‘“Military power … remains an instrument with which no state has yet found it possible completely to dispense”. So writes Michael Howard in discussing military power and international order’. In a time when abstracts did not precede articles in International Afairs, this was how the then Editor, N. P. MacDonald, introduced Michael Howard's article, ‘Military power and international order’, originally published in volume 40: 3, July 1964 and reprinted in this anniversary issue. It has been chosen because, 45 years later, it still retains astonishing freshness and relevance. Now in 2009, states, and especially the new US administration, will need to assess the emphasis they put on military means to achieve their foreign policy ends, while attempting to deal effectively with, for example, the confects in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and the threat of international terrorism. Michael Howard was not concerned at the same time with terrorism, or transnational actors, but there remain enduring lessons in his 1964 article about the role of the military instrument to advance states' interests.