We need to re-envision international relations (IR). By framing world politics as a world-ofworlds comprised of multiple, interactive and overlapping regional worlds, we can curb the hegemony of the West through Westphalian IR and stem, if not transform, the “cartographic anxieties” that still beset postcolonial states. Both of these provoke state violence externally and internally. This paper examines an East Asian regional world inflected by the 14th-century Chinese epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Noting its conflicts as well as compatibilities with Westphalian IR, I conclude with the implications of this thought experiment for IR and for world politics in general.
- Perceptions Spring-Summer 2019
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