The notion of internationalism suggests that institution-building and peaceful co-operation will cause peace and security to prevail in a system of independent states. This work examines this controversial topic and asks whether such a view is realistic, or if international relations are typically characterized by tension and war. Goldmann seeks to examine the plausibility of internationalism under present-day conditions. A theory of internationalism is outlined and is shown to have two dimensions: one coercive, to enforce the rules and decisions of international institutions; and one accommodative, to avoid confrontation by means of mutual understanding and compromise. Problematic features of the theory are then considered in detail, such as: the assumption that all international co-operation tends to inhibit war; and the tension inherent in the joint pursuit of coercion and accommodation.