John Ikenberry Princeton, N. Liberal Leviathan is a monumental work of political science that will stand for many years as a canonical statement on a topic—U. The book masterfully draws on history, advances international relations theory, and illuminates foreign policy choices of the past, present, and future. It also makes important contributions to the general theory of international orders the circumstances, forces, and processes that shape their rise and fall , and of how the liberal international order differs from previous international orders and from the orders advanced by its rivals in the course of its rise. Across the twentieth century, and particularly after World War II, the United States pursued a foreign policy that played a central role in the creation of an international order based on rules, the consent of the governed, and capitalist economic expansion.
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Reviews 5 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. 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. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Tough-minded yet visionary and optimistic, this inspirational volume should become required reading for all those tasked with the great responsibility of steering us to safety through the very choppy international waters into which we are now heading.
The marriage of power and principle in the United States has been central to the emergence of the liberal order, but Ikenberry shows that it is also corrosive of that order. As a consequence both of U. This book traces alternative paths through which these challenges might be met.
It will no doubt take its place as a seminal volume in international relations, one that helps define the debate about emerging changes in the global distribution of power. I can think of few volumes comparable in their conceptual clarity and ambition.
A must-read. Kupchan, author of How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace "Liberal Leviathan is an ambitious, comprehensive, and deeply learned study of the American-led international political order. I am confident that it will stand as a major and lasting contribution to scholarship and to the public conversation about United States foreign policy.
This is a big and important book.
Summer Reading: Ikenberry’s Liberal Leviathan
We live under a zeitgeist where the American grand strategy is progressively becoming inward-focusing and lacking a coherent external vision. In Liberal Leviathan, published in , G. John Ikenberry unpicks the crisis of authority and governance prevalent in the liberal international system by arguing for America to adopt a grand strategic vision of liberal internationalism. For Ikenberry, it is this very consensus that is now in crisis. Although superfluous at times, this theoretical foundation of liberalism provides a logical premise for him to then make policy suggestions for America. By holding liberal internationalism on a pedestal, Ikenberry formulates a parochial vision of the system, effectively removing other theories, such as the balance of power, from the narrative.
For example, Franklin D. A topic on which I have also written. Bush nor Dick Cheney read After Victory. But here, Ikenberry parts company with prophets of U. There is simply no credible alternative to an open, rule-based international order, he contends.
Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order
Reviews 5 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.