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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

3. Liberalism and Liberal Internationalism  

Patrick Morgan and Alan Collins

This chapter presents the liberalism approach to the theory and practice of international politics. As one of the two classic conceptions, along with realism, of international politics, its chief characteristics are identified and the major liberalist schools of thought are described and briefly examined, particularly with reference to how they overlap with, yet depart in significant ways from, the realist perspective. The concluding sections explore how contemporary liberal internationalism has lost significant power and appeal because the major Western states of the world system are experiencing serious international and domestic difficulties. It closes by indicating that the Western liberal internationalist order will likely lose a sizeable portion of its long-standing international dominance, resulting in a more widely spread global security management arrangement among a larger number of major states.