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Trends in the Sovereign State
Defining Trends
U.S. Security Interests
Key U.S. Security Policy Issues

Trends in the Sovereign State

During the late 1980's when authoritarian governments were collapsing en masse, some commentators insisted that an era of world peace was beginning, based on near-universal acceptance of individual freedoms, national self-determination, and the triumph of free market capitalism. The twin principles of the 1975 Helsinki Accords--the territorial integrity of sovereign states and government respect for popular rights, including political rights--appeared to have gained wide acceptance. Adam Smith had replaced Karl Marx as the universal economic prophet.

By the mid-1990s, however, it was evident that the trend toward democracy had faltered or even reversed in some countries. Nationalism had revealed its ugly side. And the most serious world economic downturn since the Great Depression had disillusioned many recent converts to the faith of capitalism and economic globalization.

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