The Fall of the Berlin Wall left an international system without a name. Behind these imprecisions is a profound continuity: the oligarchic stubborness of the states community, started in 1815 by a diplomatic entente that has never disappeared despite highs and lows. It is embodied today in the G8 and the G20, presented by the media as the new directors of the world, though they often find themselves powerless and at an impasse. What results is what Bertrand Badie terms connivance diplomacy: limited in its performances, defensive of its privileges, intermediary between competition and cooperation, it is mostly precluding in its practices. By raising various forms of protest it confuses the international game instead of ordering it. This approach to international relations is examined here through its history, its functions, and its failures, calling into question the sometimes obscure notion of an international system.