Edward Keene argues that the conventional idea of an 'anarchical society' of equal and independent sovereign states is an inadequate description of order in modern world politics. International political and legal order has always been dedicated to two distinct goals: to try to promote the toleration of different ways of life, while advocating the adoption of one specific way, that it labels 'civilization'. The nineteenth-century solution to this contradiction was to restrict the promotion of civilization to the world beyond Europe. That discriminatory way of thinking has now broken down, with the result that a single, global order is supposed to apply to everyone, but opinion is still very much divided as to what the ultimate purpose of this global order should be, and how its political and legal structure should be organised.

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