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Global Rules

Global Rules: America, Britain and a Disordered World

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 416
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    Global Rules
    Book Description:

    The Second World War created and the Cold War sustained a "special relationship" between America and Britain, and the terms on which that decades-long conflict ended would become the foundation of a new world order. In this penetrating analysis, a new history of recent global politics, author James Cronin explores the dramatic reconfiguring of western foreign policy that was necessitated by the interlinked crises of the 1970s and the resulting global shift toward open markets, a movement that was eagerly embraced and encouraged by the U.S./U.K. partnership.Cronin's bold revisionist argument questions long-perceived views of post-World War II America and its position in the world, especially after Vietnam. The author details the challenges the economic transition of the 1970s and 1980s engendered as the United States and Great Britain together actively pursued their shared ideal of an international assemblage of market-based democratic states. Cronin also addresses the crises that would sorely test the system in subsequent decades, from human rights violations and genocide in the Balkans and Africa to 9/11 and militant Islamism in the Middle East to the "Great Recession" of 2008.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-21021-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Prologue (pp. 1-3)

    The United States does not rule the world, either alone or in league with Great Britain. Nor do the two countries seek to do so. They have, however, largely made the rules that order the world and fashioned the institutions and alliances that govern the relations between states and economies and that define the character of states, confer legitimacy upon them, and specify the rights of their citizens. The United States and Britain played a critical role in structuring the world order that came into being after World War II; and it was a vision worked out in the U....

  4. CHAPTER 1 Remaking the World, Again (pp. 4-21)

    The end of the Cold War resolved the two great questions of the twentieth century – about capitalism versus socialism, about dictatorship or democracy – and the superpower rivalry through which they were expressed. History did not end, for legacies and memories and institutions persisted and the resolution of the questions posed to the twentieth century allowed new and unforeseen problems to emerge. Still, the post– Cold War world was a new beginning and effectively the start of the new century.¹ The terms on which the Cold War ended, and the institutions and assumptions put in place in its aftermath, define the...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Vietnam to Helsinki: A Seventies Trip (pp. 22-54)

    History comes to us with labels and meanings attached. Before historians get to define an era, it has defined itself with an array of images, memories and understandings that scholars must start with before they begin their work of revising, elaborating and complicating. For the United States and for Britain, few decades have produced such a rich stock of symbolic moments and impressions as the 1970s. Most were negative. America began the decade with the incursion into Cambodia, which elicited massive protests and resulted, at Kent State and Jackson State, in soldiers firing on and killing students. The image bank...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Détente, Human Rights and Economic Crisis (pp. 55-91)

    Détente reached a formal climax with the signing of the Helsinki Accords in the summer of 1975. It then unraveled; a “second Cold War” and a renewed arms race would follow, though not immediately.¹ The allies who had been so disunited in responding to the oil crisis of 1973–4 were by 1975 cooperating again, their relationships at least partly repaired as they came to realize they had more interests in common with each other than they did with oil producers, the “global South,” or the Soviet Union. The Soviets, newly secure in their borders and with their hegemony in...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Thatcher, Reagan and the Market (pp. 92-120)

    Neither Margaret Thatcher nor Ronald Reagan looked inevitable before they were elected. Thatcher’s popularity lagged behind that of her party, and her opponent, James Callaghan, might well have beaten her if he had called the election in the autumn of 1978, as he had planned and many had expected. He delayed, the “winter of discontent” wrecked his administration, and Thatcher won a solid but not spectacular victory in May 1979. Reagan ran against a government for which nothing went right, at home or abroad, and against a decidedly uncharismatic incumbent. Even so, the polls remained close until a week before...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Market Rules and the International Economy (pp. 121-147)

    The most obvious source of the troubles affecting the British and American economies in the late 1970s was the world economy. The oil crisis came from outside, more specifically from the actions of states whose participation in global commerce was limited to selling one very valuable commodity. The resulting inflation masked the more fundamental slowdown in the growth of demand worldwide for the products of the advanced economies and the increasing competition to fill that demand. The “Fordist” model that underpinned les trente gloriouses of postwar was bumping up against its social and geographic limits, as Europe and Japan rebuilt...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Cold War Ironies: Reagan and Thatcher at Large (pp. 148-179)

    Domestic crises brought Thatcher and Reagan to office and presented them with problems requiring immediate attention. They came to office armed with ideologies that told them what to do at home. It was not easy for either to impose her or his vision on societies and polities with established ways of thinking that were not compatible with their pro-market outlook and with deeply rooted interests that would stand to lose from the implementation of pro-market policies. Resistance was stiff, and not unworthy, but it did fail, if only because the experience of the 1970s had done so much to discredit...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Ending the Cold War and Recreating Europe (pp. 180-216)

    Ronald Reagan left office on January 20, 1989; Margaret Thatcher would be replaced as Prime Minister on November 28, 1990. The timing was classically inappropriate. Reagan, who had publicly called on Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in Berlin in 1987 and who had made a silent and solemn visit to the wall back in 1979, was not in office to see that offensive structure isolating West Berlin literally dismantled.¹ Thatcher would see the wall fall, but she would not be in Downing Street to watch as the Soviet Union was abolished on Christmas 1991. It was instead their successors,...

  11. CHAPTER 8 The Shaping of the Post—Cold War World (pp. 217-243)

    The construction of the new Europe “architecture” after the collapse of the regimes in Eastern Europe was done quickly, but great care was taken not to offend the major powers – Germany, France, Britain, the United States and, most important, the Soviet Union. Margaret Thatcher was especially worried that moving too fast on German unification would harm Gorbachev and on that she had the agreement of Bush, Mitterrand and Kohl. Soviet troops and weapons were still deployed in East Germany in 1990 even as unification was carried out, so the Germans had to be particularly careful not to provoke a reaction....

  12. CHAPTER 9 Order and Disorder after the Cold War (pp. 244-288)

    The reunification of Germany in October and the signing of Charter of Paris in November 1990 began the formal construction of the post–Cold War world. A rash of agreements and understandings followed, new institutions were established and old institutions given new mandates and powers, and alliances were reconfigured around new threats and objectives. The aim was to establish a framework, an architecture, to govern international relations, security and the international economy after the collapse of communism and the disappearance of the Soviet Union. It was to be a rules-based system that was supposed to function more or less automatically,...

  13. Epilogue: Global Rules in Question (pp. 289-316)

    The effort to put together the post–Cold War order was a project for leaders in politics and business and for policy-making elites. Ordinary citizens had little say and often little knowledge of what their leaders were up to. They were seldom asked to vote for or against specific policies or strategic decisions, and the edifice as a whole was not theirs to understand, debate or vote upon. In democratic systems they could judge their masters and change them, though the choices were ordinarily determined by questions of domestic policy. Shaping the new world did involve lots of arguments, of...

  14. Notes (pp. 317-352)
  15. Bibliography (pp. 353-375)
  16. Acknowledgments (pp. 376-379)
  17. Index (pp. 380-404)