The state-centric view of the world, especially in its realist variant, paints a picture of great insecurity and fear. Concerned for their own security, possibly desiring to dominate others, states are obliged to keep a watchful eye open for ways of enhancing their own power, and reducing that of others. Unrestrained and unprotected by any international government, states must look after their own security, even though they cannot but be aware that their attempts to do so may induce insecurity in others. Thus, the scene seems set for a wretched world, in which the idea of an international ‘order’ would be preposterous. Yet there is a degree of order in the world; international relations may be anarchic in the formal sense of lacking government, but they are not anarchic in the sense of lawless and disorderly — or at least not entirely so. How can this be?
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