Futuribles Journal n° 377

Géopolitique - Institutions

The Long March of the World: On Philip Bobbitt’s The Shield of Achilles


In 2002 a monumental work by Philip Bobbitt, covering international relations over a very extensive period, was published simultaneously in the USA and the UK. The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History (New York/London: Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Books, 2002) has not been translated into French. However, in the opinion of Jacques Lesourne, who has reviewed the book for Futuribles, it provides a very rewarding analysis of the relations between military strategy, the development of state-forms and the principles governing international relations. Beyond the retrospective deciphering of the long history of the world offered by Bobbitt (including, inter alia, the “epochal wars” that have studded the path of the elaboration of international law), the work offers a forward-looking perspective on the contemporary world’s broad developmental trends, developing three possible scenarios. Jacques Lesourne outlines these at the end of his analysis, showing ultimately that, in spite of a certain Americano-centrism, Bobbitt’s work is an important contribution to the analysis of the joint influences of state, military strategy and international relations, which is crucial for the assessment of future trends on the global stage.

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