From Empire to Community

A New Approach to International Relations

Amitai Etzioni

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Whether one favors the U.S. global projection of force or is horrified by it, the question stands - where do we go from here? What ought to be the new global architecture? Amitai Etzioni follows a third way, drawing on both neoconservative and liberal ideas, in this bold new look at international relations. He argues that a "clash of civilizations" can be avoided and that the new world order need not look like America. Eastern values, including spirituality and moderate Islam, have a legitimate place in the evolving global public philosophy.
Nation-states, Etzioni argues, can no longer attend to rising transnational problems, from SARS to trade in sex slaves to cybercrime. Global civil society does help, but without some kind of global authority, transnational problems will overwhelm us. The building blocks of this new order can be found in the war against terrorism, multilateral attempts at deproliferation, humanitarian interventions and new supranational institutions (e.g., the governance of the Internet). Basic safety, human rights, and global social issues, such as environmental protection, are best solved cooperatively, and Etzioni explores ways of creating global authorities robust enough to handle these issues as he outlines the journey from "empire to community."


Praise for From Empire to Community

"Professor Etzioni's new book, From Empire to Community, delivers on its promise of ‘A new approach to international relations.’ There is a wonderful quality to his thinking, such that the visionary and the pragmatic, the very long range and the issues of the moment are all represented, all related, and often (though not always) reconciled in a new synthesis. It is especially refreshing to find that when Professor Etzioni finds that reality will not mesh with theory, facts are acknowledged rather than swept under the rug. This book is not about dogma: it is about the hopeful possibility that an evolving and expanding sense of common need among peoples and nations can with luck and vision, bring about a knitting together of a form of global governance that would permit humankind to address its most urgent issues more effectively: with less sovereign authority for national states as we have known them, but greater freedom, combined with enhanced responsibility for people as individuals and as communities. Professor Etzioni's easy style of writing - clear, elegant but never pretentious - makes the book a pleasure to read: not just an intellectual obligation."--Leon Fuerth, former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore

"In recent years, Amitai Etzioni has been the most powerful and persuasive voice for the human values that can only be cultivated in community. In this new and compelling analysis, he extends his work to the international arena. Few books have spoken more eloquently to the heart of our shared humanity, and in an age of global tension, few have been more necessary. Essential reading for all those concerned with our ever more fragile social ecology."
–Rabbi Professor Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

"A thoughtful and timely examination of some of the fundamental issues that modern society confronts."
–Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter

“For anyone concerned about the new global challenges and the current implacable trends in international politics and for those preoccupied with how we can bring about the needed fundamental progress, Etzioni’s book is a refreshing contribution of daring thoughts, wisdom, and common sense. By contrasting and blending familiar and well-known institutions with new or exotic concepts, ideas and notions, Etzioni offers new and useful insights. Here, reality is round - not square, and its constituent elements complementary rather than conflicting. It is Thomas Paine conversing with Confucius that comes to one's mind. But the book is vibrantly topical. It underlines the need of the legitimating United Nations also to seek hard power to enforce its resolutions. As an echo of Kant’s Perpetual Peace, Etzioni leads us to the ‘good society’ based on both the Western legal tradition and social duties deriving from moral suasion. Etzioni is a bridge-builder by the grace of God.”
-- Per Stig Møller, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs

"In From Empire to Community, Amitai Etzioni applies his communitarian approach to international affairs and foreign policy, attacking liberals to his left and neo-conservatives to his right. He offers a provocative and thoughtful alternative to the triumphalism that has dominated recent discussions about the future of American foreign policy. "
-- Joseph S. Nye, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

"Amitai Etzioni has constructed a coherent communitarian vision of international relations. From Empire to Community is a pioneering work of vital importance to the formation of a new way of international thinking, relevant to policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic. Safeguarding global goods such as security, human rights and environmental protection is becoming increasingly vital in this era of globalization. Amitai Etzioni's new book offers us an inspiring example of the out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to confront these challenges. Etzioni brings new diplomatic challenges into focus, and launches a crucial debate about the sort of world we are leaving to future generations and how we can best manage problems and grasp opportunities, in ways that are deemed legitimate by both American and European societies.
--Dr Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

"In this timely and provocative book, Professor Etzioni offers a rich compendium of insights and ideas. His vision of a potential East-West synthesis is particularly compelling. Better still, he is not afraid to tackle the very real challenge of creating genuine institutions to govern a potential global polity. A valuable read for anyone interested in the future of global governance. "
--Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Amitai Etzioni

  • Amitai Etzioni is the founder and director of the Communitarian Network and University Professor at The George Washington University. He has served as a senior advisor to the White House and President of the American Sociological Association. He has taught sociology at Columbia University, the Harvard Business School, and the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of 22 books, including The New Golden Rule, Political Unification Revisited and My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message. A recent study listed him as one of the leading hundred public intellectuals.


Available Formats and Book Details

From Empire to Community

A New Approach to International Relations

Amitai Etzioni

  • Hardcover