In This Review

Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations
Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations
By Kyle M. Lascurettes
Oxford University Press, 2020, 352 pp
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In this impressive study of order building in the modern era, Lascurettes argues that powerful states have long shaped the rules of the international order to undermine rival states. The book offers detailed historical accounts of great ordering moments from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. In each instance, Lascurettes sees the dominant state proposing principles and institutions that would weaken or exclude states that threatened its security and primacy. The victors of the Thirty Years’ War devised rules of sovereign statehood to undercut the universalist authority of the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The post-Napoleonic Concert of Europe was organized to protect conservative monarchical regimes from emerging liberal and revolutionary states. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s emphasis on national self-determination after World War I was at least partly aimed at countering the revolutionary ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the post-1945 U.S.-led order was defined in opposition to fascist and communist rivals. Lascurettes contrasts his theory with the work of other scholars who see the modern international order as built through consensus and infused with universalist aspirations. The book’s contribution is less in its interpretations of history than in its illumination of the ways in which international rules and institutions empower some states and undercut others.