonial rule.
* The second model, balance of power, was based on the concept of equilibrium rather than dominance. It currently is enjoying a burst of renewed interest among scholars and some statesmen, notably former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Variations of the balance-of-power system prevailed in Europe from roughly 1648 to 1914. Three conditions sustained it: recognition of the rights of sovereignty, the creation of modern diplomatic institutions appropriate for serious bargaining among states, and the restrained use of warfare as an instrument of national policy rather than as a means of establishing domination.
For balance of power to work, a clash over basic values, which by their very nature were non-negotiable, and the unrestricted accumulation of power by one state had to be avoided. A disastrous combustion of industrialization, political mass mobilization, and the unchecked concentration of state power and territorial ambitions finally shattered the system and produced the two most devastating wars in history. Even when it functioned well in Europe, the balance-of-power regime sanctioned cruel imperial conquests of vast areas, including Central Africa.
The bipolar regime, that followed the Second World War and has prevailed throughout all of our professional lives, has been an uneasy hybrid of the balance-of-power and domination models, with …