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Review Essay

Conflict or Cooperation?

Three Visions Revisited

In This Review

The End of History and the Last Man
The End of History and the Last Man
By Francis Fukuyama
Free Press, 1992, 400 pp. Purchase
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
By Samuel P. Huntington
Simon & Schuster, 1996, 368 pp. Purchase
The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
By John J. Mearsheimer
Norton, 2001, 448 pp. Purchase

"Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slave of some defunct economist," John Maynard Keynes once wrote. Politicians and pundits view the world through instincts and assumptions rooted in some philosopher's Big Idea. Some ideas are old and taken for granted throughout society. For most Americans, it is the ideas of the liberal tradition, from John Locke to Woodrow Wilson, that shape their thinking about foreign policy. The sacred concepts of freedom, individualism, and cooperation are so ingrained in U.S. political culture that most people assume them to be the natural order of things, universal values that people everywhere would embrace if given the chance.

In times of change, people wonder more consciously about how the world works. The hiatus between the Cold War and 9/11 was such a time; conventional wisdom begged to be reinvented. Nearly a century of titanic

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