> Skip to content
  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473590434
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

The Age of Unpeace

How Connectivity Causes Conflict

We thought connecting the world would bring lasting peace. Instead, it is driving us apart.

In the three decades since the end of the Cold War, global leaders have been integrating the world's economy, transport and communications, breaking down borders in the hope of making war impossible. In doing so, they have unwittingly created a formidable arsenal of weapons for new kinds of conflict and the motivation to keep fighting.

Troublingly, we are now seeing rising conflict at every level, from individuals on social media all the way up to nation-states in entrenched stand-offs. The past decade has seen a new antagonism between the US and China; an inability to co-operate on global issues such as climate change or pandemic response; and a breakdown in the distinction between war and peace, as overseas troops are replaced by sanctions, cyberwar and the threat of large migrant flows.

As a leading authority on international relations, Mark Leonard has been inside many of the rooms where our futures, at every level of society, are being decided - from Facebook HQ and facial-recognition labs in China to presidential palaces and remote military installations. In seeking to understand the ways in which globalization has broken its fundamental promise to make our world safer and more prosperous, Leonard explores how we might wrest a more hopeful future from an age of unpeace.

  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473590434
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Praise for The Age of Unpeace

Compulsively readable, Mark Leonard's globe-trotting book not only offers us a fascinating and disturbing panorama, it redefines realism for an age of massive and toxic connectivity. Rather than fleeing into anachronistic visions of grand architecture and Cold War rhetoric, it demands that we face our actual problem. An essential course in geopolitical self-help.

Adam Tooze, author of <i>Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World</i>

We now understand that we live and must live between the duelling utopias of unrestricted globalization and national sovereignty. The task is to make the best of our connections, and here Mark Leonard offers a creative and clarifying way forward.

Timothy Snyder, author of <i>On Tyranny</i>

Mark Leonard has done something extraordinary: written a powerful and persuasive analysis of our 'age of unpeace', in which the three 'empires of connectivity' that define our time-China, the US and Europe-are competing for hegemony by exploiting the very connectedness that ties our world together. This is one of those rare books that defines the terms of our conversation about our times.

Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector, Central European University

There was a time when we all naively thought that a networked world would be awesome. But, as Mark Leonard argues in The Age of Unpeace, 'The connections that knit the world together are also driving it apart. It is not that the Internet and globalization have led to a war of all against all; more that the distinction between war and peace has broken down. 'Connectivity conflicts' are the signature style of the new 'unpeace', an old Anglo-Saxon word that, as Leonard persuasively argues, nicely describes our new era of financial sanctions, trade wars, infowars and cyberwars. Leonard, once a true believer in the European project, is that rare thing: a public intellectual willing to question his own assumptions and come up with fresh - and often surprising - ideas. If you want to understand the geopolitical significance of Grindr, the gay hook-up app, or the historical consequences of Sun Yatsen's Hawaiian childhood, look no further.

Niall Ferguson, author of <i>The Square and the Tower</i> and <i>DOOM: The Politics of Catastrophe</i>

One of Mark Leonard's great strengths is his sensitivity to the zeitgeist. This book is no exception. Rather than rejecting or ignoring the growing rebellion against connectivity, he accepts it and seeks to find ways of responding to it. The result is a highly readable book packed full of insights and ideas about what needs to be done.

Martin Jacques, author of <i>When China Rules The World</i>

Mark Leonard... has been a force in foreign policy thinking for a quarter century... rich in data and anecdote... If you're feeling intellectually disoriented after the fall of Kabul, start here.

Matthew d'Ancona, <i>Tortoise</i>

Thought-provoking... If Leonard is right, then every trade deal or every new technology that brings people closer will also make the world a more dangerous place.

Irish Times

The "age of unpeace" [is] an apt phrase for an era in which wars between states are uncommon but conflict is endemic... Leonard adroitly captures evolving trends in geopolitics over the past decade... Leonard's argument is all the more compelling because of the way his own beliefs have evolved.

New Statesman

Related titles