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Liberal Internationalism 3.0: America and the Dilemmas of Liberal World Order

  • G. John Ikenberry (a1)

Liberal international order—both its ideas and real-world political formations—is not embodied in a fixed set of principles or practices. Open markets, international institutions, cooperative security, democratic community, progressive change, collective problem solving, the rule of law—these are aspects of the liberal vision that have made appearances in various combinations and changing ways over the last century. I argue that it is possible to identify three versions or models of liberal international order—versions 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. The first is associated with the ideas of Woodrow Wilson, the second is the Cold War liberal internationalism of the post-1945 decades, and the third version is a sort of post-hegemonic liberal internationalism that has only partially appeared and whose full shape and logic is still uncertain. I develop a set of dimensions that allow for identifying different logics of liberal international order and identify variables that will shape the movement from liberal internationalism 2.0 to 3.0.

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