The Future of Liberal Internationalism
about how liberal internationalism reconstitutes and asserts itself in the post-Bush era.
But there are also deeper intellectual questions about the liberal inter- national “project” as such. These are questions about how the interna- tional community actually makes good on its commitments to support de- mocracy and human rights around the world. The United States has the military power to act on behalf of the international community, but it alone does not have the legitimacy. As Slaughter suggests, the problem is the weakness of the authority structures at the global level to carry out evolving liberal international goals. What the essays in this volume make clear is that there are really no good options for international order other than to try to rebuild multilateral institutions and strengthen cooperative mechanisms to tackle twenty-rst-century global problems. In a funda- mental sense, there is no turning back to pre-Wilsonian ideas about inter- national order, such as those associated with the old classical balance of power system. For better or worse, we are all Wilsonians now.
In this introduction, I will set out some orienting ideas about these ve questions—and thereby set the stage for the essays that follow.
George W. Bush’s Foreign Policy and Liberal Internationalism
The Bush administration did herald a remarkable turn in American for- eign policy: a conservative American president—perhaps the most conser- vative in the postwar era—who campaigned for ofce seeking a return to a “realist” philosophy of foreign policy but who, in the course of events, invoked liberal internationalist ideas to justify a controversial war and an expansive global agenda.
In one sense, this might not be surprising. American presidents from FDR and Truman to Kennedy and Reagan to Clinton have made the championing of democracy and freedom a centerpiece of their foreign policy. At the very outset of the Cold War, President Truman called on the United States to “support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” President Kennedy pro- claimed in his inaugural address that America “shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in