Interviews | September 20, 2022
Read more about `Inclusion and Exclusion in International Ordering: An Interview with Glenda Sluga`
As the so-called international order comes under increasing pressure in Ukraine and beyond, Toynbee Prize Foundation President Glenda Sluga's book The Invention of International Order: Remaking Europe after Napoleon invites us to engage with the “two centuries of multilateral principles, practices, and expectations” to understand the promises and limits of our contemporary arrangements. It places the recent meeting between Macron and Putin in the context of the rise and consolidation of “a new professional, procedural, and bureaucratic approach to diplomacy, based on the sociability of men." After all, our modern notions of international “politics” or “society” were forged in the aftermath of a previous European-wide conflagration that had France and Russia at its helm: the Napoleonic wars. Others have dismissed the post-Napoleonic diplomatic constellation as reactionary or have lauded it as protoliberal. Sluga, above all, is interested in questioning it. She invites us to: reflect on for whom this order has been built; push against the ways it narrows our perspective; and grapple with its inner tensions and contradictions. By taking women, non-Europeans, and “non-state” actors seriously as political agents, she shows how bankers, Jews, or ambassadrices were ironically crucial in the making of a system that came to exclude them from the historical record. We attempt to make sense of these paradoxes, contradictions, and ambiguities of international ordering in this interview.