Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)
G. John Ikenberry
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In the second half of the twentieth century, the United States engaged in the most ambitious and far-reaching liberal order building the world had yet seen. This liberal international order has been one of the most successful in history in providing security and prosperity to more people. But in the last decade, the American-led order has been troubled. Some argue that the Bush administration, with its war on terror, invasion of Iraq, and unilateral orientation, undermined this liberal order. Others argue that we are witnessing the end of the American era. Liberal Leviathan engages these debates.
G. John Ikenberry argues that the crisis that besets the American-led order is a crisis of authority. A political struggle has been ignited over the distribution of roles, rights, and authority within the liberal international order. But the deeper logic of liberal order remains alive and well. The forces that have triggered this crisis--the rise of non-Western states such as China, contested norms of sovereignty, and the deepening of economic and security interdependence--have resulted from the successful functioning and expansion of the postwar liberal order, not its breakdown. The liberal international order has encountered crises in the past and evolved as a result. It will do so again.
Ikenberry provides the most systematic statement yet about the theory and practice of the liberal international order, and a forceful message for policymakers, scholars, and general readers about why America must renegotiate its relationship with the rest of the world and pursue a more enlightened strategy--that of the liberal leviathan.
to which other major states—rising powers such as China and India—in fact want to operate within a liberal international order (of one kind or another). To the extent that their demands on the system are primarily about the distribution of authority and rights, and not about the underlying principles of liberal order as such, it will be more likely that new bargains and agreements can be reached that preserve the basic framework of the existing system. Finally, I return to the question of
violence, 251 Wallace, Henry, 170 Walt, Stephen M., 49n16, 142n31 Waltz, Kenneth, 40, 48, 49, 125, 132, 143, 229 on balance-of-power dynamics, 126 war, 50, 59 aftermath of and “order moments,” 75–76 great-power war, 130–31, 338–40 hegemonic war, 58 privatization of, 251–52 War and Peace Study Group, 173 “Washington consensus,” 222, 232, 236, 236n25 Washington Naval Treaties, 180 Weber, Max, 83, 240 Weisbrode, Kenneth, 181 West Germany, 2–3, 53, 184–85, 185n45, 204, 206, 212, 216
the Cold War, and they worked together to organize open and loosely rule-based relations that were not simple reflections of power hierarchies. Complex and institutionalized forms of cooperation of increasing depth and breadth marked the order—cooperation that continues today. How can we make sense of this American-led order? An international order is a political formation in which settled rules and arrangements exist between states to guide their interaction. How can we describe and situate the
loosely arranged rules and institutions around which world markets and politics turned. Each used its internal market to promote trade abroad and manage an open system of commerce. Britain championed the gold standard as a mechanism to facilitate worldwide trade and investment. Its naval dominance was used to protect shipping and provide security protection to friends and allies. The United States used its power advantages after World War II to reopen the world economy and create an array of
interests with the organization of the international system, and it will be willing to provide the public goods associated with organizing and maintaining an open world economy even if it alone bears the costs. The seminal statement of this thesis is Charles Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929–30 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973). These ideas are developed further in Robert Gilpin, U.S. Power and the Multinational Corporation (New York: Basic Books, 1975); Robert Gilpin,