Puchala's essay examines the prospects for conflict or cooperation in a post-Cold War world order. Citing Kenneth Thompson, Puchala warns that American international relations students have mistakenly emphasized the study of interstate relations at the expense of studying intercultural relations. He examines the transition of power and cites the United States' interventionist diplomacy and disregard of world opinion as the cause of the fading U.S. role as a hegemonic leader. Who will be the twenty-first century empire builders? Puchala defends Harold Laswell's belief that new ideologies will emerge and replace eighteenth-century Enlightenment ideas of representative government, constitutionalism, and individual liberty. Finally, using comparative heuristics, he explains why the twenty-first century will not be dominated by one civilization. Using the historical record, he predicts a struggle between the Western and non-Western world because "decisive transitions in international relations never occur without contest."
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