Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)

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9780691125589: Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)


In the second half of the twentieth century, the United States engaged in the most ambitious and far-reaching liberal order building the world had yet seen. This liberal international order has been one of the most successful in history in providing security and prosperity to more people. But in the last decade, the American-led order has been troubled. Some argue that the Bush administration, with its war on terror, invasion of Iraq, and unilateral orientation, undermined this liberal order. Others argue that we are witnessing the end of the American era. Liberal Leviathan engages these debates.


G. John Ikenberry argues that the crisis that besets the American-led order is a crisis of authority. A political struggle has been ignited over the distribution of roles, rights, and authority within the liberal international order. But the deeper logic of liberal order remains alive and well. The forces that have triggered this crisis--the rise of non-Western states such as China, contested norms of sovereignty, and the deepening of economic and security interdependence--have resulted from the successful functioning and expansion of the postwar liberal order, not its breakdown. The liberal international order has encountered crises in the past and evolved as a result. It will do so again.


Ikenberry provides the most systematic statement yet about the theory and practice of the liberal international order, and a forceful message for policymakers, scholars, and general readers about why America must renegotiate its relationship with the rest of the world and pursue a more enlightened strategy--that of the liberal leviathan.


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From the Back Cover:


"John Ikenberry, America's leading scholar of international affairs, brilliantly relates theory to historical change in his timely advocacy of a new U.S. foreign policy."--Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic and International Studies


"Nobody has thought longer or deeper about the nature of the American liberal world order than John Ikenberry. Tough-minded yet visionary and optimistic, this inspirational volume should become required reading for all those tasked with the great responsibility of steering us to safety through the very choppy international waters into which we are now heading."--Michael Cox, London School of Economics and Political Science


"Liberal Leviathan traces the intimate connections between the emergence of a largely liberal international system and the concentration of global power in the United States in the twentieth century. The marriage of power and principle in the United States has been central to the emergence of the liberal order, but Ikenberry shows that it is also corrosive of that order. As a consequence both of U.S. foreign policy activism and gradual shifts in the distribution of world power, the liberal order faces significant new challenges. This book traces alternative paths through which these challenges might be met."--Barry Posen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Liberal Leviathan offers a masterful deliberation on American power, international change, and the global order. It will no doubt take its place as a seminal volume in international relations, one that helps define the debate about emerging changes in the global distribution of power. I can think of few volumes comparable in their conceptual clarity and ambition. A must-read."--Charles A. Kupchan, author of How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace


"Liberal Leviathan is an ambitious, comprehensive, and deeply learned study of the American-led international political order. I am confident that it will stand as a major and lasting contribution to scholarship and to the public conversation about United States foreign policy. This is a big and important book."--William C. Wohlforth, coauthor of World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy


About the Author:

G. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. His books include "After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars" (Princeton).

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