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entirely to general issues of reorganisation and doctrinal evolution.

What about
Afghanistan, where the blue berets proved one of the very few Soviet forces able and
willing to fight the rebels on their own ground? As for the Ogaden intervention of 1977,
when Soviet paratroopers led Cuban troops in a successful bid to turn the tide of the
Ethiopian-Somali war, this is not even mentioned by Glantz.
Perhaps this is churlish. A History of Soviet Airborne Forces is already a huge book,
and to dissect every operation in fullest detail may be beyond the current state of the
material and would also involve a major investment of further time and space. Glantz is
an outstanding scholar, and the book is above all a history of the Soviet airborne forces

during World War II. Taken in those terms, this book is a masterpiece.
MARK GALEOTTI

Mark Galeotti is Lecturer in International History at the University of Keele

Fred Halliday, Rethinking International Relations (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1994,


290 pp., £11.99 pbk.).

The academic discipline of International Relations is experiencing uncertainty in both its


theoretical and substantive concerns. Theory directs enquiry; major historical
developments reshape theory. Fred Hallidays Rethinking International Relations strikes
a nice balance in this dialectic. The book is a collection of some of Hallidays writings
with a common theme; it does not claim to provide a completed theoretical framework,
but rather proposes a research programme.
Rejecting the autonomy of theory claimed by neoreatism, Halliday argues that the
collapse of the Soviet Union and communism requires a rethinking of IR. With that
major historical event as its focus, this book is a search for an historical interpretation
that can make theoretical sense of the current and potential state of world politics.
Hallidays first step is to set aside the consecrated dichotomies of foreign/domestic,
state/society, political/economic in favour of a more inclusive historical approach. The
collectivities involved in world politics encompass state and society, and are shaped by
political, economic, social, and cultural forces, which are both revolutionary and
stabilising. Transnational influences are not confined to non-governmental actors, but
include processes deep within society that shape practices and mentalities in a common
direction. Principal among these processes is capitalism, but Halliday also includes
democratisation and the awareness and contestation of gender relations.
The tendency of these forces to lead to the homogeneity of the collectivities of world
politics is described in what Halliday calls the constitutive theory of international
society. This is traced to Burke and Marx, with an acknowledgement also of the recent
thesis of Francis Fukuyama. The most overtly predictive passage in the book states that:

[t]he end of history may mean the end of international relations as power politics.
It may also presage the beginning of International Relations as a comprehensive and
adequately theorised interpretation of the multiple dimensions of international
society. (p. 123)

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The tendency towards the homogeneity of international society becomes, for Halliday,
the key to understanding the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism (although he
is cautious enough to retain the prospect that some aspects of communism may survive).
This major development cannot be explained exclusively in terms of the arms race,
economic pressures from the West, the economic rigidities and inefficiencies of real
socialism, or revolt from below, although all these factors played into the collapse.
Ilalliday argues that the basic cause was the perception of the Soviet leadership that their
system was not producing the kind of society towards which it aimed. In the Leninist
formulation. it was not that the ruled could not go on being ruled in the old way so
much that the rulers could not go on ruling in the old way (p. 206).
It is no discredit to this important book to offer some marginal criticisms in the spirit
of continuing the research programme it proposes. First, the concept of historical
structure and Fernand Braudels notion of different kinds of time, notably lhistoire
vnementielle and the longate duree, seem pertinent. Halliday is, rightly I think, critical
of a structuralist determinism, a la Althusser, which underestimates agency. Historical
structures are, rather, the creation of collective human responses to common problems,
resulting in institutionalised practices and the intersubjective meanings which define
reality for large human groups. Events may bolster or challenge these long-term forces:
the important task is to distinguish the transitory and ephemeral from the durable and
constitutive.
This would safeguard against the presentism which Halliday rightly condemns, and
to which a discipline so contemporary in its nature as IR is especially vulnerable. By
enquiring into the origins of the processes of homogeneity, this approach could also
strengthen Hallidays thesis. Furthermore, it could be a means of assessing the meaning
of civilisations within a rethought IR, transcending the rather crude revival of Cold War
thinking implied in Samuel Huntingtons Foreign Affairs article The Clash of
Civ ilizations? .
My second point is that the significance attached by Halliday to Fukuyamas end of
history thesis is misplaced. I find it incongruous both to treat Fukuyama on a par with
Burke and Marx, and to consider his thesis seriously as a theory of IR. The interesting
thing about Fukuyamas ideas is their power to consolidate status quo opinion: the
culture of contentment, as it is described by Kenneth Galbraith. The end of history
should be treated as social myth in Georges Sorels sense. It has become the neo-
liberal, capitalist counterpart to Sorels revolutionary myth of the general strike. Myth
is an important component of IR, but it should be distinguished from theory.
Two final comments: Halliday rethinks IR from the perspective of more powerful
forces. This is a necessary realism; but a bottom-up approach is likely to have a greater
place in the future, as part of a larger realism. Attention to civilisations will help in this
respect. The other gap is lack of attention to the biosphere. In the future, IR will have
to account for non-human forces as actors, to explain the interaction of human
organisation with other forms of life and life-sustaining substances. Indeed, this may be
the long-term meaning of globalisation.
ROBERT W. COX

Robert W. Cox is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at York University,


Toronto, Canada

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