Reviews

Lieven reveals a manifesto that offers a refreshingly realist scope on how to solve the looming crisis.

Arguing that the true crisis is lack of mobilisation (rather than a lack of technological know-how or financial capabilities), he suggests the only way to re-orientate our economies around so-called ‘green new deals’ and resist the dominance of emissions-heavy industries on political action is by reimaging a word that’s become unsavoury in modern discourse: nationalism.

Lucy Kehoe, Geographical

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How to heal our planet

This year has been notable for a new crop of works on how we should deal with the problem, brimming with emissions-cutting advice that ranges from the geopolitical to the practical and mystical. By far the most provocative is Climate Change and the Nation State by international relations scholar, Anatol Lieven, a former foreign correspondent for the FT and other news organisations.

Pilita Clark, Financial Times

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Striking

The climate crisis is a test of our character. And Lieven does not like what it reveals. His book offers a blueprint for an epochal social and political transformation.

Adam Tooze, New Statesman

Lieven believes we must start again - or, rather, return to older foundations in the face of this primal threat to our planet's future.

We need, he argues, a new nationalism … We should heed Lieven’s call to action.

Mark Malloch-Brown, Literary Review

Lieven maps out a response to the environmental crisis that draws on both the radical social democracy of Bernie Sanders' Green New Deal and the burgeoning "eco-nationalism" of Europe's reactionary populists.

There’s no denying the prescience of Lieven’s analysis … Lieven offers a sobering account of the climate crisis, how dramatically it is going to reshape human life, and how quickly that transformation is likely to take effect.

Jamie Maxwell, The Herald

Convincing

Lieven weaves his first-hand knowledge and experience into a compelling narrative … He makes a strong case for urgent action, especially by powerful states.

Maria Ivanova, Nature

This is one of those rare books that have something really important to say.

Anatol Lieven, one of the most original and independent-minded foreign policy thinkers, is telling his fellow realists that at this moment the world’s great powers are far more threatened by climate change than they are by each other.

Ivan Krastev, author of The Light That Failed

Passivity in the face of climate change is the fatalism of our age.

Anatol Lieven’s book offers a bracing riposte to those who believe only world government can solve global warming. Lieven makes a brilliant case that the nation state has to be the chief vehicle to confront humanity’s surpassing crisis. Lieven is utterly persuasive about this challenge – above all the importance of our not allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good. If you read one book on global warming, this should be it.

Edward Luce, author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism

Thus far, the global response to climate change emphasises talk rather than effective action.

Lieven fills this strategic void by insisting that enlightened civic nationalism alone can stem this threat. Only the nation state can constrain corporate capitalism from further harming the environment. Only the nation state can motivate citizens to make the sacrifices needed to curb the mounting damage. This is a bold, original, gutsy, and absolutely essential book.

Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The Age of Illusions

Lieven makes a compelling case for contesting the intolerant and anti-scientific far right's would-be monopoly on the language, imagery, and emotions of nationalism.

This book is a clarion call for a renewed civic nationalism focused on the preservation of the environment and the arresting of climate change as vital aspects of a shared national and international good-one that true patriots of any country ought to place at the front and center of their political agenda.

Aviel Roshwald, Professor of History, Georgetown University

Climate activists have yet to devise a successful political strategy for dramatically reducing the pace of warming.

In his brilliant new book, Lieven argues that ‘civic nationalism,’ combining loyalty to the nation and public sacrifice, is the only strategy with a chance at success.While not everyone may agree with his conclusions, it is impossible to escape the hard logic of his reasoning.

Michael Klare, author of All Hell Breaking Loose

About the Author

Anatol Lieven is a professor in Georgetown University in Qatar. He is a visiting professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College London, a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC and a member of the academic board of the Valdai discussion club in Russia. He also serves on the advisory committee of the South Asia Department of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He holds a BA and PhD from Cambridge University in England.

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Description

Climate Change and the Nation State represents a maturing of our response to the climate crisis. By refocusing the debate about climate change on the national rather than the global level, Anatol Lieven concentrates on the states and institutions that can take effective action, and on how mass support for such action can be motivated. This involves a recognition of climate change as an existential threat to existing nation states, and an appeal to progressive  nationalism in response.

In Lieven’s important new book, he provides the Realist frame that has long been needed to understand how we can react effectively to the danger of climate change. This response will require radical changes to our economies and societies, but he reminds us that in the past we have faced and overcome such immense challenges: the total wars of the 20th Century, and the creation of social programmes to civilise industrial society and save capitalism from itself.

In a series of incisive, compelling arguments, Lieven shows how in this emergency our crucial building block is the nation state. The drastic action required to change our societies may be inspired in part by internationalist idealism but can only carried out by the institutions of effective nation states, backed by public legitimacy. This requires different national versions of what has been called the “Green New Deal”: to rebuild social solidarity, not only in order to justify the sacrifices that will be necessary in the fight to limit climate change, but in order to strengthen our societies so as to withstand some damaging effects of climate change that are already inevitable. This will also require new policies to limit migration and deal with the impact of artificial intelligence.

Anatol Lieven is a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and a Fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC. He was previously a professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College, London. He worked for twelve years as a British foreign correspondent, reporting from South Asia, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe for The Times and other publications. His books include Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power (1998); America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (2011); Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World (2006) and Pakistan: A Hard Country (2011).