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World Order

Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History

By Henry Kissinger
16-minute read
Audio available
World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History by Henry Kissinger

World Order (2014) is a guide to the complex mechanisms that have governed international relations throughout history. These blinks explain how different countries conceive of different world orders and how they are held in balance or brought into conflict.

  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the intricacies of global politics
  • Students of political science, governance and international relations
  • Everyone with an interest in globalization and clashes of cultures

Henry Kissinger is a German-born former American diplomat. He served as US Secretary of State for four years and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. He played a key role in shaping twentieth-century US foreign policy and has written over a dozen books on the subject.

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World Order

Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History

By Henry Kissinger
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History by Henry Kissinger
Synopsis

World Order (2014) is a guide to the complex mechanisms that have governed international relations throughout history. These blinks explain how different countries conceive of different world orders and how they are held in balance or brought into conflict.

Key idea 1 of 10

A world order is a set of ideas about how the world should be, and a roadmap for any country’s foreign policy.

Do you ever hear discussions about historical conflicts like the Cold War or current events like the many crises in the Middle East and wonder which historical circumstances actually caused them? Well, a key starting point for most such conflicts is the history of world order.

World order essentially refers to a combination of thoughts and beliefs shared by a greater community. Large communities such as regions or civilizations develop ideas and beliefs about how the world should work, such as who should have power in a civilization.

Take European countries as an example. Most of them agree that all governments should be chosen through free, democratic elections. But this belief doesn’t just apply to their countries – it’s something they desire for countries around the world.

Now that you know what a world order is, what makes it so important?

Well, the grand ideas and firm beliefs that define a nation’s world order will naturally have a major impact on how it acts toward the outside world; indeed, many wars have been waged over differing views on world order.

In addition, world orders can determine both the foreign policy platform of a nation and its long-term strategies. World orders are applied through foreign policy decisions that advance the specific agenda of any given nation; these big ideas provide a secure foundation for forward-looking strategies and strong planning.

For example, the talented strategist Prince Klemens von Metternich was guided by the motto that to maintain stable international relations, you needed to acknowledge the true interests of all actors and not just those of your own nation.

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