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[I am postponing the discussion since I don't think I will be able to devote enough time and do justice to the topic. I will pick a more reasonable date once I have some clarity of my schedule. Sorry for those who had signed up.]
The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present
by Mark Mazower
From the Economist: Gone are the days when representatives of transnational clubs such as the EU enjoyed special regard in foreign-policy circles, simply by embodying a form of governance that rose above the selfishness of the nation state. Nor is the United Nations in brilliant shape, as Chinese and Russian vetoes at the Security Council block robust UN action to stop the massacres in Syria. This is, then, a brave moment to bring out a book devoted to the history of international governance, from 1815 to the present day.
From the Wall St. Journal: If [this] focus on the dark side of international norms and institutions is another of the book's strengths, it is also responsible for some of its greatest weaknesses. According to Mr. Mazower, for example, the 19th-century origins of international law were deeply influenced by a self-serving, arbitrary distinction between civilized and uncivilized nations—one that had the not-so-subtle aim of justifying Europe's brutal rule over its colonies. This is no doubt right. But to conclude that the fledging discipline of international law "translated into the massacres, aerial bombings, and systematic detentions that characterized European imperialism" is to put the cart before the horse.
Another detailed review: ‘The idea of governing the world is becoming yesterday’s dream’ . By the sound of Mark Mazower’s concluding sentence, one gets the inkling that the general tone of his latest book is rather pessimistic. One would be both right and wrong. This superb bookis much more than just the history of the failed idea of governing the world. It is, in fact,a prime example of how to combine the history of ideas with the history of institutions.What did the idea of a world government promote if not a series of organizations devoted to governing the world?