Change and Continuity in Global Politics

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

Coverage of foreign affairs tends to focus on change, specifically how events change a country, a particular region or the world. We have been told that the end of the Cold War, the attacks of September 11th, Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq, the global economic crisis, the emergence of China as a global power and a few other events in the last twenty years have changed everything about the world. All of these events certainly had significant impacts on the world, or on part of the world, but focusing too much on how events like September 11th changed the world only tells one side of the story. This is exacerbated by a media and punditry that focuses often overstate the impact of political events. The other side of the story, that even world changing events are usually as much about continuity as change, does not get as much attention, but is also important. Ignoring this continuity, or focusing on the changes to a degree that precludes and understanding of the continuity is a mistake.


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Academic Units
Harriman Institute
Published Here
October 13, 2011