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Climate Change and the Nation State: The Realist Case

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  6 reviews
'This is one of those rare books that have something really important to say. Anatol Lieven, one of the most original and independent-minded foreign policy thinkers, is telling his fellow realists that at this moment the world's great powers are far more threatened by climate change than they are by each other.' - Ivan Krastev, author of The Light That Failed

In the past tw
Published March 5th 2020 by Allen Lane
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Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Anatol Lieven makes the unfashionable argument that a world of revived nationalisms is today our shortest path away from collective climate apocalypse. Lieven argues correctly that strong states are the only powers on earth today capable of steering us away from the approaching iceberg of environmental collapse. To that end, we need to do everything we can to make these states as strong and as united as possible. If climate change is really the most important issue on earth, and Lieven argues co ...more
‘Climate Change and the Nation State: The Realist Case’ by Anatol Lieven is different from previous books that I have read on climate change.

Its author is not a scientist but a former journalist turned professor, who teaches and writes on global policies, war studies, and international relations. As a result his approach is looking at social trends including how our predecessors dealt with the Industrial Revolution, major wars, and other upheavals.

Throughout the book he stresses the need not onl
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
A mess of political logic: Lieven makes a case for nationalist immigration restriction as a response to climate change, and yet repeatedly describes Trump and Brexit as a disaster: what? He paints an alarming picture of Bangladesh’s dire fate and yet still suggests hard border enforcement in the face of mass climate change induced migration is a sustainable ethical position: what?

He begins from the (IMO correct) premise that addressing climate change requires a strong state. But then he goes on
Mark Joyce
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Provocative but insubstantial and very US-centric. The key arguments could probably have been distilled to an essay or newspaper op-ed without losing much impact. There are only two references to the Paris Agreement across the entire text, which seems bizarre for a book purporting to engage with the international politics of climate change in 2020. Whatever your views on Paris, it’s the best global framework we currently have and offering some critique of it is surely a precondition of seriousne ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Anatol Lieven offers an original take on climate solutions. Against the liberal internationalism of most environmentalists and climate activists such as Naomi Klein, Lieven sees nationalism in a positive light. Obviously, he's not talking about the ethnic/white nationalism of the alt right in the US or far right parties in Europe. Instead, Lieven means the liberal nationalism that allowed the nation state in the last 300 years to replace the loosely governed monarchies and empires of the past. M ...more
Feb 26, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more compelling of an argument than I expected. I'm not as convinced that the left is incapable of building the political will to fight climate change, but it's certainly understandable why someone would think that. Given that, the case for nationalism on a country by country basis is decent and mostly reasonable. The book falters though because it doesn't address competing nationalisms. Even assuming building a pro climate nationalism in every country is possible and happens, every coun ...more
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Anatol Lieven currently reports from Central Europe for the Financial Times. In 1996-97 he was visiting senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence, published by Yale University Press.

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