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Cover US Foreign Policy

22. The American liberal order: from creation to crisis  

G. John Ikenberry

This chapter examines the rise and evolution of the liberal order that was created by the United States and and other liberal democratic states in the decades after World War II, along with the modern challenges to it. The liberal order that emerged after World War II paved the way for a rapid expansion in world trade, the successful integration of former enemies such as Japan and Germany, and the transition to liberal democracy in formerly authoritarian states. Furthermore, the collapse of communism was considered a triumph of liberalism. The chapter first explains how the American liberal order was constructed after World War II before discussing the successes of that order and the end of the ‘socialist’ project in the 1980s. It also analyzes some of the major threats to this liberal order today, particularly those from within, as a result of Donald Trump’s rejection of the American liberal tradition.


Cover The Politics of International Law

14. The politics of international law  

Continuity and change

This chapter draws together the key themes of this book, using contemporary debates over the nature and future of international order, and explores likely sources of continuity and change in the politics of international law. It begins by expanding on the concept of international order and, more specifically, the so-called liberal international order that has framed international politics in the postwar period. The chapter asks whether and why the liberal international order is in crisis and how it is likely to evolve. It then turns to the rise of non-Western powers, a phenomenon that many observers have argued is contributing to the crisis of the current order. The focus is on what the changing balance of material power may reveal about the present and future of international law. Finally, the chapter offers some tentative conclusions about the politics of international law two decades into the twenty-first century.


Cover The Globalization of World Politics

7. Liberal internationalism  

Tim Dunne

This chapter examines the core assumptions of liberalism regarding world politics. It explores why liberals believe in progress, what explains the ascendancy of liberal ideas in world politics since 1945, and whether liberal solutions to global problems are hard to achieve and difficult to sustain. The chapter also considers central ideas in liberal thinking on international relations, including internationalism, idealism, and institutionalism. It concludes with an assessment of the challenges confronting liberalism. Two case studies are presented. The first case study looks at the rise and fall of what it terms ‘the indispensable nation’, in other words the old liberal world order, lead by the United States. The other case study examines the African concept of sovereignty: sovereignty as responsibility.


Cover US Foreign Policy

Edited by Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

US Foreign Policy provides a perspective on US foreign policy that is critical and connected. This text aims to help with the critically assessment of US foreign policy, presenting the reader with diverse political perspectives and giving them the tools to come to their own conclusions. Carefully developed ‘major debates’ and ‘controversies’ features help readers to connect theory with the real-world politics. As policy continues to change before our eyes, the text provides an overview of America’s ever-changing role in international politics. This new edition reflects the legacy of the Obama administration, the unfurling impacts of President Donald Trump, and the American role in world affairs. It includes new chapters on gender, religion, East Asia, and the Liberal International Order.


Cover Global Politics

7. International Organizations in Global Politics  

This chapter addresses the nature of international organizations and how they are generally theorized as participants in global politics and then reviews the rise of international organizations from a historical perspective, with particular reference to developments from the nineteenth century onwards. It also discusses the major intergovernmental institutions that emerged in the twentieth century and which have played such an important role in shaping global order. The chapter briefly looks at the League of Nations but most attention is given to its successor, the United Nations (UN), and its various appendages. It then examines the world of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Some of these NGOs possess significant status in the global sphere, others have little relevance, and still others pose dangers. Finally, the chapter considers social movements and their relationship to the contemporary world of international organizations along with the idea of global civil society. In reviewing these institutions, actors, and ideas, we should keep in mind that liberal international theory, especially in the form of liberal institutionalism, as well as proponents of international society, regard robust international organizations as essential building blocks of global order.