Military Power, Conflict and Trade: Military Spending, International Commerce and Great Power Rivalry

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Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture.

In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.

By America had been transformed. What Hath God Wrought provides a monumental narrative of this formative period in United States history. Casper, Reviews in American History "Howe is a skillful storyteller who knows how to choose relevant anecdotes and revealing quotations. Both general readers and professional historians can benefit from the book. It can be read with pleasure from cover to cover. He never reduces the early part of the book to an analysis of how developments succeeded or failed the hopes of the 'founders. Precisely because of this clear-eyed vision of the antebellum period, Civil War historians will want to take a fresh look back at howe's picture of the United States in a constant state of change.

This is almost as big as a pathology book, but really well written. Yet as Daniel Walker Howe makes plain in this exemplary addition to the Oxford History of the United States, this was the time when the United States was transformed by a series of revolutions Howe brings an impressive array of strengths to the daunting task of encapsulating these busy, complicated three-plus decades within a single admittedly, very long volume He has a fine eye for telling detail He has written a marvelous book that lay readers, professional historians, hard-pressed teachers, and willing students can all read with profit and pleasure Breadth and scope alone make this a work of great value What Hath God Wrought immediately becomes the book to read on the period.

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It is unfailingly informative, interesting, and enlightening. Reviewer's cliches such as 'masterful synthesis' and 'monumental achievement' are too often trotted out, but Howe's work deserves these encomiums and more. Like all great works of history, this book makes readers think more deeply about their own values as well as their views of both past and present. Supported by engaging prose, Howe's achievement will surely be seen as one of the most outstanding syntheses of U. Dionne, Jr. A worthy addition to public and academic institutions; beginning scholars will appreciate the maps and the extensive bibliographic essay, fleshed out by the journal citations in the footnotes.

Highly recommended.

Augustyn Jr. Four related developments stand out as potential sources of disruption over the short and medium term.

Geopolitical Power Shifts

The intensification of strong-state politics is affecting both large and small states, while global norms are eroding and tensions growing between major powers. These two trends fuel two others: increasingly aggressive geo-economic agendas and the mounting pressures faced by small states. At a time of geopolitical flux, re-establishing the state as the primary locus of power and legitimacy offers governments—and citizens—an increasingly attractive strategic anchor.

In particular, nationalist agendas and the external projection of a strong state can be an effective strategy for governments seeking to redress perceived international humiliations, past or present. The intensification of nationalist and strong-state narratives creates risks both domestically and internationally. The profile of these risks will vary in each case, depending, among other things, on the way in which power is obtained and asserted, and on the ends towards which it is used.

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One domestic danger is that the interests of non-state actors will suffer. An extreme example is the flight of Rohingya people from Myanmar. Other recent examples include the purge in Turkey following the attempted coup in and clashes over the separation of powers in Poland. Internationally, two main risks arise.

First, the danger of miscommunication and miscalculation between states is heightened by the absence of a clear rules-based international order or a settled balance of power. Concern about possible conflict involving North Korea is a prominent example: the volatile clash between the strong-state instincts of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un during has created uncertainty about the strength of the norms created by decades of work to prevent nuclear conflict.

A second international risk relates to states interfering in the domestic affairs of other states. By undermining the non-intervention principle set out in the UN Charter, it also ratchets up the risk of retaliation and a slide into interstate conflict.

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U.S. War With Russia and China More Likely as World Power Shifts From West to East, NATO Says

Interference in the affairs of non-Western states has been one reason for the erosion of the US-led rules-based order; however, the wheel has turned and non-Western countries now appear to be increasingly active in this area. As each of these states becomes increasingly assertive of its own interests, consensus is fraying on the rules that govern their interactions and the directions in which the world might converge.

As a result, there is evidence of a general breakdown in trust and an erosion of respect for global norms designed to govern peaceful international interactions. The United States has become less willing to act as enforcer of global norms at the head of a dominant coalition. This reflects, among other things, divisions within the United States over whether the benefits that flow from this global enforcer role are sufficient to justify its costs.

As a result, rising and resurgent powers calculate that actions that may breach international law UN Charter , the law of the sea UNCLOS or international humanitarian law Geneva Conventions can achieve objectives without incurring unacceptable costs in terms of opposition or punishment.

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The emergence of cyberspace as an unregulated battlefield has also created new ways to advance state interests, allowing interference in domestic political or economic affairs that might be considered acts of aggression if pursued by other means. Strong trade and investment connections between the United States and China mean that, whatever their differences, a significant level of economic interdependence remains central to their relationship.

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However, as China exercises increasing power in the Western Pacific, confidence in the capacity of the United States to determine outcomes in the region is being gradually undermined. As has been seen in the North Korea crisis, the danger that long-term strategic rivalry could spill over and harm economic relations is becoming more real. Japan and India, for example, are exploring more structured forms of strategic cooperation in both economic and military affairs. This initiative could become more significant if additional partners—such as Australia, the United States, or even European states—were to take part.


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However, most of these countries are currently cautious and would be wary of allowing such a hedging policy to cause tensions with China. Meanwhile, Russia has used its policy in Syria to reposition itself as a leading foreign policy actor, with the ability to shape military outcomes and geopolitical balances.

Shifting relations between global and regional powers is creating increased uncertainty for smaller states—an under-appreciated source of geopolitical risk. Smaller states tend to benefit from the predictability that comes with rules-based order and they are among the most affected when rules erode and major powers jostle for position. These countries are particularly vulnerable to the weakening of security alliances they may previously have relied upon, as well as to subtle or overt pressures to adapt policy or strategy to conform to the interests of a major power or regional hegemon.

The dilemma faced by smaller states, as they assess how best to recalibrate relations with larger states, was illustrated in Singapore last year.


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