Testing the Liberal Order
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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In 2011, John G. Ikenberry published Liberal Leviathan, outlining a theory of a US-led liberal hegemonic order and important results deriving from the orders fundamental characteristics. Specifically, despite a US relative decline in power, Ikenberry posits that the liberal order is likely to endure. Given recent trends in the international environment, an important question looms. Is the existing order a liberal order, deeply embedded and durable, as Ikenberrys theorizes This thesis seeks to answer this question by investigating the current international orders governing mechanisms through empirical analyses including three analytic levels state interactions in the international system, internal state values, and states population values. The results of this work provide some evidence to support Ikenberrys theory of the liberal order, especially that liberal behaviors in the order are increasing over time. However, other results bring into question the assumption of the embedded, self-reinforcing nature of the liberal order. Adding to these results are divergent regional trends and values, potentially providing opportunities for rising powers to undermine the liberal order. It seems that while states are participating in the liberal order, the future of this participation is not guaranteed. US policymakers must decide what they want the future order to look like, and develop a concrete strategy to shape and maintain such an order. An essential first step for the development of such a strategy is understanding the existing order, and this work attempts to make a small contribution to such an effort.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law