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Liberal Internationalism 3.

0: America and the Dilemmas of Liberal World Order


Author(s): G. John Ikenberry
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Source: Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Mar., 2009), pp. 71-87
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Articles

Liberal Internationalism3.0: America and


the Dilemmas of Liberal World Order
G. JohnIkenberry

Liberalinternational order- both its ideas and real-worldpoliticalformations - is not embodied in a fixedset of
principlesor
practices.Open markets, internationalinstitutions, democratic
cooperativesecurity, community, progressive change,collectiveprob-
lemsolving,theruleoflaw- theseareaspectsoftheliberalvisionthathavemadeappearancesinvariouscombinationsand changing
waysoverthelastcentury. I arguethatitis possibleto identify
threeversionsor modelsofliberalinternational order- versions1.0,
2.0, and 3.0. The firstis associatedwiththeideas ofWoodrowWilson,thesecond is theCold War liberalinternationalism ofthe
post-1945 decades,and thethirdversionis a sortof post-hegemonic liberalinternationalism
thathas onlypartiallyappearedand
whosefullshapeand logicis stilluncertain.I developa setofdimensionsthatallow foridentifying different logicsofliberalinter-
nationalorderand identify variablesthatwillshapethemovementfromliberalinternationalism 2.0 to 3.0.

the past century,the liberalinternational unfolding overthelasttwo- centuries hasbeenwhatmight


"project" has evolvedand periodically reinvented be calledthe"liberalascendency." This has involvedthe
itself.The liberalinternationalideaschampioned extraordinary riseof the liberaldemocraticstatesfrom
by WoodrowWilson wereextendedand reworkedby weakness andobscurity in thelateeighteenth century into
FranklinRoosevelt andHarry Truman. Todaysliberalinter- theworld'smostpowerful and wealthystates,propelling
nationalist is
agenda evolving yetagain.The actualorders theWestand the liberalcapitalistsystemof economics
themselves,builtafter the two worldwarsandintheafter- and politicstoworldpreeminence. All ofthisoccurred in
mathoftheCold War,havealsodiffered in theirlogicand fitsand startsin thetwentieth century amidst world war
Liberalinternational
character. order- bothitsideasand and economicupheaval.At historical junctures alongthe
real-world
politicalformations - isnotembodiedina fixed way, liberalstates have pursued various effortsto establish
setofprinciplesorpractices. Open markets, international rulesand institutions of international governance. Adap-
institutions,
cooperative democratic
security, community, tationand innovation, necessity and choice,successand
change,collective problemsolving, sharedsov- failure - alloftheseareaspectsofliberalinternationalisms
progressive
the
ereignty, ruleof law- theseare aspects theliberal
of movement alongitstwentieth century pathway.
visionthathavemade appearancesin variouscombina- It is possibleto identify threemajorversions ormodels
tionsand changing waysoverthedecades. ofliberalinternational order - calltheseversions1.0,2.0,
In grandhistorical thismakessense.The
perspective, and 3.0. The first is associatedwiththeideasthatWood-
mostimportant macro-transformation in worldpolitics rowWilsonand Anglo-American liberalsbroughtto the
post- World War I international settlement; thesecondis
the Cold War liberalinternationalism of thepost-1945
G JohnIkenberry is theAlbertG Milbank Professor of decades;and thethirdversionis a sortofpost-hegemonic
and
Politics Affairsat PrincetonUniversity
International liberalinternationalism thathas onlypartially appeared
in theWoodrowWilsonSchooland thePoliticsDepartment and whosefullshapeand logic is stilluncertain. In its
(gji3@Princeton.EDU). He is also a Global Eminence early twentieth century form, liberal order was defined in
Scholarat KyungHee University, Korea. He is theauthor termsofstateindependence and thebuildingofan inter-
ofAfterVictory:Institutions, and
Restraint,
Strategic nationallegalorderthatreinforced normsof statesover-
theRebuildingofOrderafterMajorWar (Princeton eignty and non-intervention. In the earlytwenty-first
University Press2001). He would like to acknowledge century, liberalorderis increasingly definedin termsof
and
comments suggestions byMichael Doyle,AndrewHur- thereverse. It is an evolving ordermarkedbyincreasingly
rell,Miles Kahler,JeffLegro,AndrewMoravcsik,Daniel and
far-reaching complex forms of international cooper-
Nexon,Alan Alexandroff, and membersofthePrinceton ationthaterodestatesovereignty andreallocate on a global
University workshop risingstatesand globalgovernance.
on scalethesitesand sourcesofpoliticalauthority.

doi:10.1017/S15375927090901 12 March 2009 | Voi, 7/No. 1 71

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

The UnitedStateswas themajorchampionand spon- Dimensions of Liberal


sor of the liberalinternational projectin the twentieth Internationalism
century. But at each turn, the role and functionof the The liberalimagination is vast,and theideasand designs
UnitedStatesin the liberalinternational orderhas dif- forliberalinternational orderarealsoextraordinarily wide
fered.Indeed,thewaysin whichAmericaspreeminent ranging.1 At itsmost basic, liberal internationalism offers
geopoliticalpositionhas simultaneously facilitated and a visionof an open, rule-basedsystemin whichstates
the
impeded operation ofan open, rule-based liberalorder tradeand cooperateto achievemutualgains.2Liberals
is a criticalaspectshapingthe characterand logic of assumethatpeoplesandgovernments havedeepcommon
liberalorderitself.In thepost-1945 period,theUnited interestsin theestablishment ofa cooperative worldorder
Statesgradually becamethehegemonic organizer andman- organized around principles of restraint, reciprocity, and
ager of Western liberal order. The American political sovereign equality.There is an optimist assumption lurk-
system - and its alliances,technology,currency,and ing in liberalinternationalism thatstatescan overcome
markets - becamefusedto thewiderliberalorder.The constraints andcooperatetosolvesecurity dilemmas, pur-
United Statessupportedthe rulesand institutions of sue collectiveaction,and createan open,stablesystem.
liberalinternationalism but it was also given special Thereisalsoan optimistic assumption thatpowerful states
privileges.In the shadowof the Cold War,the United willact withrestraint in theexerciseof theirpowerand
States became the "ownerand operator"of the liberal findwaysto credibly conveycommitments tootherstates.
capitalistpoliticalsystem. The questiontodayis howwill Acrossthe decades,liberalinternationalists haveshared
-
the systemevolve and how will the United States theviewthattradeand exchange havea modernizing and
respond - to a successor liberalorderin whichtheUnited civilizingeffect on states,undercutting illiberaltendencies
Statesplaysa lessdominating role?How necessary is the and strengthening thefabricofinternational community.
UnitedStatesas a liberalhegemonicleader to the stabil- Liberalinternationalists alsosharetheviewthatdemocra-
of liberalinternationalism? And will ciesare- incontrast toautocratic andauthoritarian states -
ityand functioning
theUnitedStatesremaina supporter of liberal orderin particularly able and to
willing operate within a open,
an era when it has fewerspecialprivileges? halfa For rule-based international system andtocooperate formutual
century, the UnitedStatesessentially had liberalorder gain. Likewise,liberalinternationalists have sharedthe
builtto itsspecifications. What happenswhenthisspe- viewthatinstitutions and rulesestablished betweenstates
cial statusends? facilitateand reinforce cooperation and collective prob-
This articlehas twogoals.One is to map thevarious lemsolving.3
models of liberalinternational order - both in ideal- Beyondthesegeneral, sharedliberalconvictions, there
typical terms and in their historical setting. This entails is a greatdeal ofvariation in theordering ideasofliberal
specifying the dimensions along which liberal inter- internationalism. In particular, liberalinternationalist ideas
nationalordercanvaryandidentifying thelogicandfunc- and real-world orders have differed in regard to how sov-
tionsof theseideal-typical orders.A secondgoal is to ereignty, and
rules,institutions, authority are to be arrayed
probe the alternative and changingwaysin whichthe withintheinternational system. How liberalorderis tobe
UnitedStateshas interacted withinternational order.In governed - thatis,thelocationofrulesandauthority - is
particular,I delineate thealternative liberalpathways that thegreatunresolved, contested, and evolving issue lib-
of
mightexistas theylead awayfromthepost-1945 U.S.- eralinternationalism.
centered order - thatis,themovement fromliberalinter- Lookingbackat thevariousvisionsof liberalorderin
nationalism 2.0 to 3.0. the twentieth century, it is possibleto identify fivekey
I beginby lookingat the majordimensionsaround dimensionsof variation:participatory scope, sovereign
whichliberalordercan vary.Afterthis,I surveythe independence, sovereign equality, ruleoflaw,and policy
majorhistorical erasofliberalinternational order,includ- breadthand depth.Thesedimensions aresummarized in
ing the transitional contemporary era. I arguethatthe figure1.
"thirdera"ofliberalinternational orderhingesin impor- Scope refers to thesizeofliberalorder;whether it is a
tant ways on whetherand how the United States selectivegrouping or globalin scope.This is a distinction
can accommodateitselfto diminishedauthorityand betweenorderthatis builtaroundan exclusive grouping
sovereignty. The questionforAmericanpolicymakers ofstates(definedbyregionalor othersharedcharacteris-
iswhether bargains andotherarrangements canbe made- tics)oropeninaccessandmembership toallstates(defined
in
particularly securitycooperation that provide - byuniversal principles). Liberalordercan be constructed
waysforthe UnitedStatesto remainat the centerof betweenWesterndemocracies or withinthewiderglobal
liberalinternational order.New formsof governance - system. In onecaseitissituated withinan exclusive group-
networks andinformal steering -
groups willbecomemore ingoflike-minded states- theWest,the"free world,"the
importantin a post-American-centered liberal inter- Atlanticcommunity - and in theotherit is open to the
nationalorder. entireworld.

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Figure1
Dimensions of liberal internationalorder

universal4* scope w^ regionalor exclusive


sovereign- w
autonomous ^* * shared
independence
equal ^ sovereign- equality 4> hierarchical
legal-binding^ ruleoflaw 4> ad hoc
narrow^ policydomain ^ expansive

Sovereign independence refers to thedegreeto which advantages ofstatesshapeinteraction. Hierarchicalorder-


liberalorderentailslegal-political restrictions on statesov- whichconfers and
unequalprivileges authority to the most
ereignty.Sovereignty in this sense refersto thestates exclu- powerfulstateor states - can also be moreor less rule
siveclaimstoauthority withinitsterritory, manifest in the based.
internationally recognized domestic formal-legal rightto Finally,liberalordercan varyin termsof thebreadth
issuecommandsand enforce obligations. Statescan pos- and depthofitspolicydomains.The international order
sessfullWestphalian legalsovereignty andinteraction with canbe organized todealwithonlya narrow policy domain.
otherstateson thisbasis,or agreements and institutions It could be essentially focusedonlyon traditional inter-
can be constructed thatinvolvethesharingand abridge- statesecurity challenges. Or it can be to
organized deal
mentof statesovereignty. On the one hand,statescan witha moreexpansive setofsocial,economic,andhuman
cede sovereign to
authority supranational institutions or rights The moreexpansive
challenges. thepolicydomains
reducetheautonomy oftheirdecisionmakingbymaking of liberalorder,themorethattheinternational commu-
agreedupon commitments to otherstates.On theother nityis expectedto be organized to intervene,control, reg-
hand, states can retain their legalandpoliticalrights within ulate,and protectaspectsof politicsand societywithin
widerframeworks ofinter-state cooperation.4 and acrossstates.
Sovereign equality refers tothedegree ofhierarchy within Thesedimensions ofliberalorderhelpus identify and
theliberalorder.Hierarchy refersto thedegreeof differ- contrastthevarious historical
manifestations ofliberalinter-
entiation ofrights and authority withintheinternational nationalorder.Referto figure2 fora summary of these
system. Liberal order can be organizedaroundthesover- differences.
eignequality of states- a veryhorizontal ordering based As thefollowing sectionsdemonstrate, thelogicsoflib-
on principles ofequalaccess,rights, andparticipation. Or eralinternational orderhaveevolved - and at specifichis-
liberalordercan be morehierarchical in whichone or toricalmomentstheyhave been transformed. I do not
severalstatespossessspecialrightsand authority. In an offera causaltheory ofwhyliberalorderhasevolvedover
order marked bysovereign equality there is very littledif- the last century.Such explanatoryefforts have been
ferentiation ofrolesand responsibilities. States enter into attempted elsewhere.7 The efforts herearetypological -
agreements and cooperateas moreorlessequalparties.In to
thatis, identify thechangingwaysthatliberalinter-
a hierarchical order,therolesand responsibilities willbe nationalorderhas beenenvisaged and constructed.
moredifferentiated - and statesare organized, formally or
informally, aroundsuperordinate and subordinate author-
ityrelationships.5 Liberal InternationalOrder 1.0
Ruleoflaw refers to thedegreeto whichagreed-upon The first to construct
efforts a liberalinternationalorder
rulesinfuse the operationof theorder.The "ruliness" of camein theaftermath ofWorldWarI withideasfamously
liberalordercan vary.The interaction of statesmaybe advancedbyWoodrowWilson.The Wilsonianvisionwas
informed by highlyarticulated setsof rulesand institu- of an internationalorderorganizedarounda globalcol-
tionsthatprescribe and proscribe actions.Or theinter- bodyin whichsovereign
lectivesecurity stateswouldact
action of states can be informed by moread hoc and to a
together uphold system of territorial
peace. Open
bargained relations.6 Even ad hoc and bargained relations trade,nationalself-determination,anda beliefin progres-
areinformed of
bysomeminimalsense rules onlyby - if siveglobalchangealso undergirded theWilsonianworld
thenotionof reciprocity. Nonetheless, variations existin view.It was a "one world"visionof nation-states that
the degreeto whichgeneralized rulesand principlesof tradeand interactin a multilateral
systemoflawscreating
orderprevailor whetherspecificpowersand bargaining an orderlyinternational community. "What we seek,"

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

Figure 2 mentsto act in concertto protectterritorial bordersand


Three Versions of Liberal Internationalism deteraggression (when there is unanimous consensus that
is
aggression takingplace). The League itself provided
Liberal Internationalism1.0
mechanisms fordisputeresolution. Thereis sometension
Universal membership,not tied to regime location or character. in theWilsoniannotionof a universal liberalorder.On
theone hand,Wilsondid holdtheviewthata stableand
Westphalian sovereignty,defined in terms of an international
state independence and non-intervention
legal order affirming peacefulinternational orderwouldneedtobe builtaround
liberaldemocratic states.Accountablegovernments that
Flat politicalhierarchy
respectthe rule of law were essential building blocks ofa
Rules and norms operate as internationallaw, enforced through and
peaceful just world order. As Wilson argued in hiswar
moral suasion and global public opinion
address,"a steadfast concertofpeacecan neverbe main-
Narrowpolicydomain, restrictedto open trade and collective tainedexceptby a partnership of democratic nations."8
securitysystem But,on theotherhand,Wilsonalso understood thatthe
architectureofa liberalorderwouldneedto be universal
Liberal Internationalism2.0 and openin scopeand membership. All statescouldjoin
theLeagueregardless oftheirregimetype.
Western-orientedsecurityand economy system
The Wilsonianvisionreconciled thisapparentcontra-
ModifiedWestphalian sovereignty,where states compromise dictionwiththeunderstanding thatall aggressive states
legal independence so as gain greater state capacity couldbe broughtto heelwithina collective security sys-
Hierarchicalorder,withAmerican hegemonic provisioningof temandthat,inthelongrun,non-democratic stateswould
public goods, rule-based and patron-clientrelations,and voice make democratictransitionsand eventuallycome to
opportunities
embraceliberalinternational rulesandnorms.Wilsondid
Dense inter-governmental relations,enforcementof rules and believethata world-wide democratic revolutionwasunder-
institutions
throughreciprocityand bargaining
way.Beyondthis, Wilson tended to emphasizethedem-
ocraticbasesofpeacein hiswarspeechesbutlessso later
Expanded policydomains, includingeconomic regulation,human on in his efforts to securethe Covenant.Wilsonnever
rights,etc.
thought that all the membersof the Leaguehad to be
democracies in orderfortheorganization to succeed.In
Liberal Internationalism3.0 neither WilsonsoriginalproposalfortheCovenantpre-
Universal scope, expanding membership in core governing sentedin Parison February14, 1919 nor in the final
institutions
to risingnon-Westernstates versionadoptedon April28 does theworddemocracy
Post-Westphaiian sovereign, withincreasinglyintrusiveand appear.The Leagues missionwasmainlytheavoidanceof
interdependenteconomic and securityregimes waressentially bymeansofarbitration and a reduction of
armaments, and then the threat of collectivesanctions.
Post-hegemonic hierarchyin whichvarious groupings of leading
states occupy governinginstitutions The spreadofdemocracy wasseenmoreas a consequence
of an effective League than an essentialsourceof that
Expanded rule-based system, coupled withnew realms of effectiveness.Hence theuniversalist architecture.9
network-basedcooperation
Wilsonian-era liberalinternationalism was also predi-
Furtherexpansion of policydomains catedon Westphalian statesovereignty. The nation-state
was championed. Ideasofa progressive liberalorderdur-
ing thisperiod were closelyassociated with anti-imperial
movements and struggles fornationalself-determination.
Wilsondeclaredat MountVernononJuly4,1918, "isthe Wilsondid not see the liberalprojectinvolving a deep
reignof law,basedon theconsentof thegovernedand transformation of statesthemselves - as sovereign legal
sustained bytheorganized opinionofmankind."Despite units.Nationalism was a dominantforcein worldpoli-
its greatambition,theWilsonianplan forliberalinter- tics,and Wilson'ssupportforrightsof nationalself-
nationalorderentailedverylittlein theway of institu- governmentgave voice to it. In May 1916, Wilson
tionalmachinery or formalgreatpowermanagement of proclaimedthat"everypeoplehas a rightto choosethe
thesystem.It was to be an institutionally"thin"liberal sovereignty underwhichtheyshalllive."He arguedthat
orderin whichstateswould primarily act cooperatively "smallstates" aswellas "great andpowerful nations" should
through the sharedembrace ofliberal
ideasandprinciples. enjoysovereignty andterritorial integrityfreefromaggres-
AtthecenteroftheWilsonianvisionwastheLeagueof sion.10To be sure,at theParispeaceconference, Wilson
Nationswhichwas to providethe forumforcollective was hesitantto recognizenew nations,particularly out-
Thiswasto be a universal
security. membership organiza- sideofEurope.Asthehistorian LloydAmbrosius observes,:
tion.Nation-states thatjoined it made diffuse
commit- "As in the Philippinesearlier,he [Wilson]appliedthe

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principleof nationalself-determination withgreatcau- ism. Wilsonianinternationalism did not call upon the
tion.He didnotundermine British ruleinIreland,Egypt, international to
community organizeto promoteexpan-
and India,or Frenchrulein Indochina.Wilson recog- sivenotionsof humanrights, socialprotections, or eco-
nizedonlynewnationsthatemerged fromthecollapseof nomicdevelopment. To be sure,therewas an underlying
theRussian,German,Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman assumption thattheinternational system was moderniz-
empires."11 Wilsons notion of national self-determination ing in a liberal direction. But liberal internationalism dur-
was decidedlydevelopmental - and patronizing. Sover- ing thisperioddid not containan explicitagenda of
eignself-rule required theemergence ofan "organic" nation building international capacities todefend oradvanceambi-
in whichthe peoplewerepolitically matureenoughto tioussocial ends. Indeed,theVersailles treatyhas been
independently govern themselves. Hence the mandate widelydepicted as a flawed for
blueprint postwarorder
- a
system League of Nations innovation to replace for- with litde of the
understanding economicandsocialunder-
malcolonialrule- thatwouldoperateto maintainorder pinningsofstableorderand progressive change.14
in backward areasuntilnationalself-rule was possible. Takentogether, theWilsonianvisionofliberalinterna-
The Wilsonianconceptionof liberalinternationalism tionalism wasbothbreathtakingly ambitiousand surpris-
similarlyembraced the notion of sovereign equality of ingly limited. It sought to transform theold globalsystem
states.
Among the established nation-states - most of whom based on the balance of power,spheresofinfluence, mil-
wereWestern - therewas littleformalinstitutional hier- itaryrivalry, and alliancesinto a unifiedliberalinter-
archyin thepostwarorder.The LeagueofNationswasto nationalorderbasedon nation-states and theruleoflaw.
be an organization ofstatesthatcametogether as equals. Powerand security competition would be decomposed
The Leaguedid nothavetheinstitutional framework for and replacedbya community ofnations.The Wilsonian
specialgreatpowerauthority andrights ofthelaterUnited visionwas universal in scopeand celebrated thesovereign
Nations.It did havean ExecutiveCouncilbut,adhering equalityof nation-states. The resulting orderwould be
closelyto theprinciple oftheequalityofstates,itspowers boundtogether bytheinternational ruleoflaw.ButWil-
weresimplyto initiateinvestigations and makerecom- sonianliberalinternationalism did not involvethecon-
mendations to thebodyofthewhole.The hierarchies of struction ofdeeplytransformative legally-binding political
Wilsonianliberalinternationalism weremoreimplicit and institutions. Liberalinternational orderwas to be con-
informal, manifest in notionsof racialand civilizational structed aroundthe"softlaw"ofpublicopinionandmoral
superiority. Wilson himself was notoriously unenlight- suasion. The LeagueofNationswas,according toWilson,
ened in these respects. Hierarchical arrangements of to "operate as the organizing moral force ofmen through-
Wilsonian-style international orderwerealso manifest in out theworld"thatwillturnthe"searching lightofcon-
thewaysin whichthemajorpowersoftheLeaguewould scious"on wrongdoingaroundtheworld."Justa little
remainresponsible forsupervision of post-colonial terri- exposurewill settlemostquestions,"Wilson optimisti-
tories.Again,Wilsonsprogressive developmental vision callyasserted.15
providedtheintellectual coherence. The liberalinternationalism envisagedbyWilsonwas
Regarding of
therule law, Wilson of course champi- an historical failure. This was not simplybecausetheSen-
oneda worldorderedby international law. As Wilson put ate of the United States failed to ratify theVersailles Treaty.
it, "thesame law thatapplies to individuals applies to It was really a failure of the emergence oftheunderlying
nations."12 Yethe had a verynineteenth-century viewof conditions neededfora collective security system to func-
international law. That is, Wilson did not see inter- tion. As noted earlier, the Wilsonian version of liberal
nationallawprimarily as formal, legally-binding commit- internationalism was built around a "thin" set of institu-
mentsthattransferred sovereignty upwardtointernational tionalcommitments. Butitwasalsobuilton theassump-
or supranational authorities. International law had more tion that a "thick" set of normsand pressures - public
ofa socializing dynamic, creating normsand expectations opinion and the moral rectitude of statesmen - would acti-
thatstateswouldslowlycometo embraceas their own. As vate sanctions and enforce the territorial peace. Wilson
Thomas Knock notes,"Wilsonemphasizedthatinter- gotaroundtheproblemof sovereign autonomy - which
nationallaw actuallywas 'not made/as such. Rather it the United States Senate would not -
giveup byempha-
wastheresult oforganicdevelopment - 'a bodyofabstract sizingtheinformal normsthatwouldtakeholdandbring
"
principlesfounded uponlongestablished custom/13Inter- countries together to maintaina stablepeace.The sover-
nationallawandthesystem ofcollective security anchored eignty of states - sovereignty as it relatedto both legal
in theLeagueofNationswouldprovidea socializing and
role, independence equality - would notbe compromised
gradually bringing statesintoa "community power." of or transformed. States would just be expectedto act
liberalinternationalism 1.0 hada relatively nar- better- which for Wilson meant thattheywouldbe social-
Finally,
rowviewaboutthedomainofinternational cooperation. izedintoa "community power." of
It was essentially a systemof collectivesecurity and free Lookingback, it is clear thatthe securitycommit-
tradeboundtogether byrulesand normsofmultilateral- mentsweretoo thinand the normsof complianceand

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

collective actionwerenot thickenough.As a result,the The Roosevelt visiondid anticipate morecompromises in


inter-war eradid notsee thefullimplementation of lib- sovereign equality than Wilson - that is,the system would
eral international order1.0. Instead,the UnitedStates be morehierarchical. Therewas also a substantially more
pulledbackfromactiveinvolvement in peace and secu- developed notion of how international institutions might
The
rity. internationalismof the 1920s and 1930swas a be deployedtomanageeconomicandpoliticalinterdepen-
sortof internationalism 0.5. That is, it was essentiallya dence.Roosevelt's wartime proclamation oftheFourFree-
private internationalismof banks and commercial firms domsandtheAtlantic Charter advocacy a postwar
of order
thatstruggled duringthesedecadesto cooperateto man- thatwouldsupport fullemployment andeconomicgrowth
age the impactsof a contracting worldeconomy.There gaveliberalinternationalism a moreexpansive agenda.The
was also a revivalof legal internationalism manifest in and
greatpowers governance institutions would havemore
theKellogg-Briand Pact,whichsoughtto returnto the authority than Wilson proposed, but it would remaina
earlynineteenth-century uses of arbitration treatiesto unified system inwhich Roosevelt's "family circle"ofstates
settleinternational disputes.16 This multilateraltreaty, wouldmanageopennessand stability.
whichgavegovernments an opportunity to renouncewar But theorderthatactuallytookshapein thedecades
against other treatymembers - except in self-defense or afterthewarcameto havea morefar-reaching and com-
othercircumstances - was evenless of a formalsecurity plex logic. It was more Western-centered, multilayered,
and deeplyinstitutionalized thanoriginally -
pact than the League of Nations.And it sharedwith anticipated
Wilsonsliberalinternationalism 1.0 theconvictionthat and it broughttheUnitedStatesintodirectpoliticaland
publicopinion and moral suasion werethemechanisms economicmanagement of the system. The weaknessof
thatwouldactivatecooperation and collective security. the
Europe, looming Soviet threat,and the practicalrequire-
mentsofestablishing institutions and makingthemwork
drovetheprocessforward - and in newdirections. In the
Liberal InternationalOrder 2.0 decadesthatfollowed. The UnitedStatesfounditselfnot
When the UnitedStatesfounditselfin a positionto justthesponsorand leadingparticipant in a newliberal
order- itwasalsoownerand operator ofit.
relaunchtheliberalinternational projectin the 1940s,it international
initiallydid not seek to transform itsbasiclogic.Roose- The visionofliberalorderturnedintoliberalhegemonic
veltwantedto injecta bitmorerealismintoitsoperation order.
bybuildinga moreformalroleforthegreatpowers.Like In bothsecurity andeconomicrealms, theUnitedStates
Wilsonsversion,it would be a "one world"systemin founditself steadily taking on new commitments andfunc-
whichthemajorpowerswouldcooperateto enforcethe tionalroles.Itsowneconomicandpolitical system became,
peace.The UnitedStateswouldtakethelead in creating in effect, a centralcomponentof thelargerliberalheg-
theorder,buttheorderwouldbe collectively run.In this emonicorder.America's domesticmarket, theU.S. dollar,
sense,FDR's wartime vision of postwar order was liberal and the Cold War alliancesemergedas crucialmecha-
internationalism 1.5. But the and
unexpected evolving nismsand institutions through whichpostwarorderwas
challenges of forging a viablepostwarorder - rebuilding foundedand managed.Americaand theWesternliberal
Europe,integrating Germany Japan,makingcommit-
and orderbecamefusedintoone system. The UnitedStates
ments,openingmarkets, providingsecurity, containing hadmoredirectpowerin running thepostwar orderbutit
Sovietcommunism - forced theUnitedStatesalonga path- also founditselfmoretightly bound to theotherstates
way thatled to a transformation in the foundations of withinthatorder.The UnitedStatesbecamea provider of
liberalinternationalorder.In theshadowoftheCold War public(or at least -
club) goods upholding a set of rules
a newlogicof liberalinternationalism emerged.It was a and institutions thatcircumscribed howAmerican power
logicof American-led liberal hegemonicorder - thatis, was exercisedand providingmechanisms forreciprocal
liberalinternationalism 2.0. politicalinfluence. In thelate-1940s,security cooperation
Fromthemomentitbeganto planforpeace,theRoo- movedfromtheUN Security CounciltoNATO andother
seveltadministration wantedto builda postwarsystem of U.S.-led alliances.The global systemof great-power-
open trade and greatpowercooperation. "The United managedcollectivesecurity becamea Western-oriented
Statesdid not enterthewar to reshapetheworld,"the security community organizedaroundcooperative secu-
historian WarrenKimballargues,"butonce in thewar, the
rity.Likewise, management of the world economy
thatconception ofworldreform was theassumption that movedfromthe BrettonWoods visionto an American
Roosevelt'sactions." 17Itwouldbe a reformed "one dollarand market In effect, theworld"contracted
guided system.
world"globalorder.In thebackground, thegreatpowers out"to theUnitedStatesto provideglobalgovernance.
wouldoperatetogether toprovide collective
securitywithin A critical characteristic ofliberalinternationalism 2.0 is
a newglobalorganization. The AtlanticCharterprovided itsWestern foundation. The UnitedStatesfounditpossi-
thevision.Wartime conferences atBretton Woods,Dumb- ble to makebindingsecurity commitments as it shifted
artonOaks,andelsewhere provided thearchitecturalplans. from Wilsoniancollective security to alliance security built

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arounddemocratic solidarity withintheAtlanticregion. sovereignindependencebut gain new governmental
This shiftwas twofold.One was themovement toward capacities.20
morespecific andexplicit security commitments. Alliance Similarly,thenormsofsovereign equalityembodiedin
partnerships entailedobligations but theywerealso lim- Wilsonianinternationalism gavewaytoa muchmorehier-
itedliabilityagreements. Commitments werenotuniver- archicalformofliberalorder.The UnitedStatestookon
sal and openedended;theyweretiedto specificsecurity specialfunctional-operational roles.It positioneditselfat
challenges withtreaty-based understandings about roles thecenter oftheliberalinternational order. Itprovided pub-
and responsibilities.18 Second,theywerecommitments lic goods of securityprotection, marketopenness,and
thatwerebackedbya politicalvisionofa Western security sponsorship ofrulesandinstitutions. TheAmerican dollar
community. The sensethatAmericaand Europewere becameaninternational currency and the American domes-
imperiled bya commonthreat strengthened thefeeling of ticmarketbecamean engineofglobaleconomicgrowth.
Westernsolidarity. But thenotionof a Westerncoreto The Americanalliancesystemand theforward-deployed
liberalinternational orderalso suggestedthatunusual militaryforces inEuropeandEastAsiagavetheUnitedStates
opportunities existed- becauseof commoncultureand a directand ongoingsuperordinate rolein thecapitalist-
democratic institutions - to cooperateand buildpostwar democratic world.Otherstatesestablished clientalistic
and
institutions. with
"specialrelationships" Washington. NATO, the In
Liberalinternationalism 2.0 also movedbeyondthe UnitedStateswas first amongequals.It led and directed
Wilsonianvisionwithitsmorecomplexnotionsofsover- securitycooperation across theregionsoftheworld.The
eigntyand interdependence. Westphaliansovereignty UnitedStatesexported security and imported goods.The
remained at thecoreofTruman-era liberalinternational- resulting order was hierarchical - the United Stateswas
ism.Buttherewerenewunderstandings aboutthedangers themostpowerful statein theorder.It occupieda super-
and opportunities of economicand security interdepen- ordinate positionmanifest inroles,responsibilities, author-
dence.The economiccalamities ofthe1930sand thesuc- and
ity, privileges within the liberal international order.
cessesofNewDeal regulation andgovernance informed these Butthehierarchical character oftheorderwastobemore
newviews.Advancedsocieties wereseento be deeplyand liberalthanimperial. The UnitedStatesdidengageinpub-
mutually vulnerable tointernational economicdownturns licgoodsprovision, supported andoperated withinagreed-'
and thebad policiespursuedby other states.Stateswould upon rules and and
institutions, opened itselfup to "voice
needtogetmoreinvolved inmoreintense andinstitution- opportunities" from subordinate states. To be sure,these
of of the
alizedforms jointmanagement globalsystem. Jacob liberalfeatures ofhierarchy differed acrossregions andover
Viner,a leadinginternational economist andpostwar plan- time.The UnitedStateswas morewillingto makemulti-
nercaptured thisview."Thereiswideagreement todaythat lateralcommitments to WesternEuropeanpartners than
majordepressions, massunemployment, aresocialevils,and to others.In EastAsia,theUnitedStatesbuilta "huband
the of
thatitis obligation governments. . . toprevent them." spoke"setof security pactsthatmadetheregionalorder
Moreover, there is "wide agreement also that it is extraor- moreclient-based thanrule-based.21 Generally speaking,
dinarilydifficult, ifnotoutright impossible, foranycoun- Americasdominantglobalpositionmadede factohierar-
tryto copealonewith problems cyclicalboomsand
the of chyaninevitable feature ofthepostwar order.ButAmericas
. . whilethereisgoodprospect thatwithinter- dominant -
globalposition together with Cold Warbipolar
depressions.
nationalcooperation. ... theproblem thebusiness
of cycle competition - also gaveWashington strategicincentivesto
andofmassunemployment canbe largely solved."19New buildcooperative relations withallies,integrate Japanand
institutionswouldbe neededin whichstatesworkedside Germany, sharethe"spoils"ofcapitalism and moderniza-
bysideona continuous basetoregulate andreducethedan- tion,and,generally, operatethesystem inmutually accept-
gersinherent in increasingly interdependent societies. ableways.22
Therewereseveralaspectsto thisemerging viewthatit The rule-based character ofliberalorderalsoevolvedin
wasnecessary toreducestatesovereign independence. One the1940sbeyondtheWilsonianvision.As notedearlier,
isthatitwasessentially an intergovernmental - rather than in theaftermath ofthewarand depression òfthe1930s,
supranational - vision.Atleastintheadvanced world,gov- Americanliberalinternationalists had a new appreciation
ernments wouldremaintheprimary sourcesofauthority of thewaysin whichcapitalist modernization and inter-
and decision.But governments would bargain,consult, dependence hadcreated growing functional needsforcoop-
andcoordinate theirpolicieswithothergovernments, facil- eration.So toodidtheyhavenewviewsabouttheroleand
itatedthrough international institutions. The other aspect importance of rulesand institutions.23 Wilsonianinter-
was thatthe new international institutional machinery . nationalists had strongconvictions aboutthemoraland
wouldbe created inlargeparttobolster rather thandimin- politicalvirtuesof international law and its socializing
ish the abilityof governments to deliveron theireco- impactson states.Truman-era internationalists had con-
nomicand politicalobligationsto theirsocieties.States victionsabout the utilityand functions of institutions
withinliberalinternationalism 2.0 would giveup some and rule-basedorder.More so thanin earlierdecades,

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

Americanofficials saw thatits interests - nationaleco- notreallyexist.The termmostfrequently usedwasnational


nomic,political,and security - could onlybe advanced "defense," and thishad a morerestricted meaningto pro-
withthebuildingofa stable,articulated, and institution- tectionofthehomeland against traditional
military attacks.
alizedinternational environment. That is, theAmerican Sometime during World War II thenew term emerged and
commitment to rule-based orderwasnotsimplya conces- it capturedthenewvisionofan activist and permanently
sionto otherstates,drivenbyCold Warallianceimpera- mobilizedstateseeking security acrosseconomic, political,
tives.It was an incentivethatthe UnitedStateswould andmilitary realms.Nationalsecurity requiredtheUnited
havehad evenwithoutthe Sovietthreat.As the 1950s, Statesto be activelyattemptingto shape its external
environment - coordinating
NSC-68 strategic planningdocumentthatlaunchedcon- agencies, generating resources,
tainment argued, UnitedStateshad a need"tobuilda
the building alliances, and the
laying ground work.
healthy international community," which"wewouldprob- What the New Deal and nationalsecurity liberalism
ably do even if there were no international threat." The to
brought postwar American internationalism was a wider
feltneedwasto builda "worldenvironment inwhichthe constituency for liberalorderbuilding than in earlier eras.
Americansystem can surviveand flourish."24 The desirableinternational orderhad morefeatures and
Thereareseveraldistinctive features to 1940s-erarule- movingparts. It was more elaborate and complexly orga-
basedorder.One involvedan innovationin theuses of nized.In severalsenses,thestakeshad grownsincethe
institutions. Not onlywould intergovernmental institu- endofWorldWarI- morehadtobe accomplished, more
tionsprovidefunctionaltools to manageinterdepen- was at riskiftherightsortofpostwarorderwasnotcon-
dence,theywouldalso be createdto bindstatestogether. structed, and moreofAmericansocietyhad a stakein a
Thiswasmostimportant in thereintegration ofGermany successful Americanliberalinternationalist project.
intotheWest,inwhichEuropeanandAtlantic-wide insti- ThroughouttheCold Warera,thisAmerican-led lib-
tutionsprovidedframeworks to bind,commit,and reas- eralinternational orderwasthedominantreality inworld
-
sure.25Beyondthis,theAmerican approachtomultilateral, politics.Alongtheway,theUnitedStatesitself itsecon-
rule-based orderwasto insiston flexibility and privileges. institutions- became tightly tied
omy,military, political
The UnitedStateswouldchampiona rule-based approach to thewiderorder.Some aspectsofAmerican-led liberal
to international order,buttherewouldneedto be accom- orderdidchangeandevolve.In the1970s,thedollar-gold
modations,exceptions,weightedvoting,and opt-out standardcollapsedand monetary and financial relations
clauses.26 Thesewerethecompromises thatallowedlib- becamelesstightly tiedtoWashington. The expansionof
eralinternationalism 2.0 to bothreflect commitment to theworldeconomyin thedecadesbeforeand afterthe
theruleof law and accommodatetherealities of hierar- endoftheCold Waralso reducedthecentrality ofAtlan-
chy.Finally,rule-basedorderwas also supplemented by ticrelations withinthewidergloballiberalorder.During
bilateraltiesand agreements. Stateswerenotprimarily or theColdWar,theliberalinternational orderexisted "inside"
simply asked to abide by treaty-based rules and norms. theglobalbipolarsystem. WiththeendoftheCold War,
Crucially, statesagreedto operatein a rule-based system thisinsideorderbecamethe"outside"order.The global
whichprimarily createdongoingpoliticalprocesses. That system wasnowlargely tiedtogether through themarkets,
is,rule-based order did not,strictly speaking, create "laws" relations, and institutions of the postwar American-led
thatstateswereto obey,rather itcreatedmechanisms and system. Atthesametime,amidstthesesweeping changes,
processes in which states would bargain,communicate, theunderling logicofliberalinternationalism 2.0 seemed
and adjust- all withinagreed-upon normative and insti- to be increasingly problematic. So whyis thisorderin
tutionalparameters. trouble- andwhatwouldliberalinternationalism 3.0 look
Astheforegoing suggests, 1940s-era liberalinternation- like?
alismexpandedthepolicydomainofliberalorder. A denser
and morecomplexsortofinternational environment was
necessary to allow governments to fulfill
their rolesand obli- The Crisis of Liberal
gationsdomestically. The domesticliberalagendahad Internationalism2.0
expanded as well- and itrequired liberalstatestobe more Liberalinternationalism 1.0 endedin a crisisof failure.
internationally active and committed. Indeed,theshift from Liberalinternationalism 2.0 is in crisistoday,but it is a
liberalinternationalism 1.0 to 2.0 involveda shiftinwhat crisisofsuccess.The Wilsonianvisionofliberalorderwas
constituted "nationalsecurity." The depression and New coherent- itsimplydid notfittherealities ofthetime.It
Deal brought intoexistence thenotionof"socialsecurity" - was builton assumptions thatdid nothold.In contrast,
buttheviolenceanddestruction ofworldwarbrought into theliberalinternationalism of thepost-1945 periodwas
existence thenotionof"national security." Itwasmorethan highlyadaptedto existingrealities.Ironically, its coher-
justa newtermofart- itwas a newand moreexpansive encewas lessobvious,at leastat first.Indeed,unlikeits
internationalist notionofsecurity.27 In earlier decades,and Wilsonianpredecessor, liberalinternationalism 2.0 was
during World War I, the notion of"nationalsecurity" did neverreally ina singlestatement.
articulated Itwascobbled

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together in a protracted politicalprocess.Its logic and Third,a moregradualshiftin theglobalsystem is the
operationemergedgraduallyfromthe shifting impera- unfolding human rights and to
"responsibility protect"
tives,negotiations, and adaptations duringtheearlypost- revolution. The resultis an erosionover the postwar
war decades.Eventually, in the contextof a weakened decadesin normsofWestphalian sovereignty. The inter-
Europe and threatening Soviet Union,theUnitedStates nationalcommunity is seenas havinga legitimate inter-
founditselftakingresponsibility fororganizing and oper- estinwhatgoeson withincountries. Thisgrowing interest
the
ating system - and the liberal hegemonic order took on thepartoftheinternational community in thedomes-
shape. tic governance practices of states is driven by bothcon-
ButAmericanliberalhegemony no longerappearsto siderations of humanrightsand security.32 The resultis
be an adequateframework to supporta liberalinter- thatnormsof sovereignty are seen as morecontingent.
nationalorder.Shiftsin theunderlying circumstances of This gradualerosionin normsofstatesovereignty means
worldpoliticsareagainforcing change in the organizing thattheinternational system has created a new "license"
ideasand institutions oftheliberalproject.The authority forpowerful statesto intervene in thedomesticaffairs of
of theUnitedStates,itshegemonicbargainswithother weak and troubledstates.Westphaliansovereignty has
states,andtherulesandinstitutions ofliberalinternation- been in manywaysoverthe past severalcenturiesthe
alism2.0 areincreasingly contested.28 Whathaschanged? singlemost universaland agreed-uponnormof inter-
First,most obviously, the end of the Cold Waraltered nationalpolitics.33It underliesinternational law, the
thehegemonic logic.During the decades ofbipolarcom- UnitedNations,and the greathistorical movements of
petition, the United States provided "system-function" ser- anti-colonialism andnationalself-determination. So when
vicesas itbalancedagainstSovietpower.Underconditions thenormweakens,it is notsurprising thatit has conse-
ofbipolarity theUnitedStateswas a globalsecurity pro- quences. But the erosion of state sovereignty normshave
vider.American powerwasfunctional forsystem stability not been matchedby theriseof new normsand agree-
and security, and it disciplinedand restrained the way mentsabout who the international community should
Washington exercised power. It made the United States make good on humanrightsand the responsibility to
morewillingto undertake globalresponsibilities, provide protect. Unresolved disagreements mount regarding the
publicgoods,and supportand operatewithina system of standardsof legalityand legitimacy thatattachto the
rulesand institutions. Othercountriesreceivedservices actionsof powerful statesactingon behalfof theinter-
and benefits fromAmericasbipolarglobalpowerposi- nationalcommunity.
tion.Americaneededalliesand alliesneededAmerica. As a result,the erosionof normsof sovereignty has
Thisprovided thebasisforbargains - anditcreatedincen- ushered ina newglobalstruggle overthesourcesofauthor-
tivesforcooperation in areasoutsideofnationalsecurity. ityin theinternational community. Thisproblemis made
The endoftheCold Wardidnoteliminate thesesecurity- worsebytheriseofAmerican unipolarity. OnlytheUnited
driven incentives forcooperation - -butitaltered andweak- Statesreallyhasthemilitary to
power systematically engage
enedtheseincentives.29 in large-scaleusesofforcearoundtheworld.The United
Second,the rise of unipolarity has made American Nationshas no troopsor military capacityof its own.
power more controversial and raised thelevelof uncer- Whatprecisely isthe"community ofstates" andwhospeaks
tainty around the world about the bargainsand institu- forthem?The problemof establishing legitimate inter-
tions of liberal order. With the end of the Cold War, nationalauthority grows.
Americasprimacy in the global distribution of capabili- Fourth,thesourcesofinsecurity in worldpoliticshave
tiesbecameone of themostsalientfeatures of theinter- also evolvedsincetheearlydecadesofliberalinternation-
nationalsystem.No othermajorstatehas enjoyedsuch alism2.0. The threat to peaceis no longerprimarily from
advantages in materialcapabilities - military, economic, great powers in
engaged security competition. Nuclear deter-
technological, geographical. unipolardistribution
This of rence,democraticpeace,and thedeclinein gainsfrom
is and it has ushered in a new conquest - thesearekeyexplanations forthepersistence of
power historically unique,
setof dynamicsthatarestillworkingtheirwaythrough stablepeace amongthe majorstatesoverthe past half
theorganization ofworldpolitics.30 But theriseof uni- century - thelongesteraofgreatpowerpeacein themod-
polarity brings with it a shift in the underlying logicof ernera.34The resulthasbeena shiftin thewaysin which
orderand rule in world politics. In a bipolar multi-
or violenceis manifest. In thepastonlypowerful stateswere
polarsystem, powerful states "rule" in the processoflead- abletogainaccesstoviolence capabilities that could threaten
inga coalition of states in balancingagainstotherstates. othersocieties. Today it is possible to see technology and
When thesystem shifts to unipolarity, thislogicof rule theglobalization oftheworldsystem creating opportuni-
disappears. Power is no longer based on balancingor ties for non^-state actors- or transnationalgangs of
buton thepredominance one state.Thisof individuals- to acquireweaponsof massdestruction.35
equilibrium,
is new and different - and potentiallythreatening to Asa result,itisnowtheweakness ofstatesandtheirinabil-
weakerand secondary state.31 ityto enforcelawsand orderwithintheirown societies

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

thatprovidethe mostworrisomedangersto the inter- liberalinternational order.Liberalinternationalism 2.0 is


nationalsystem. experiencing a crisis of authority - a crisis of rule and
Fifth,thegrowth oftheworldeconomyand theincor- governance as it has been provisioned overthepostwar
porationofnewcountries intoit has creatednew"stake- decadeswithina liberalhegemonicframework.
holders"and raisedquestionsabout participation and
decisionmakinginglobalgovernance. In theearlydecades,
theAmerican liberalhegemonic orderexisted"inside"the Liberal InternationalOrder 3.0
largerbipolarglobalsystem. WhentheCold Warended, Liberalinternationalism 2.0 is in crisis,whichmeansthat
the"inside"orderbecamethe"outside"order,thatis, its therearegrowing pressures and incentives forreform and
logic was extended to the largerglobalsystem. This is a reorganization. As in the past, the liberal international
greattransformation in whichglobalization of theworld projectis evolving.The old American-led liberalheg-
economy and the riseof developing states have dramati- emonic order is to
givingway something new. Butwhat
the
callyexpanded geography and reach of the liberal inter- sortof new order? What will be the character of liberal
nationalorder.For the firsttime in the modernera, internationalism 3.0? It is easierto identify thepressures
economicgrowth is bringing non-Western countries such and incentives forchangethanto specifythe organiza-
as ChinaandIndiaintothetopranksoftheworldsystem. tionallogicofa post-hegemonic liberalinternational order.
Thesefast-growing developing countries arealready becom- But three setsof issues are particularly in
important shap-
ing an international economicforce.Accordingto The ingwhatcomesnext.
Economist, developing countries nowproducehalfof the One set of issuesconcernsscope and hierarchy. A
global GNP. They hold most of the world s financialreserves reformed liberal international order will need to become
and are placinghuge new demandson energyand raw moreuniversal and lesshierarchical - thatis, theUnited
materials.As FareedZakarianotes,"forthefirst timeever, Stateswillneedto cede authority and controlto a wider
we arewitnessing genuinely globalgrowth. This is creat- setofstatesand giveup someofitshegemonic rights and
ing an international system in which countries in all parts privileges. But a "flatter" international order will also be
oftheworldareno longerobjectsorobservers butplayers one in whichtheUnitedStatesplaysa lesscentralrolein
in theirownright."36 Theseareremarkable developments providing functional services - generating publicgoods,
withpotentially far-reaching for
implications power and stabilizingmarkets, and promoting cooperation.So the
governance in worldpolitics.37 questions areseveral. Whatisthelogicofa post-hegemonic
The foundationupon whichliberalinternationalism liberalorder - and is it viable?Can thesefunctional ser-
2.0 wasbuilthasshifted. It is no longera system builton vicesbe provided collectively? Will the United States agree
equilibrium or balanceamongthegreatpowers.The uni- to relinquishthe specialrightsand privileges builtinto
polardistribution of powerand the riseof new powers liberalinternationalism 2.0. Of course,it is possiblefor
and participants in theglobalsystemhavemadetheold moreincremental shiftsawayfromliberalhegemony. The
bargains and institutions less tenable. The building of a United States could continue to provide functional ser-
liberalinternational orderwasmoresuccessful - and dur- vicesforliberalorderbut do so in widerconcertwith
- thananyonein the othermajorstates?Liberalordercan be endangered if
ingtheCold Warlargely unnoticed
1940s reallyimaged was possible. But the erosion of the there is too much hierarchy - indeed hierarchy in its
oldnormsofsovereignty, thespreadofinternational norms extreme formisempire.Butitmightalsobe endangered if
of humanrights, and theriseof new sortsof threats of thereis too littlehierarchy, as theWilsonian-era experi-
collectiveviolencehavegenerated problems withthefunc- mentin liberalorderrevealed.
tioningofthatliberalinternational order. A secondissueconcernslegitimate authority and post-
In a fundamental sensethereis an authority crisisin Westphalian sovereignty. A reformed liberal international
todaysliberalorder.The international community is the orderwillneed to findwaysto reconcilemoreintrusive
repository fornew humanrightsand nationalsecurity rulesandinstitutions withlegitimate international author-
norms - butwhocanlegitimately acton itsbehalf? Amer- ity.The humanrights revolution makestheinternational
icanleadership oftheliberalinternational orderwasmade community increasingly concerned withtheinternal work-
acceptable to other states during the Cold War because it ings of states. So too does the new international-threat
was providing security protection - and, overthe hori- environment - a situation wheregrowing "security inter-
zon, there were threats from Soviet communism. Ameri- is
dependence" making each country's security increas-
can authority is now less securelyestablished - and the inglydependenton whatgoes on elsewhere, including
American-centered, hierarchical character of thepostwar elsewhere insideofstates.The international community is
international orderis moreproblematic. How to estab- goingto needcapacitiesand legitimate authority to inter-
lishlegitimate authority forconcerted international action vene in weak and troubledstates.38 It is goingto need
on behalfoftheglobalcommunity - and do so whenthe monitoring, surveillance, andinspection capacities toensure
old normsoforderareeroding - is thegreatchallengeto thatincreasingly lethaltechnologies ofviolencedo notget

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intothehandsofdangerous groups.Thesedevelopments to risingand non-Western countries suchas Japan,India,
suggest that the liberal international order will increas- Brazil, and South Africa. Other bodies thatwouldgrowin
inglyfind itselfconcerned with the internalgovernance of importance would include the G-20, which - unlikethe
states.Unlessglobalization and theadvancement and dif- G-8- includesrepresentatives frombothdevelopedand
fusionof technology is reversed, it is almostinevitable emerging states. The Bretton Woodsinstitutions - theIMF
thattheerosionofWestphalian sovereignty will continue. and World Bank - would also expand and reapportion
Nonetheless, finding consensus on thenormsofinterven- rights andmembership. Countries suchas ChinaandIndia
tionin a post- Westphalian worldis deeplyproblematic - wouldgainsignificant votingsharesin thegovernance of
yet short of establishing such legitimate authority, the these institutions while the United Statesand Europe would
international orderwill continueto be troubledand see theirvotingsharescontract.
contested. Liberalinternational order3.0 wouldalsoseea further
A thirdissuerelatesto democracy and theinternational erosionofnormsofWestphalian sovereignty andthecon-
ruleof law.Here thequestionis: how do you buildup tinuing rise in the notion of a "responsibility to protect."
and
authority capacity at the international level- in inter- The idea that the international community a right
had -
nationalbodies and agreements - withoutjeopardizing and indeeda responsibility - to intervene insideofstates
popularruleand accountability builtintoliberaldemo- forhumanrightsand security reasonswouldbe increas-
craticstates? Can theauthority and capacityoftheinter- inglyembracedworldwide. But thismovement toward
nationalcommunityto act be strengthened without post-Westphalian normsofsovereignty leavesunanswered
sacrificing constitutional democracy at home?This is a thequestionofwhichstates - and international bodies-
deep unresolved problem in the liberal international would acquire the and
rights authority to decide where
project.39Liberals a
anticipategrowing rolefor the "inter- and how to act. Who will speak for the international com-
nationalcommunity" in thefunctioning oftheglobalsys- munityon questionsoftheresponsibility to protect? It is
tem.The postwareraitselfhas seena radicalincreasein difficult to see a liberalinternationalism 3.0 thathas set-
thenormsand cooperative efforts launchedon behalfof tledthisquestion.The logicalmovewouldbe to turnto
theinternational community. humanrightsrevolu- theauthority
The ofa reformed UnitedNationsSecurity Coun-
tion and the riseof international normsof "deviance" cil. But if the recentpast is a guide,the abilityof the
carrywiththemexpectations thattheoutsideworldwill SecurityCouncil to actuallyreachagreement and sanc-
actwhengovernments failto actproperly.40 The growing tiontheuse of forceis highlyproblematic.41 Otherless
interdependence of statesalso createsrisingdemandsfor universal bodies- suchas NATO ora proposedLeagueor
norms and institutions. But how do yousquare Concert of democracies - mayprovidealternative sources
governance
thedomesticand international liberalvisions? of authority forintervention but thelegitimacy of these
Out ofthesetensionsand dilemmas, thenextphaseof bodiesis onlypartialandcontested.42 Liberalinternation-
theliberalinternational project will be shaped. There are alism 3.0 might solve this problemby fostering greater
atleastthreepathways awayfromliberalinternationalism agreement amongtheSecurity Councilpermanent mem-
2.0. Each pathwayinvolvesa different mix in the way ber statesoverthe rightsand obligationsof the inter-
sovereignty, rules,institutions, and authority arearrayed. nationalcommunity to act.Morelikely, questionsabout
The first possibilityis liberal internationalism 3.0. This intervention and the use of force will remain contested.
wouldbe a far-reaching reworking of the American liberal Regional bodies and non-universal groupingsof like-
hegemonicorder. This would be an order in which the minded states will continue to offer alternative sourcesof
UnitedStatesexercised lesscommand and control of the authority on these questions.
rulesand institutions. Americasspecialrightsand privi- Beyondquestionsof humanitarian intervention and
legeswouldcontractas otherstatesgainedmoreweight "responsibilityprotect," to security threats coming from
and authority at thehightableofglobalgovernance. The thepotentialdiffusion of violencetechnologies intothe
"private"governancethat the United Statesprovided hands of terrorist groups will continue to generate incen-
through NATO andits dominance of multilateral institu- tives for more intrusive international arms control and
tionswouldgiveway to more "public" rules and institu- counter-proliferation capacities. The International Atomic
tionsof governance. At thesametime,theintrusiveness EnergyAgencyis theleadingorganization edgeof these
and reachofliberal order would also continue to expand, international efforts. In the last two decades,theIAEAhás
placingdemandson governance institutions to forge con- developed scientific and technical competence and legal
sensualand legitimate forms of collective action. frameworks for and
monitoring inspections of nuclear pro-
In this3.0 liberalorder,authority wouldmovetoward gramsaroundtheworld.As nuclear, biological, andchem-
universalinstitutions - or at leastto international bodies ical weaponstechnologies growmoresophisticated and
thatincludedwiderglobal membership. These would diffuse intotroubled partsoftheworld,governments will
includea reformed UnitedNations- witha reorganized no doubtseekto expandIAEA-type capacitiesformoni-
Security Councilthatexpandedpermanent membership toring, inspection, verification, andsafeguarding. Pressures

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmas of LiberalWorldOrder

willgrowfornormsof Westphalian sovereignty to con- it wouldbe a governance systemthatdid a greatdeal of


tinueto incrementally giveway to intrusive international work. The policy domains in whichstateswouldcooper-
securityregimes.43 ate would be expansive - indeed evenmoreso thanliberal
The hierarchical character of liberalinternationalism internationalism 2.0. The breadthand depthoftherules
3.0 will change.It will,generally speaking,be "flatter" and institutions ofliberalorderwouldcontinueto grow.
- buthierarchy willremain, itsimply willnotbeAmerican- But as a non-hegemonic order,theactualfunctioning of
dominatedhierarchy. The hierarchy ofa post-hegemonic thesystemwould look a lot likeWilsonian-style liberal
liberalorderwillbe foundin theexpandedgroupingof internationalism. It wouldbe a universal orderthatis less
leading states that will occupypositions in the UN Secu- tied to the United States or the West. But also likethe
rityCouncil, the Bretton Woods institutions, and other Wilsonian version, itwould be an order in which cooper-
lessformalinternational bodies.It is thisgroupof states ationdependedupon sharednormsthatfostered collec-
thatwill collectively the various functional ser- tiveaction. It remains a question whether the norms - or
provide
vicespreviously provided by the United States - providing ideology of liberal order - are sufficiently coherent and
security,upholdopenmarkets, and so forth. In some ways, widely-enough embraced to make this post-hegemonic
thecharacter ofhierarchy willlooksimilar totheRoosevel- orderfunction effectively overthelonghaul.
tianvisionin liberalinternationalism 1.5. A groupingof A secondpathway is alsopossibleinwhichliberalinter-
leading states will claim authority and institutional posi- nationalism 2.0 is less fullytransformed - thiswouldbe
tionsto overseethestability and peaceof theglobalsys- liberalinternationalism 2.5. In this adaptation, theUnited
tem.But in liberalinternationalism 3.0 their leadership States would the
renegotiate bargains and institutions of
will
responsibilities multiply to include a wider array of the past decades but retain its as
position hegemonic leader.
security,economic,and politicalgovernance duties. In somesense,thisis whatis alreadyhappeningtoday.
The character of the ruleof law will also evolve.In In thisreformed liberalhegemonic order, theUnitedStates
someareas,suchas tradeand investment, therule-based wouldcontinue toprovide functional services forthewider
character of theorderwill continue.Indeed,theWorld system - and in return, othercountries wouldacquiesce
TradeOrganizationis alreadya liberalinternationalism in thehierarchical rulesand institutions presidedoverby
of
3.0 type globalsystem of rules. The United States does Washington. The order would remain hierarchical butthe
not havespecialrightsor privileges under international terms of hierarchy - the bargains and rules- would be
tradelaw.The leadingtradestatesdo exercisepowerin altered inwaysthataremutually acceptable to stateswithin
variousways - owingtotheirmarket sizeandoverall stand- theorder.
ingin theinternational order.Butthenormsoftradelaw In this2.5 order,theUnitedStateswouldgiveup some
arefundamentally basedon notionsofequalityand reci- ofitshegemonic rights andprivileges butretainothers.In
All
procity. contracting parties have to
access opt out and economic and politicalrealms, it would yieldauthority
escapeclauserights. Mechanisms existfordisputeresolu- and accommodate risingstates.The UnitedStateswould
tion.44In areaswhereeconomicinterdependence gener- shareauthority withinthereformed Bretton Woodsinsti-
atesincentives forstatestocoordinate andharmonize their tutions.In securityrealms,however,the UnitedStates
policies,rule-basedordershouldincrease.But in other wouldretainitshegemonic position.It wouldoffer secu-
areaswherestatesresistlegal-institutional formsofcoop- rityto otherstatesin a world-wide system of alliances.
eration,less formalnetworks of cooperationwill likely The American economywouldremaina leadingsourceof
grow.45 Such network-style cooperationallowsstatesto markets andgrowth - evenifitsrelative sizedeclined.The
circumvent politically difficult or costlyformal,treaty- United States would remain positionedto supportand
basedcommitments. Network cooperation appearpar- uphold renegotiated and institutions
will the rules ofthelib-
ticularlyattractive to the United States as it loses itspower eral order.
advantages andrights andprivileges underliberalinterna- In some respects, the Bush administration soughtto
tionalism 2.0. The UnitedStateswillfinditselfforcedto savetheAmericanhegemonicorderby renegotiating its
its
giveup hegemonic ability to foster cooperation on its bargains.Itsenvisioned the United States as the unipolar
ownterms.It was ableto dominaterulesand institutions provider ofglobalsecurity, upholding aninternational order
and through weighted votingand opt out agreements, it offreeanddemocratic In
states.47 thisversion, the United
was able to reduceits exposureto sovereignty-reducingStateswould providefunctional servicesto theworld -
commitments. In a post-hegemonic in
position,theUnited but returntheUnitedStateswouldask for new rights
Stateswill findinformaland network-oriented agree- and privileges. It wouldremainalooffromvariousrealms
mentsas a tolerablesubstitute thatallowsit to gainthe of rule-basedorder.It would not join theInternational
benefits of cooperation withoutoffering up formal-legal CriminalCourtand othersovereignty-restraining treaties
restrictionson itssovereign independence. and international agreements. It was a new hegemonic
Liberalinternationalism 3.0 woulddrawon thelogics bargain.The UnitedStateswould providesecurity and
ofbothitspredecessors. Likethepost-1945 liberalorder, stableorder,but it wouldreceivespecialdispensation to

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remainunattached to themultilateral, rule-based system. nerships withkeyalliesthatremaintiedtoAmerican secu-
In theend,thiswasa bargainthattherestoftheworlddid rityprovision.
not accept.48 The questionis whethera different set of A secondvariableis thedegreetowhichAmericassecu-
be
bargainsmight acceptable, bargains where the United ritycapacitiescan be leveraged intowidereconomicand
Statesdoesprovidefunctional services - particularly secu- politicalagreements. The United Stateshasextraordinary
rityprotection - but also to
agrees operate within a rene- in
advantages military Its
power. expenditures on military
gotiatedsystem of rules and institutions. The Bush are
capacity equal to the rest of the world s expenditures
administration triedto use Americasunrivaledmilitary combined.It operatesa world-wide systemof alliances
capabilities to reduce itsexposure to rule-based order.Is it and security partnerships. It "commandsthecommons"
possible for the United States to increase itsexposureto in thatitalonehasthepowertoprojectforceinall regions
rule-based orderas a way to retainaspectsof authority oftheworld.Thissituation willnotchangeanytime soon,
and privilege withina renegotiated hegemonicorder?If evenwiththerapideconomicgrowth ofcountries suchas
so, thiswouldbe liberalorder2.5. Chinaand India.The questionis,towhatextentdo these
A finalpossibilityis a breakdownof liberalinter- advantages anddisparities in military capabilities translate
nationalorder.This would occur if the orderwereto intobargaining power over the wider array globalrules
of
becomesignificantly lessopenandrule-based. The system and institutions. If the answeris verylittle,the United
of open,multilateral tradecould collapseusheringin a Stateswill increasingly need to reconcileitselfto a 3.0
1930s-style worldofmercantilism, regional blocs,andbilat- world.But if othercountriesdo in factvalue security
eralpacts.The politicalandsecurity rulesand institutions protection, thisgivestheUnitedStatesmoreopportuni-
of liberalinternationalism 2.0 could also fragment into tiesto negotiate a modified hegemonic system.
competing geopolitical blocs. Such a breakdown does not A thirdvariableis thedegreeofdivergence amongthe
necessarily need to entail a completecollapse of order - it leading states in theirvisions ofglobalgovernance. Europe
simply means there is an end to itsopen,rule-based, multi- is clearlymoreinterested in movingto a worldof liberal
lateralcharacter. The Americanhegemonicordercould internationalism 3.0 thanthe Chinese- at leastto the
simply yieldtoan international system whereseverallead- extentthatthisentailsfurther reductions in Westphalian
ing states or centers of power - for example,China,the sovereignty. But the question really whethernon-
is
UnitedStates,and theEuropeanUnion- establishtheir Westerncountriessuchas China and India willseekto
owneconomic andsecurity spheres. The globalorderwould use theirrisingpowerto usherin a substantially different
becomea less unifiedand coherentsystemof rulesand sortofinternational order.One possibility is thattheyare
institutions, whileregional ordersemergeas relatively dis- not as inclinedto embracetheopen,rule-based logicof
and
tinct,divided, competitive geopolitical spheres.49 liberalinternationalism - whether it is 1.0, 2.0, or 3.O.50
Thereareseveralfactors - orvariables - thatwillshape But anotherpossibility is thattheyactuallysee thattheir
thepathway awayfromliberalinternationalism 2.0. One interests are well servedwithina liberalinternational
istheactualwillingness oftheUnitedStatestocedeauthor- order.51 Ifthissecondpossibility is thecase,thecharacter
itybackto theinternational community and accommo- ofthenegotiations on movement awayfromliberalinter-
date itself
to a system of more binding rulesand institutions. nationalism 2.0 willbe morefocusedon participation and
ofa
Short radical shift in the international distribution of thesharing ofauthority - andlesson shifts inthesubstan-
the
power, United States will remain the worlds most tivecharacter ofliberalorder.
powerful stateforseveraldecadesto come. So thereis
reasonto thinkthatothercountries wouldbe willingto
see the UnitedStatesplay leadingrole- and provide
a Conclusion
functional services - ifthetermsareright.Underalmost The liberalinternational projecthas evolvedoverthelast
anycircumstances, thesetermswouldentaila reduction century- and it appears be evolving
to againtoday.In the
in Americashegemonicrightsand privileges whileoper- past, shiftsin the logic and character of liberalinter-
atingwithin agreed-upon rules and institutions.The United nationalordercame in the aftermath of war and eco-
Statesmightalso come to believe thatthis renegotiated nomicupheaval.In contrast, thecurrent troubles thatbeset
hegemonic arrangement is betterthananyofthealterna- American-led liberalinternationalism arenotmanifesting
tives.So thequestionis, could theUnitedStatesin fact in the breakdown of the old order.The crisisof liberal
makethepoliticalcommitments implicitin thisrenego- internationalism 2.0 is a crisisof authority. It is a crisis
tiatedliberalinternational order?If thereis uncertainty overthewayliberalinternational orderis governed. It is
whether theUnitedStatescan makecompromises neces- a crisisthatis generating pressures and incentives fora
saryto moveto liberalinternationalism 2.5, thereis even reorganization in thewaysovereignty, rules,institutions,
moreuncertainty aboutwhether it can reconcileitselfto hierarchy,and authority are arrayedin theinternational
liberalorder3.0. It might,in.the end, opt fora more system. The Americanhegemonicorganization ofliberal
fragmented system in whichitbuildsmoreselective part- orderno longerappearsto offer a solidfoundation forthe

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Articles | Americaand the Dilemmasof LiberalWorldOrder

maintenance ofan openand rule-based liberalorder.Thenationalinstitutions, see Keohane1984; and


liberalprojectitselfhaspartly brought tothisimpasse
us -Krasner1981. On thefragmented and complex
itssuccesshas helpedstripawaytheold foundations natureofpowerand interdependence,
of see Keohane
theorder. and Nye 1977. On domesticpreferences and foreign
What comesafterliberalinternationalism 2.0? In the
policy,see Moravcsik 1997. On transgovernmental-
absenceofwaroreconomiccalamity, theold liberalorderismand networks, see Slaughter 2004. On themod-
is notlikelyto completely breakdown or disappear. As in
ernization theoryunderpinnings oftheliberal
thepast,liberalinternational orderwillevolve.The char- tradition,see Morse1976 and Rosenau1991.
acterof governance will shiftwithchangesin the way 4 On thedimensions ofsovereignty, see Krasner1999.
statesshareand exercisepowerand authority. 5 Fordiscussions
Precisely ofhierarchy in international rela-
becausethe crisisof liberalorderis a crisisof success, tionsas definedin termsofrights and authority
leadingand risingstatesin thesystemarenotseekingto relationships,see Lake2003; and Hobsonand Shar-
overturn the basic logic of liberalinternationalism man2005.
as a
of
system open and rule-based order.
Rather, the 6 See Goldstein,
pressures Kahler,Keohane,andSlaughter 2001.
andincentives areforchangein thewayrolesand respon- 7 Forarguments aboutwhyand howpowerful states
areallocatedin thesystem.
sibilities buildinternational order,liberalor otherwise, see
The way in whichliberalorderevolveswill hingein Gilpin, 1981; Organski, 1958; Ikenberry 2001; and
important respects on theUnitedStates - and itswilling-Legro 2007.
nessand abilityto makenewcommitments 8 Wilson,WarMessageto Congress,
to rulesand April2, 1917.
institutions whilesimultaneously reducing rightsand
its 9 I thankThomasKnockfordiscussions thatclarified
privileges within the order. The United thesepoints.
Statesis deeply
ambivalent aboutmakinginstitutional commitments 10 Wilson,Speechto theLeagueto EnforcePeace,May
and
binding itselfto other states- ambivalence and hesitation
27, 1916.
thathas been exacerbated by theend of theCold War, 11 Ambrosius 2002,130.
Americanunipolarity, and new security threats. 12 WoodrowWilson,Addressto theSenate,January
But the
UnitedStatesstillpossessesprofoundincentives to build
22, 1917.
andoperate withina liberalrule-based order. 13 Knock1992, 8.
Justas impor-
tantly,that order is now not simplyan extension 14 See Keynes1920.
ofAmer-
icanpowerandinterests - ithastakenon a lifeofitsown.
15 Quoted in Ambrosius 2002, 52.
Americanpowermayriseor falland its foreignpolicy 16 See Ninkovich1999,ch. 3.
ideology maywaxandwanebetween multilateral 17 Kimball1994, 17. See also Divine 1971,and Dallek
andimpe-
rialimpulses-- butthewideranddeeperliberalglobalorder 1979.
is nowa reality thatAmericaitselfmustaccommodate 18 This shiftwas froma logicofcollective
to. securityto a
of
logic cooperative security. For the classic discus-
sionofcollective security, see Claude 1962,ch. 2.
Notes 19 Viner1942, 168.
1 International
orderrefers to thesettledarrangements 20 This is theargument I makeabouttheBretton
betweenstatesthatdefinethetermsoftheirinter- Woodsagreements. See Ikenberry, in Goldsteinand
action.Liberalinternational orderrefersto inter- Keohane1993. A similarlogicholdsforthehuman
nationalorderthatis openand rule-based. As noted, rightsregimes in postwarEurope,in whichcountries
themorespecific features ofliberalinternational employed international commitments to consolidate
order- in particular
thecharacter and locationof -
democracy "locking in" the domestic political
sovereigntyand politicalauthority- can varywidely statusquo againsttheirnondemocratic opponents.
withinliberalorders. See Moravcsik 2000.
2 Forsurveys ofliberalinternational theory,see Doyle 21 See Press-Barnathan 2003.
1997; Russettand Oneal 2001; Deudney and Iken- 22 See Ikenberry 2001.
berry1999; and Keohane,in JohnDunn 1990. 23 Foran important studyoftheseevolving views,see
3 No singlemoderntheorist captures thewhole of Murphy1994.
liberalinternational
theory, buta varietyoftheorists 24 NSC-68 as publishedin May 1993,40.
provideaspects.On thedemocratic peace,see Doyle 25 See Ikenberry 2001, ch. 6.
1983. On securitycommunities, see Adlerand 26 JohnRuggiesurveys these"exemptionalist" tenden-
Barnett1998; and Deutsch,Burrell, and Kann ciesin Americanforeign policy in "American Excep-
1957. On theinterrelationship ofdomesticand tionalism, Exemptionalism, and Global
international
politics,see Rosenau1969. On func- Governance," in Ruggie2004. Fora sympathetic
tionalintegration
theory, see Haas 1964. On inter- portrayal, see Kagan2002.

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27 See Borgwardt 2005. 47 The beststatement ofthisvisionis President George
28 Fordiscussions ofthedilemmasand troubledchar- W. Bushsspeechat the2002 WestPoint
acterofliberalinternationalism, see Hoffmann commencement.
1998,Hurrell2007, Bernstein and Pauly2007. 48 Forcritiques oftheBushdoctrine, see Daalderand
29 See Ikenberry in LefflerandWestadforthcoming, Lindsay2003; and Shapiro2008.
vol.3. 49 The fragmented ordermighthavecharacteristics
30 On thecharacter and consequences ofunipolarity, similarto theAmericanairlinesindustry in which
see Ikenberry, Mastanduno,andWohlforth 2009. themajorpowercenters(airline)havetheirown
31 Ikenberry 2006. distinct and competing hub and spokesystems. See
32 Fora survey oftheshifting normsofstatesovereignty, Aaltola2005.
seeHaass2003.The emerging doctrine ofthe"respon- 50 See Leonard2008; and Khanna2008.
of
sibility protect" is themost systematic notion 511 makethisargument in Ikenberry 2008.
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