The United Nations headquarters, New York.

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?

The central fact about international politics is anarchy, the lack of a common sovereign authority able to settle disputes and establish order. This has meant that throughout history, states have been forced to fend for themselves, protecting and advancing their national interests as they see fit, embracing whatever policies and temporary partnerships seem expedient.

Life in such a self-help system is precarious. As Thomas Hobbes noted, “Without a common power to keep them all in awe,” the players in the game have to worry constantly and make sure the other players aren’t trying to screw them. In such circumstances, he observed,

...there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may

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