chapter  8
22 Pages

Normative transformations in international relations and the waning of major war


Since 1945 the world’s great powers have been at relative peace. Despite fears that the Cold War would spiral out of control to end in nuclear annihilation, a period of a Long Peace has prevailed.1 This relative tranquility among the great powers in the last decades invites the question whether such peace will continue in the near future. More specifically, one might ask whether the number of interstate wars between the major powers, and the likelihood of hegemonic wars has declined, and whether we should read a long term trend into this decline of interstate conflict. If so this would repudiate the expectations of realism that international relations show great continuity in the perpetual jockeying for position and advantage. The Long Peace might be more than a temporary historical aberration.