Was There Ever A New Liberal World Order?

Was A New World Order Actually A Mirage?
Naazneen Barma, Ely Ratner, Steven Weber collaborated on an article for The National Interest in which they contend the world has not fallen away from a new global order – because it never actually existed.

The trio contend the recent past exposes an international political landscape that is “neither orderly nor liberal” with few “instances of international cooperation on significant issues.”

On issues as diverse as climate change to crises in Syria and North Korea, they say, “global governance is in a serious drought—palpable across the full range of crucial, mounting international challenges that include nuclear proliferation, climate change, international development and the global financial crisis.”

Rather than a new world order being on the decline, they argue that it never actually existed.

“The liberal order can’t be under siege in any meaningful way (or prepped to integrate rising powers) because it never attained the breadth or depth required to elicit that kind of agenda. The liberal order is today still largely an aspiration, not a description of how states actually behave or how global governance actually works.”

Others Disagree That The Liberal Order Has Waned

Daniel Drezner, however, takes issue with parts of their argument, saying that the liberal world order is actually quite healthy. Drezner looks at it in more realistic terms when he asserts that global capitalism, preventing and repairing catastrophes remains “a timeless function of global economic governance.”

Furthermore, trying to compare today’s international framework with those of decades past is like trying to compare apples and oranges.

“Second, there is no way that one can objectively compare the world order of the 1930s — or 1940s or 1970s, for that matter — and not conclude that massive amounts of liberal progress have not been made.  The world is far more free politically and economically now than at any point in history.  That suggests a surprisingly robust liberal world order.”

Is The US Actually Bad At Globalization?
On the blog Quartz, Tim Fernholz previews a forthcoming paper in which Bhaskar Chakravorti, director of Tufts’ University’s Institute for Business in the Global Context, promotes the argument that the US is actually bad at globalization.

US Weak Relationships Globally Hamper Globalization Efforts

In the paper, Chakravorti attributes the inability to fully capitalize on the opportunities of globalization because it has no history of colonization and is, in its essence, a fairly insular nation.

Not being a colonizing power does not mean the US has hesitated to become involved in global affairs, but unlike European nations, the US never formed “deep linkages that Spanish and Portuguese companies did in South America or European countries have in Africa or South Asia.”

Americans Suffer From A Lack Of Linguistic Diversity

Furthmore, Chakravorti says, most Americans do not speak a language other than English, whereas nearly 56 percent of Europeans speak a second language.


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