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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter & Tony Smith: The ... - page 22 / 25





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The Future of Liberal Internationalism 21

the end of the Cold War, the role of the United States as a hegemonic leader became more problematic—and contested. The rules on great power intervention and the role of the United Nations as a site for legiti- mating the use of force were also newly debated around the world.

Clearly, the debate is not simply the question of whether Bush is a Wilsonian—it is about the future of liberal internationalism in the twenty-

  • rst century. The essays that follow speak to these challenges.

First, as we have noted, certain Wilsonian ideas evolved into a more encompassing liberal international “project” in the postwar decades. But also, of course, the world itself changed after the Cold War, and this has rendered problematic the older, Cold War–era liberal vision. During the Cold War, the liberal international order was built “inside” the larger bi- polar global system. This bipolar framework provided the outside geopo- litical beams and girders for building liberal internationalism within the West. When the Cold War ended, the “inside” order became the “out- side” order; that is, its logic was extended to the larger global system. In one sense, this is a story of the triumph of an American-style liberal inter- national order. The collapse of the Soviet bloc was a collapse of the last apparent great challenge to this order. But in another sense, the scale and scope of the open, capitalist system dramatically expanded—it be- came truly global, and this brought into the liberal system new states, peoples, and problems. The problem increasingly was not how to build binding relations among advanced democracies but how to integrate and strengthen weak or emerging non-Western democracies situated in trou- bled regions of the world. If liberal order is a political system designed to “do the business” of the community of democracies, there was suddenly a lot more business to do among a more varied array of states.

Second, the global “security problem” also shifted in the last decade from war among the great powers to terrorism and other transnational threats that emerge from weak states in the periphery. The Bush adminis- tration has stressed this new reality, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it: “In 1945, the fear that strong, aggressive states—eager and able to expand their frontiers with force—would be the primary cause of international problems. Today, however, it is clear that weak and poorly governed states—unwilling or incapable of ruling their countries with justice—are the principal source of global crises—from civil war and

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