1 - Frontiers  pp. 3-11


By James N. Rosenau

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For years, with considerable care

I traced a boundary that wasn't there

It wasn't there every day

Gee, I wanted it to go away

At last, I am ready to declare

That the boundary was never there

And no matter what you say

It wasn't there again today

And so now it seems clear

We must let the boundary disappear

Let it yield pride of place

To a new and wide political space

A space that is so manifestly near

As to be a broad and porous frontier

Where new and old actors vie

Seeking to shape pieces of the pie

This adaptation of a well-known nursery rhyme is not simply autobiographical. More than a few observers have come to recognize that in a rapidly changing, interdependent world the separation of national and international affairs is problematic.1 The rhyme gives voice to a desire for stability, to a longing for certitude as to what organizes and governs the course of events, to a sense that logically boundaries should divide domestic and foreign affairs. But it also acknowledges that such boundaries may continually elude our grasp because the phenomena, problems, and processes of greatest interest are not confined by them. To probe the domestic as aspects of “comparative politics” and examine the foreign as dimensions of “international politics” is more than arbitrary: it is downright erroneous. Domestic and foreign affairs have always formed a seamless web and the need to treat them as such is urgent in this time of enormous transformation.