In This Review

Contemporary Crisis of the Nation-State?

Contemporary Crisis of the Nation-State?
Edited by John Dunn
237 pp, Blackwell, 1995

Yet another collection of essays speculating on the future of the nation-state, this volume is less focused and coherent than most. The editor asks in the introduction whether the facts bear out the common belief in a crisis of the nation-state. The answer that emerges from the heterogeneous cases explored in subsequent chapters is muddled. The nation-state is obviously in trouble in Russia and India, but in Asia, as Paul Bracken's essay demonstrates, the problem is that states--as measured by their growing military capabilities--are too strong. David Calleo's essay on the United States suggests a crisis not of the state but of economic policies. The chapter on the states of the South, lumping together everything from Korea, China, and Chile to Liberia and Zaire, is totally inadequate. Other issues critical to state sovereignty, such as the effects of information technology, particularly on the global economy, are not explored systematically.