Liberal statecraft and the problems of world order

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What is the future of the Western-led liberal international order? This paper makes four arguments. First, over the last two centuries, liberal democracies have pioneered a tradition of international order building, the essential impulse of which has been to create an environment - a sort of cooperative ecosystem - in which liberal states can manage interdependence, protect their values and interests, and aggregate capabilities to defend against threats and challenges to their global position and way of life. Second, liberal democracies have used institutions as tools and mechanisms to respond to dangers and opportunities in the global system, focused on the problems of anarchy, hierarchy, interdependence, liberal openness, and geopolitical vulnerability. Third, the most dramatic forms of liberal order building have occurred after major wars, when liberal democracies found themselves in war and geopolitical competition with rival and threatening illiberal great powers. Finally, liberal internationalism and the liberal project still have a future in that they offer cooperative solutions the core problems of twenty-first century world order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-245
Number of pages12
JournalOxford Review of Economic Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • American hegemony
  • globalization
  • great power politics
  • liberal democracy
  • liberal international order


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