The Future of Liberal Internationalism
downturn of the 1930s. Governments would need to play a more direct supervisory role in stabilizing and managing economic order. New forms of intergovernmental cooperation would need to be invented. Indeed, it is no accident that the most ambitious era of international institutional building took place after 1945—bilateral, multilateral, regional, global, economic, political, and security-oriented. The democratic countries would enmesh themselves in dense institutional relationships.
Faced with the incipient Cold War and fearing a renewal of European instability, the new Western liberal order would also be tied together by a system of security alliances. Wilson’s collective security would be replaced by cooperative security. This was a very important departure from past secu- rity arrangements, and it was something that Wilson himself had resisted. The idea was that Europe and the United States would be part of a single security system. Such a system would ensure that the democratic great pow- ers would not go back to the dangerous game of strategic rivalry and bal- ance of power politics. It helped, of course, to have an emerging Cold War with the Soviet Union to generate this cooperative security arrangement. But the goal of cooperative security was implicit in the other elements of Western order. Without the Cold War, it is not clear that a formal alliance would have emerged as it did. Probably it would not have taken on such an intense and formal character. But a cooperative security order—embodied in a formal alliance institution—provided a framework for the reintegration of West Germany and ensured that the power of the United States would be tied to Europe and rendered more predictable. Power would be exercised within alliance institutions, thereby making American dominance more re- liable and connected to Europe and to East Asia.
The United States would be the hegemonic leader of the new liberal order. The United States took the lead in organizing and running the order, but it did so on terms that were more or less mutually agreeable to states that were inside it. In effect, the United States had a special func- tional-operational role. America was positioned at the center of the liberal international order. It provided the public goods of security protection, market openness, and sponsorship of rules and institutions. The Ameri- can dollar became an international currency, and the American domestic market became an engine of global economic growth. Alliance institu- tions and an array of formal and informal intergovernmental institutions