A Liberal World Order in Crisis
Choosing between Imposition and Restraint
Publication Year: 2011
The collapse of the bipolar international system near the end of the twentieth century changed political liberalism from a regional system with aspirations of universality to global ideological dominance as the basic vision of how international life should be organized. Yet in the last two decades liberal democracies have not been able to create an effective and legitimate liberal world order. In A Liberal World Order in Crisis, Georg Sorensen suggests that this is connected to major tensions between two strains of liberalism: a "liberalism of imposition" affirms the universal validity of liberal values and is ready to use any means to secure the worldwide expansion of liberal principles. A "liberalism of restraint" emphasizes nonintervention, moderation, and respect for others.
This book is the first comprehensive discussion of how tensions in liberalism create problems for the establishment of a liberal world order. The book is also the first skeptical liberal statement to appear since the era of liberal optimism-based in anticipation of the end of history-in the 1990s. Sorensen identifies major competing analyses of world order and explains why their focus on balance-of-power competition, civilizational conflict, international terrorism, and fragile states is insufficient.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...for liberal thinking about international affairs and for liberal politics: the Cold War had ended with liberal victory, and that created great expectations for a long phase of sustained progress for liberal democracy, liberal inter-national institutions, the liberal world economy, and liberal values. By the turn of the century, or even earlier, it was clear that any such hope for liberal ...
Introduction: The Argument
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...any previous order in history: it is dominated by free, democratic states, there is almost universal support for a state-market arrangement based on private property and free market exchange, and a vast network of international insti-tutions articulate and support liberal doctrines. At the same time, progress is much less secure in many areas than it might seem at first glance; for example, ...
1. The Debate on World Order
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...characteristics of world order has led to a considerable amount of confusion among scholars as well as among policymakers. What kind of order is emerg-ing now? Is it the “liberal moment” (Fukuyama 1992); a multipolar balance of power and a new round of potentially hostile competition between states (Waltz 1993, 2002); a “clash of civilizations” (Huntington 1996); “Jihad vs. ...
2. Tensions in Liberalism: Universal Values for All or a Pluralist World?
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...eral values that make up the foundation for a liberal world order are fraught with tensions and possible contradictions. The liberal difficulties are con-nected to the very core of the liberal creed: the complex entity of liberty. This chapter will demonstrate how the concept of liberty can be interpreted in very different ways. It also illuminates liberal tensions in the international ...
3. Values and Liberal World Order
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...earlier as a central element of liberal world order. At the same time, any endorsement of liberal values must confront the tension between a Liberal-ism of Restraint and a Liberalism of Imposition, as clarified in chapter 2. What does that mean for the promotion and status of liberal values in the world? The Liberalism of Imposition was accompanied by a strong optimism ...
4. A Different Security Dilemma: Liberals Facing Weak and Failed States
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...culties for liberal states of responding appropriately to the challenges of weak and failed states are intimately connected to the tension between Liberal Restraint and Liberal Imposition. A policy of Restraint was embarked upon in the context of decolonization; a policy of Imposition has dominated the agenda in the new millennium. Neither the Liberalism of Restraint nor the ...
5. Free Markets for All: The Difficulties of Maintaining a Stable Liberal World Economy
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...liberal world order. A stable global economy based on liberal principles of free markets and private property is a cornerstone of liberal world order. Some will see the economy as the easy part of the liberal project; there is, after all, almost universal support today for a liberal-capitalist free market arrange-ment. Even classic, diehard opponents of a liberal economy, such as North ...
6. Institutions and Liberal World Order
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...play a significant role in any liberal order. Institutions were defined in chap-ter 2 as sets of rules, formal and informal, that states and other actors play by. According to liberals, a rule-based order is much to be preferred to the alternative, an order without rules. That is because even powerful actors such as great powers would face very high costs if they were to use only force ...
Conclusion: Prospects for Liberal World Order
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...ern Europe confirmed the rising popularity of liberal democracy: “to live under autocracy, or even to be an autocrat, seems backward, uncivilized, dis-tasteful, not quite comme il faut —in a word, ‘uncool’ ” (Nadia 1996: 15). In 2007, a mere eleven years later, Time Magazine celebrated Vladimir Putin as “Person of the Year”; a man with “steely confidence and strength,” he had ...
List of Abbreviations
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Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2011