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The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010

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Overview

Some blame the violence and unrest in the Muslim world on Islam itself, arguing that the religion and its history is inherently bloody. Others blame the United States, arguing that American attempts to spread democracy by force have destabilized the region, and that these efforts are somehow radical or unique. Challenging these views, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics reveals how the Muslim world is in the throes of an ideological struggle that extends far beyond the Middle East, and how struggles like it have been a recurring feature of international relations since the dawn of the modern European state.

John Owen examines more than two hundred cases of forcible regime promotion over the past five centuries, offering the first systematic study of this common state practice. He looks at conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism between 1520 and the 1680s; republicanism and monarchy between 1770 and 1850; and communism, fascism, and liberal democracy from 1917 until the late 1980s. He shows how regime promotion can follow regime unrest in the eventual target state or a war involving a great power, and how this can provoke elites across states to polarize according to ideology. Owen traces how conflicts arise and ultimately fade as one ideology wins favor with more elites in more countries, and he demonstrates how the struggle between secularism and Islamism in Muslim countries today reflects broader transnational trends in world history.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
The historical narratives Owen employs to test this theory are nuanced, illuminating, and a joy to read.
— Peter Liberman
International Affairs
Owen provides the most compelling explanatory framework to date for examining forcible regime promotions, supported by a convincing historical narrative that sets the bar high for future works on the subject. More importantly, Owen's book is a welcome contribution providing a timely toolbox for both academics and policy analysts to examine the ongoing events in the Middle East and beyond.
— Luca Tardelli
Canadian Journal of History
Owen . . . makes use of formidable analytical skills to reveal patterns in 209 instances internationally and demonstrate the use of regime promotion as a strategic weapon. . . . Recommended.
— Ellen J. Jenkins
European Legacy
[T]he depth of learning that informs the historical aim of Owen's text is proof of the validity of historical work, regardless of the fact that it does not and cannot enable us to make precise predictions.
— Jeff Noonan
Foreign Affairs - Peter Liberman
The historical narratives Owen employs to test this theory are nuanced, illuminating, and a joy to read.
International Affairs - Luca Tardelli
Owen provides the most compelling explanatory framework to date for examining forcible regime promotions, supported by a convincing historical narrative that sets the bar high for future works on the subject. More importantly, Owen's book is a welcome contribution providing a timely toolbox for both academics and policy analysts to examine the ongoing events in the Middle East and beyond.
Canadian Journal of History - Ellen J. Jenkins
Owen . . . makes use of formidable analytical skills to reveal patterns in 209 instances internationally and demonstrate the use of regime promotion as a strategic weapon. . . . Recommended.
European Legacy - Jeff Noonan
[T]he depth of learning that informs the historical aim of Owen's text is proof of the validity of historical work, regardless of the fact that it does not and cannot enable us to make precise predictions.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2011 Lepgold Prize, Mortara Center for International Studies, Georgetown University

"The historical narratives Owen employs to test this theory are nuanced, illuminating, and a joy to read."—Peter Liberman, Foreign Affairs

"Owen provides the most compelling explanatory framework to date for examining forcible regime promotions, supported by a convincing historical narrative that sets the bar high for future works on the subject. More importantly, Owen's book is a welcome contribution providing a timely toolbox for both academics and policy analysts to examine the ongoing events in the Middle East and beyond."—Luca Tardelli, International Affairs

"Owen . . . makes use of formidable analytical skills to reveal patterns in 209 instances internationally and demonstrate the use of regime promotion as a strategic weapon. . . . Recommended."—Ellen J. Jenkins, Canadian Journal of History

"[T]he depth of learning that informs the historical aim of Owen's text is proof of the validity of historical work, regardless of the fact that it does not and cannot enable us to make precise predictions."—Jeff Noonan, European Legacy

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John M. Owen IV is associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables ix

Acknowledgments xi

Chapter 1 Forcible Regime Promotion, Then and Now 1

Chapter 2 The Agents: Transnational Networks and Governments 31

Chapter 3 The Structures: Transnational Ideological Contests 53

Chapter 4 Church and State, 1510-1700 79

Chapter 5 Crown, Nobility, and People, 1770-1870 122

Chapter 6 Individual, Class, and State, 1910-1990 161

Chapter 7 Mosque and State, 1923- 202

Chapter 8 The Future of Forcible Regime Promotion 240

Appendix 272

Notes 277

Index 319

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