The emerging pattern of crisis and war triggered by the terror attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001 and sustained through successive wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, provides a new context within which we must re-evaluate the English School claim that international society is a key element in the reality of world politics. From today's perspective, two dilemmas are undermining international society. There is the old fear that international order - meaning the security of the actors and the stability of the system - cannot be sustained without the members of international society participating in the working of common institutions. And there is the new fear that US preponderance is such that even prudential considerations are not sufficient to compel it to act in ways that support international order. Running these arguments together, we are forced to address the question, `How far can international society be maintained alongside a hierarchical system?'