Friday, December 28, 2007

Robert Cooper and "The Breaking of Nations"

Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations. Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first century, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2003.

Albeit this is not a most recent publication, it nonetheless deserves to be considered for its sweeping interpretation of today’s global predicament. In this small book of essays Robert Cooper argues that two revolutionary forces are transforming international relations: the breakdown of state control over violence, reflected in the growing ability of tiny private groups to wield weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of a stable, peaceful order in Europe that is not based on either the balance of power or the sovereignty of independent states. In this scheme, the Westphalian system of nation-states and power politics is being undermined on both sides: by a postmodern Europe and a premodern world of failed states and post-imperial chaos. Furthermore, Cooper explores how the West should cope with the encroachment of premodern violence. The American approach to such threats is hegemonic. The European Union, meanwhile, aims to expand outward to absorb threatening societies on its periphery. In Cooper’s view, neither approach is sustainable, and he seeks a synthesis that would allow the United States and Europe to confront threats together over the long haul.

Robert Francis Cooper was a British diplomat until 2002 when he assumed the role of Director-General of the Directorate-General E - External Economic Relations, Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.
Born in 1947, he joined the Diplomatic Service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1970. As a diplomat, he has worked at various British Embassies abroad, notably those in Tokyo and Bonn. At the Foreign Office, he was Head of the Policy Planning Staff from 1989 to 1993. He was the UK’s Special Representative in Afghanistan until mid-2002. Since 2007 he has been a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2004, Cooper was awarded the Orwell Prize for The Breaking of Nations.

(Marco Davi')

Sunday, December 16, 2007

French Diplomat Defarges' s book on geopolitics

The French diplomat Philippe Moreau Defarges has published Introduction à la géopolitique (Collection, Points du Seuil, 2nd ed., 2005). As the title already reveals the aim of the book is to introduce the reader to geopolitical thinking. The author provides clear definitions and historical examples, which demonstrate the importance of geopolitics. Moreau Defarges offers an introduction to the geopolitical dimension of the great international issues such as war, international trade or international organisations. The book outlines the importance of geopolitical reasoning, the close link between spatial and political realities and how the geopolitical reality determines inequalities between states, which cannot be ignored.

Philippe Moreau Defarges, Minister Plenipotentiary, is also the co-director of the RAMSES report at the Institut français des relations internationals (IFRI) and professor at Science-Po. He is the author of several publications on international relations and geopolitical issues. These publications include Relations Internationales, Tome 1: Questions Régionales (Poche, 2003), Relations Internationales, Tome 2: Questions Mondiales (Poche, 2007) and Les Institutions Européennes (Broché, 2005).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Valija diplomatica – Books published by Spanish Diplomats

Spain has a specific series of books exclusively dedicated to titles published whose author is a Spanish diplomat. The series is called “La valija diplomatica” [diplomatic bag] by Editorial Dossoles of Burgos ( The series is directed by Amb. Alonso Álvarez de Toledo and includes some twenty titles written by different Spanish diplomats.
The books vary form International Affairs (Viaje Real a Grecia by Javier Jiménez-Ugarte) to Memoirs (Episodios de un Diplomático by Jaime de Piniés y Rubio), from Novels (La Cumbre by Jorge Fuentes) to Poetry (Rimas en claro. Primera Antología de Poetas Diplomáticos (s.XX)), from Culture (La Magia del Teatro by Enrique Llovet) to history (Las Depuraciones de la Carrera Diplomática Española
(1931-1980) by José Luis Pérez Ruiz).
This series is published under the auspices of the Association of Spanish Diplomats (ADE) which supports it through specific subscriptions of its members.
More titles of books published by Spanish diplomats are also available on the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperacción) at the page: