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97 Foreign Aff. 16 (2018)
Liberal World: The Resilient Order

handle is hein.journals/fora97 and id is 656 raw text is: 

Liberal World

The Resilient Order

Daniel Deudney and
G. John Ikenberry
ecades after they were suppos-
         edly banished from the West, the
         dark forces of world politics-
illiberalism, autocracy, nationalism,
protectionism, spheres of influence,
territorial revisionism- have reasserted
themselves. China and Russia have dashed
all hopes that they would quickly transi-
tion to democracy and support the liberal
world order. To the contrary, they have
strengthened their authoritarian systems
at home and flouted norms abroad.
Even more stunning, with the United
Kingdom having voted for Brexit and
the United States having elected Donald
Trump as president, the leading patrons
of the liberal world order have chosen to
undermine their own system. Across the
world, a new nationalist mindset has
emerged, one that views international
institutions and globalization as threats
to national sovereignty and identity
rather than opportunities.
   The recent rise of illiberal forces and
leaders is certainly worrisome. Yet it is
too soon to write the obituary of liberal-
ism as a theory of international relations,
liberal democracy as a system of govern-
ment, or the liberal order as the overarch-
ing framework for global politics. The
DANIEL DEUDNEY is Associate Professor of
Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.
G. JOHN IKENBERRY is Albert G. Milbank
Professor of Politics and International Affairs at
Princeton University.

liberal vision of nation-states cooper-
ating to achieve security and prosperity
remains as vital today as at any time in
the modern age. In the long course of
history, liberal democracy has hit hard
times before, only to rebound and gain
ground. It has done so thanks to the
appeal of its basic values and its unique
capacities to effectively grapple with
the problems of modernity and
   The order will endure, too. Even
though the United States' relative power
is waning, the international system that
the country has sustained for seven
decades is remarkably durable. As long
as interdependence-economic, security-
related, and environmental-continues to
grow, peoples and governments every-
where will be compelled to work together
to solve problems or suffer grievous harm.
By necessity, these efforts will build on
and strengthen the institutions of the
liberal order.

Modern liberalism holds that world
politics requires new levels of political
integration in response to relentlessly
rising interdependence. But political
orders do not arise spontaneously, and
liberals argue that a world with more
liberal democratic capitalist states will be
more peaceful, prosperous, and respect-
ful of human rights. It is not inevitable
that history will end with the triumph
of liberalism, but it is inevitable that a
decent world order will be liberal.
   The recent rise of illiberal forces and
the apparent recession of the liberal
international order may seem to call this
school of thought into question. But
despite some notable exceptions, states
still mostly interact through well-worn


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