Accession Number:



Consent of the Governed in the International Order

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Power and influence over global affairs are dominated by a US-led core of Western nations and are exercised within institutional constructs which they designed. States gave their consent to be governed, to some extent, by the international order based on the context immediately following the Second World War. Now, power balances are different, more complex, and more dynamic. The concept of universal norms and values, which initially seemed valid, appears increasingly nave and irrelevant. Legitimacy and cohesion in the order are undermined because member states perceive the leadership of the liberal democratic order as acting in illiberal and undemocratic ways. Rising discontent combines with increased means and opportunity to diverge from the order. This monograph proposes lessons for the global ruling elite in addressing such divergence drawn from analysis of the United Kingdoms departure from the European Union, and the European Unions dealings with increasingly illiberal members. It recommends that the global orders leaders should be deliberate and objective in responding. Short-term and reactionary approaches based on flawed paradigms will be counterproductive. Leaders must accept that they cannot dominate and enforce in all domains and dimensions of power, must accommodate diversity in values, norms, and political systems, and should focus on managing consent rather than balancing power. This more nuanced, collaborative, and pragmatic approach to maintaining the consent of the governed in the global order will bring about better security and prosperity for the United States, and more stability and peace for the entire globe.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]