Writing recently in the Financial Times, long-time economic journalist Gideon Rachman lamented the passing of a post-Cold War "golden age," in which "countries shared a belief in globalization and Western democratic values." In Rachman's calculation, that consensus has been battered by the global financial crisis, which ushered in a "new, less-predictable era."
Rachman, whose book entitled "Zero-Sum Future" comes out next February, is clearly prepping the literary battlefield by positioning himself as an "anti-Robert Wright." The latter's book, "Non-Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny," argued that human progress has been characterized by -- and thus depends on -- our increasing appreciation for and adoption of cooperative behaviors. So when Rachman predicts more unpredictability, he's really predicting less cooperation and more conflict -- today's currency wars translated into tomorrow's shooting wars.
In the absence of Rachman's full thesis, which will have to await the book's release, it's worth examining the "liberal internationalist" ideology that he argues has lost its place in our own hearts and minds. As defined by Rachman, its five principle pillars are: