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is really only telling half of the story. Orthodox theorists have paid far too
little attention to the other pattern of international order, which evolved
during roughly the same period of time, but beyond rather than within
Europe; not through relations between Europeans, but through relations
7 Alexander Fachiri, ˜Expropriation and International Law™, British Year Book of
International Law, 6 (1925), 169, and see also Konstantin Katzarov, The Theory of
Nationalisation (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1964), especially pp. 284“7. As an aside,
I might add that even Bull described respect for property as an ˜elementary, primary
and universal goal of social life™, and therefore (presumably) he saw this principle as
part of the normative structure of modern international order (The Anarchical Society,
p. 3). For all Bull™s attachment to a pluralist conception of international society and
positivist theories of international law, the notion of ˜elementary, primary and universal™
goals looks to me suspiciously like a poorly disguised version of classical arguments from
natural law. It is interesting, and not, in my view, coincidental, that this lapse into nat-
uralism should have occurred precisely on the issue of individuals™ rights to life and
property.
8 This is a different claim from the popular line of argument that the political and
legal order of the states-system should be juxtaposed against the pattern of social re-
lationships characterized by the capitalist world economy. I do not dispute the latter™s
existence, nor do I deny that it has been an extremely signi¬cant feature of the mod-
ern world, but the trouble with the bulk of this literature is that it has continued to
treat modern international politics and law in terms of the conventional idea of a so-
ciety of states, asking how global capitalism represented the real sociological basis of
that form of political order, or how both sprang from a shared conceptual outlook
on the part of modern Europeans: see, for example, Justin Rosenberg, The Empire of
Civil Society: A Critique of the Realist Theory of International Relations (London: Verso,
1994), and Kurt Burch, ˜Property™ and the Making of the International System (Boulder:
Lynne Reinner, 1998). My point, by contrast, is that modern international political
and legal order was not exclusively de¬ned by the norms, rules and institutions of the
society of states, irrespective of its relationship to modern forms of socio-economic
organization.
6 Beyond the anarchical society

between Europeans and non-Europeans.9 Instead of being based on a
states-system, this pattern of order was based on colonial and imperial
systems, and its characteristic practice was not the reciprocal recogni-
tion of sovereign independence between states, but rather the division of
sovereignty across territorial borders and the enforcement of individuals™
rights to their persons and property.
Grotius himself can hardly be assigned all the responsibility for the
different ways in which international order developed within and beyond
Europe after the seventeenth century. He provided an account of the
law of nations that was used by Europeans to legitimize their behaviour
towards non-European peoples, but Grotius himself did not conceive
of the world as divided in two, with one political and legal order for
Europeans and another for non-European peoples. He tended to think
of international legal order in universal and broadly non-discriminatory
terms: his idea of the divisibility of sovereignty, in particular, was directed
as much at public authorities within Europe as at ones outside.10 During
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, Europeans began to
be more discriminating in their international relations, adopting one kind
of relationship, equality and mutual independence, as the norm in their
dealings with each other, and another, imperial paramountcy, as normal
in their relations with non-Europeans. Grotius™s original scheme of the
law of nations underwent a dramatic change in the process, particularly
through the introduction of a new idea of civilization, which compre-
hensively radicalized the application of his ideas about how sovereignty
should be divided and how individuals™ private rights should be acquired
and protected in the extra-European world.
The concept of civilization performed two roles in international legal
thought: it de¬ned the border between the two patterns of modern inter-
national order, and it described the ultimate purposes that the extra-
European order was for. This vision of a bifurcated world was fully
9 Some paid more attention than others. There are a couple of throw-away comments
from Bull that vaguely gesture in the right direction, while even more suggestive hints of
the pattern of order I am describing can be found Martin Wight™s writings, unsurpris-
ingly given his early interest in British colonialism and imperialism. Among the original
members of the English school, though, Adam Watson probably went furthest in his
analysis of imperial systems as representing the other end of the ˜spectrum™ of order in
world politics to states-systems, although in his study of order in modern world politics
he tended to stick fairly closely to the orthodox idea of a society of states. See chapter 1
for a fuller discussion.
10 One important quali¬cation to this claim is that, as we will see in chapter 2, he did say that
the indigenous inhabitants of America lived in a condition of natural simplicity, a claim
of great signi¬cance for the future development of theories about colonial appropriation.
Otherwise, however, Grotius was fairly even-handed in his depiction of non-European
peoples and rulers, and, aside from property, he only made a clear distinction between
the law of nations in Christendom and the law of nations beyond on a few rather marginal
issues, such as postliminium.
Introduction 7

developed by the middle of the nineteenth century, and one can see
in international legal texts from that period a widely accepted distinc-
tion between the family of civilized nations and the backward or uncivi-
lized world beyond (although that is not to say that such distinctions had
never been made before then).11 In the family of civilized nations, the
main point of international political and legal order was understood as be-
ing to encourage respect for the equality and independent sovereignty of
individual states or nations; its ultimate purpose, simply put, was to pro-
mote the toleration of cultural and political differences between civilized
peoples so as to allow them to live together in peace. Outside the family of
civilized nations, however, other forms of international political organi-
zation and different legal rules were deemed appropriate, in keeping with
the belief that here the central purpose of international order was to pro-
mote the civilization of decadent, backward, savage or barbaric peoples.12
Non-European rulers were very seldom denied sovereignty altogether,
but they were usually permitted to retain only those prerogatives which
they were deemed competent to exercise, and certain speci¬c prerogatives
were nearly always vested with a European (or, in the United States, the
federal) government in order to ensure the promotion of commerce, tech-
nology and good government, as well as the establishment and protection
of individuals™ rights, especially to property; civilization, in other words.13
While, say, a nineteenth-century British diplomat would have found it
inconceivable that he might claim a right to exercise any sovereign pre-
rogatives over the French, his counterpart in the colonial service would
have thought it perfectly appropriate to take over some of the sovereign
prerogatives that an Indian prince possessed, even ones guaranteed by
prior treaties, if that was what it took to facilitate progress or to stamp
out corruption and barbarism.
By the mid to late nineteenth century, then, the world was clearly di-
vided in two for the purposes of international political and legal order:
an order promoting toleration within Europe, and an order promoting
civilization beyond. Very quickly, however, the distinction began to break
11 This distinction was endemic to nineteenth-century international law, but an exemplary
statement is James Lorimer, The Institutes of the Law of Nations: A Treatise of the Jural
Relations of Separate Political Communities, 2 vols. (reprint of the 1883 Edinburgh Edition
by Scientia Verlag Aalen, 1980).
12 These terms and others like them were so important to the intellectual framework of
modern international law that I will be using them a lot, and it would clutter up the
text if I were to put them in inverted commas all the time. My unquali¬ed use of this
language should not be understood as an endorsement of this way of discriminating
between European and non-European peoples.
13 A classic treatise, which captures these various dimensions of the concept, is John
Stuart Mill, ˜Civilization™, in Collected Works, Volume 18: Essays on Politics and Society
(London: Routledge, 1977), pp. 119“47, especially p. 120. (First published in
1836.)
8 Beyond the anarchical society

down, and one of the hallmarks of world politics in the twentieth century
has been a prolonged effort to merge the two patterns of modern in-
ternational order into a single, all-encompassing world order, despite
the profound differences in their normative principles, legal rules and
institutional arrangements. Most of the scholarship on how this ˜univer-
sal international society™ was created has concentrated on the expansion
of the society of states, which is hardly surprising given that most scholars
concentrate exclusively on the society of states the rest of the time. The
construction of a global international order is therefore usually conceived
solely in terms of the spreading practice of the reciprocal recognition of
sovereignty and the entry of new states into what had previously been a
European club. Occasionally, since attention is now, often for the ¬rst
time, focused on the geographical margins of the European society of
states, theorists have glimpsed the importance of the concept of civiliza-
tion as a standard that had to be attained before recognition would be
granted.14 But because they still insist on thinking about modern inter-
national order in terms of the society of states, this insight has not been
developed into a detailed analysis of where the concept came from; or
of how it had been structuring relations between European and non-
European peoples for at least ¬fty years before the latter™s entry into
international society really became an issue; or of the particular legal
and institutional arrangements, such as divided sovereignty in systems of
imperial paramountcy, that had been developed in the extra-European
world to promote civilization.
Furthermore, because they do not realize that a distinct pattern of
international order already existed in the extra-European world before
the expansion of the society of states, orthodox theorists cannot grasp
the crucial fact that the construction of a global political and legal or-
der was a two-way process. Of course, the extension of recognition to
non-European peoples was very important, but it was not the only factor
at work. At the same time, the principle of civilization that had previ-
ously structured international relations beyond Europe began to creep
into the European political system itself. While the toleration of po-
litical and cultural difference was becoming a more important aspect
of relations between European and non-European peoples, the promo-
tion of civilized values was becoming a more important feature of rela-
tions between European states. A de¬ning moment in this latter process

14 This is often where ideas about ˜Western values™ and the ˜culture of modernity™ creep into
the picture, but the most detailed analysis is Gerrit Gong, The Standard of Civilization in
International Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984); one of the ¬rst statements of the
orthodox position here is Oppenheim, International Law, pp. 32“3.
Introduction 9

was the ¬rst world war. Many wars had previously been fought for the
purpose of civilizing the indigenous peoples of America, Asia and Africa,
but the ˜Great War for Civilization™ was principally fought against other
Europeans. During the ¬rst half of the twentieth century, Europeans
gradually became accustomed to the idea that they should be more
respectful of the very different political and cultural systems of non-
European peoples, while becoming increasingly open to the possibility
that their fellow Europeans could be guilty of barbarism and might need
to be civilized themselves. The struggle against Nazism was the high point
of this development, since now not only were other Europeans seen as
the single greatest threat to civilization, but also civilization was being
defended against a version of the racist ideology that had previously given
it much of its legitimacy as a way of demarcating the boundary between
the two modern patterns of international order.
By 1945, the capacity of European states to maintain their imperial and
colonial systems had evaporated, and the intellectual framework within
which diplomats and international lawyers operated had undergone a
transformative change; these developments resulted in a number of cru-
cial legal and institutional developments that took place over the next ¬f-
teen to twenty years. The practice of recognizing non-European peoples
as equal and independent members of the society of states became much
more open and inclusive, as the old standard of civilization, in the sense of
a certain level of economic, political and judicial advancement, was largely
abandoned in favour of a broader idea that every nation has a right to self-
determination.15 The toleration of different ways of life has thus become
an absolutely central principle in the new global political and legal order.
But the old idea that one of the purposes of order in world politics is to
promote civilization has by no means been abandoned. As well as encour-
aging respect for the equality and independence of all sovereign states,
the United Nations is also supposed to facilitate economic and social
progress, and it is intended to protect the fundamental human rights of in-
dividuals, as Article 55 of the Charter makes clear. In contemporary phe-
nomena such as international agencies for economic development, inter-
national humanitarian law, the articulation of a code of peremptory and
non-derogable principles of jus cogens, pressure to democratize domes-
tic political systems and the increasing centralization of decision-making
processes through supranational organizations, the lingering in¬‚uence of
eighteenth and nineteenth-century thinking about how the world should
be organized so as to promote civilization can still be seen at work in
15 For example, John Dugard, Recognition and the United Nations (Cambridge: Grotius
Publications, 1987), especially p. 78.
10 Beyond the anarchical society

international relations today. We thus live in a world which is supposed
to have a single, global political and legal order for everyone, but one that
is dedicated to two very different, indeed often contradictory, purposes.
Therein lie the horns of the principal dilemma that we are struggling
with at the moment. It is incorrect to describe our problem in terms of
the dif¬culty that the society of states has in providing for justice in world
politics, or that we are witnessing a painful and confusing process of trans-
formation as a new kind of ˜post-Westphalian™ order gradually emerges
to supplant the old Westphalian one. Our central problem is that we
still think in the same dualistic way as nineteenth-century international
lawyers and diplomats about the purposes of order in world politics, but
we have abandoned the discriminatory method that they used to resolve
the resulting contradictions. The central question for international po-
litical and legal theorists today, then, is whether it is possible to sustain
both of those purposes and still have a coherent pattern of international
order, without recourse to the old method of discriminating between ad-
vanced and backward peoples. We are stuck, in other words, with the
fundamental modern problem of having to choose between toleration
and civilization as purposes of international order, but we now have to
work out a completely different way of deciding how that choice ought
to be made. Can we maintain the modern dualism about the goals of
international order through the adoption of a new ˜post-modern™ way of
reconciling them? Or do we have to abandon at least one (and possibly
both) of the long-standing modern beliefs about what international order
is for if we are to have a consistent and non-contradictory order in world
politics today, albeit one that will probably be unsatisfactory to many of
the people who live in it? Before anyone wades through the details of my
argument, I ought to admit that I do not have any clear answers to these
questions, but I think that the orthodox way of thinking about order in
modern world politics in terms of the Westphalian system and the society
of states is so misleading that it obscures their real nature. A necessary
¬rst step to working out the right answer is to pose the right question, and
I hope that my analysis will at least make a small step towards that goal.
As a jumping-off point for my argument, in chapter 1 I will begin
by asking why so many scholars today think of order in modern world
politics in terms of the existence of an international society of mutually
independent sovereign states. Although this point of view has enjoyed
great popularity for around two hundred years, I will concentrate on a
group of theorists who have been extremely in¬‚uential in presenting the
idea of the society of states to contemporary audiences. These scholars are
often known as the ˜English school™, and their main focus was the British
Committee for the Theory of International Politics (which was originally
Introduction 11

formed in the late 1950s).16 I will explain how the English school came to
be so attached to the idea that order in modern world politics should be
understood by analysing the norms, rules and institutions of the society
of states, and how they came to associate this position with a ˜Grotian
tradition™ of international theory. Having explained the limitations of the
English school™s account of modern international order and Grotianism,
I will then go on to outline how the Grotian theory of the law of nations
should be understood; how it was relevant to the practices of colonialism
and imperialism; how those practices led to the creation of a distinct
extra-European pattern of international order, founded on the principle
of civilization; and how this order mingled with that embodied by the

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