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of wealth; and the desire to impose an ideology on a society.

In every conflict current in the world elements of these four themes can be detected. However, in different epochs in world history, one theme has tended to predominate over the others. We see how territorial questions were of prime consideration in the ancient world; how the period from the Crusades through to the Reformation and CounterReformation was dominated by the pursuit of power in order to assert control over the religious feelings of peoples; how from the time of Spain’s and Portugal’s global explorations from the late 15th century through to the British imperial heyday of the late 19th the pursuit of power was stimulated by the pursuit of wealth; and how, hard upon the influence of Marx and Nietzsche, the 20th century became a battleground of ideologies.

The essay’s conclusion describes how each of these themes is active in current international relations, and how power remains the key to all his­tory. As such, the book takes issue with the theme of Francis Fukuyama’s celebrated 1989 essay The End of History, in which he argued that the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet empire represented ‘the end of history as such: that is, the endpoint of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government’. It argues that such x

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