Diplomacy and International Relations The_Liberal_International_Order-the_Unit.pdf

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The Liberal International Order-the United States, the West and the Global South By Israel Donumainasava ______________________________________________________________________________ 201901/1 The Liberal International Order (LIO) is defined as an “open and rule - based international order” that is “enshrined” in institutions such as the Un ited Nations, the WTO, and other international institutions (Kundnani 2018), geared towards liberal principles and objectives. Based on the ideals of multilateralism it encompasses the liberal concepts of political and economic integration at the international level. It emphasizes open markets, multilateral institutions, liberal democracy, and is extensively headed by the United States (US) and its allies. On the basis of these parameters, the LIO can be considered Western in terms of its ideological foundation (liberalism) and capitalist by way of its economic system. Since World War I and II, and at the end of the Cold War, liberal powers such the US and the United Kingdom (along with other democratic states) have risen in influence and have had a primary role in shaping the world order that we know today. However, much of the current debate about the rules and norms of the LIO revolves around the issue of whether influence over the order was solely from the US and other Western countries or if the Global South had a hand in shaping. These rules and norms consist of integrating states economically and politically, institutionalism, multilateral cooperation, democracy, humanitarianism and liberal values of the free world. This paper discusses and examines whether such rules and norm were solely engineered by the US and other powerful Western states or if countries south of the economic-political border have an influence over it as well. It would also be prudent to maintain a focus on the period between the world wars and the early 21 st Century as this was a time when the world system began to make a more visible and felt change with the rise of the United Nations and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). It is during this period (circa 1944-1990) where the US ascends to its hegemonic status as the world leader in the growing order. For seventy years the world has been dominated by this western world system and by virtue of this description alone, one can assume that this order’s objectives, ideal s and rubrics are mainly architected by the West. The US plays a central role here and her primacy in decision making over the order is quite evident: …the United States became the ‘first citizen’ of this order, providing hegemonic leadership anchoring the alliances, stabilizing the world economy, fostering cooperation and championing ‘free world’ values (Ikenberry 2018 a, p.7). With the establishment of multilateral and international organization, states began to integrate and assume membership of the system on which these institutions were built. ‘Western elites see this order as a hugely positive force for promoting peace and prosperity around the globe

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