Is this Really the Demise of ‘Liberal Internationalism’

Obama News Conference

For liberal internationalists, this is a bitter pill to swallow—or even to accept. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext,” Secretary of State John Kerry fulminated on CBS’s Face the Nation back in March. Ah, but you do, if you happen to have a mindset more in keeping with Otto von Bismarck than Woodrow Wilson (to say nothing of Barack Obama).

This is how my good colleague, Stewart Patrick, expressed his outrage – or at least his distaste – the other day at the admittedly aggressive and deceitful behavior by everyone’s favorite bad guy right now – Vladimir Putin.  As Patrick describes Russia’s actions in his recent blog post “Russia Assaults Ukraine—and the Liberal World Order”:

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It’s Broken Too! Or Is It?

The System Worked Drezner

 

 

So the assessment of what is broken, and what is not, at the global governance level continues among the experts.

First a rare corrective to the gloom-and-doom assessments particularly from the international media.

Dan Drezner recently released his book examining the response, especially of the G20 to the Great Recession. The book is entitled – The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression. 

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It is Tough Exercising Global ‘Concert Diplomacy’ Leadership – Part II

 

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So back to the role of the Stanley Foundation (TSF) in analyzing multilateralism in today’s global order.  I had the good fortune to connect with TSF’s President Keith Porter.  And he was good enough to respond to my questions.  Keith started out responding to my questions:

I think your questions, “How does the Foundation tackle the broader concert diplomacy aspects of global governance? How does the Foundation capture and comment on contemporary multilateralism?,” don’t get to the heart of our approach. The foundation recently completed a major strategic planning effort where we re-affirmed our belief that multilateral action is the only way to bring about fair, just, and lasting solutions to the problems facing the world today. However, we also acknowledged that the infrastructure of multilateral cooperation has changed over the years. Given the growing number of active multilateral venues and the stubborn refusal of states to adapt older institutions to the changing world order, this doesn’t seem like the time to advocate for a grand, new, master plan for universal global governance.

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Where’s the ‘Number Two’?

Xi and Obama

 

 

With the gathering of US and China officials in Beijing for the sixth S&ED (Security and Economic Dialogue) meeting of the two, it is reasonable to take a step back to assess where relations are at the moment between these two great powers.  I was tempted to do this in part because the meetings are now happening but also because I reviewed, just the other day, a piece on global order by my colleague  Parag Khanna called a “World Reimagined” in the The National Interest.

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Engaging in the Review of Global Summitry

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I’ve just had the good fortune to return from Oxford University where I spent several very pleasant days examining with experts and others the health and direction of global governance.  This almost annual Princeton University Workshop is a highly satisfactory partnership of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stewart Patrick, Princeton University and John Ikenberry, The Stanley Foundation, President Keith Porter and Program Director Jennifer Smyser, and ‘moi’ of the Global Summitry Project at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

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A World in Flux II

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It’s a pleasure to review work of colleagues seriously grappling with the contemporary world order.  Back in March I reviewed Bruce Jones’s examination of the global order at the point just prior to the publication of his new book – Still Our To Lead. Since that time a number of other close colleagues have had a chance to weigh in on his world view and I thought I’d double back to look at their perspectives and revisit my own.

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Struggling with World Order

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Who said geopolitics went away?  Well a number of international relations experts imply this in their various announcements that geopolitics has returned.   One of those most loudly trumpeting this view is Walter Russell Mead, the Editor-at- Large of the American Interest.  In his most recent piece in Foreign Affairs he declares:

But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant” But geopolitics never went away, notwithstanding there was a great deal of attention focused on the global economy – particularly in the light of the 2008 global financial crisis.

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‘Good Enough Global Governance’ Maybe – But is It Really Such a Global Muddle?

G20_-_Cumbre_de_Cannes_-_20011103So my colleague and friend Stewart Patrick, the Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has given us a full picture of the contemporary global governance system recently in Foreign Affairs.

But say it ain’t so Stewart. The bottom line for him is an unruly and largely unorganized global governance architecture delivering only partially what is needed:

The future will see not the renovation or the construction of a glistening new international architecture but rather the continued spread of an unattractive but adaptable multilateral sprawl that delivers a partial measure of international cooperation through a welter of informal arrangements and piecemeal approaches.

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