In This Review

Global Rules: America, Britain and a Disordered World
Global Rules: America, Britain and a Disordered World
By James E. Cronin
416 pp, Yale University Press, 2014

It has long been understood that the Anglo-American “special relationship” played a decisive role in the development of a liberal world order in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Cronin follows the story of that relationship into the next era with a deeply researched and lucid history of the period between the Vietnam War and the present day. Cronin argues that the United Kingdom and the United States worked together to stabilize the world order after the dislocations of the 1970s and then to establish the foundations of a new order after the end of the Cold War. What drew the two powers together was not just a shared set of economic and political ideas but also a common view of the importance of an international financial architecture and a mutual commitment to creating a single global order (as opposed to a set of regional orders). Cronin does not think that the British will play an equivalent role the next time the world order is shaken to its core, but neither does he foresee a quick end to the post–Cold War order co-created by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. President George H. W. Bush.