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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter & Tony Smith: The ... - page 16 / 25





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The Future of Liberal Internationalism


was now to be anchored by a core of Western democracies bound together in a security alliance, and the United States became more integral to the functioning of the economic and security architecture. Along the way, the postwar human rights revolution was set in motion, and by the 1990s it had created aspirations and obligations for the international community well beyond anything Wilson could have imagined.

FDR shared Wilson’s vision of an enlightened peace, as he made clear in the Atlantic Charter in 1941. Truman’s belief in the necessity of the United Nations was shaped by his earlier devotion to Wilson’s proposal for a League of Nations. FDR and Truman also learned lessons from Wil- son. They cared much more about getting the postwar international economic system organized in an open and orderly manner, and indeed the Roosevelt administration started working on this part of the postwar agenda even before the United States entered the war. More importantly, they saw that Wilson’s vision of a world democratic order was a bridge too far. Postwar order would need to be built around a Western core of states that formed a natural political community. Atlantic community came rst. Collective security would be built around traditional alliance partnership and a reformation of the balance of power in light of the as- cendance of the Soviet Union. Specic strategic bargains—political, eco- nomic, and security—were also part of the post-1945 liberal international order. A broader array of institutions was built and capacities deployed to manage and sustain liberal order. Finally, American power—or hegemony—was built into the postwar liberal order. All of these innova- tions updated or altered the Wilsonian vision.

The general thrust of the postwar liberal international project was that the United States and its partners would need to take a more comprehen- sive approach to building an open, stable, and secure global environment. This postwar liberal international vision updated Wilsonianism in a vari- ety of ways.

First, liberal order would again be built around free trade and open markets, but it would be a more managed openness. Capitalism would be organized internationally and not along national, regional, or imperial lines. In many ways, this is what World War II had been fought over. The Smoot-Hawley tariff, the imperial preference system, and the nationalist and imperial ambitions of Germany, Japan, and other great powers were

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