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Tensions in liberalism: The troubled path to liberal world order

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  • Sørensen, Georg
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    Abstract

    The lack of a general consensus on the major characteristics of world order has led to a considerable amount of confusion among scholars as well as among policymakers. What kind of order is emerging now? Is it the “liberal moment”; a renewed balance of power competition; a “clash of civilizations”, “Jihad vs. McWorld”; or something else entirely? These analyses make valid points but they are misleading as versions of world order, because they fail to capture what is the most decisive characteristic of the present order. The core issue of world order has to do with tensions in liberalism. Progress towards a genuinely liberal world order has proven much more complicated than expected when the Cold War ended. Liberals agree on the major principles of world order but they are vastly unsure about the real substance of order, including what it should offer to people and states. -- Da kein allgemeiner Konsens über die Hauptmerkmale einer Weltordnung besteht, herrscht unter Wissenschaftler/-innen und Politiker/-innen große Verwirrung. Was für eine Weltordnung entsteht zurzeit? Ist es die „liberale Bewegung“ (ein erneuter Streit über die Machtverhältnisse), der „Kampf der Zivilisationen“ („Jihad gegen McWorld“) oder etwas völlig anderes? Obwohl solche Analysen auf einige stichhaltige Argumente weisen, erweisen sie sich als unterschiedliche Versionen von Weltordnungen eher irreführend und ungeeignet, weil sie das wichtigste Charakteristikum der heutigen Weltordnung nicht erfassen. Denn die Kernfrage der Weltordnung hat doch mit den Spannungen innerhalb des Liberalismus zu tun. Und Fortschritte, nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges, in Richtung einer wirklich liberalen Weltordnung haben sich als weitaus komplizierter erwiesen, als zu erwarten war. Über die Hauptprinzipien einer Weltordnung sind sich die Liberalen einig. Doch was genau die Substanz dieser Ordnung ist und vor allem, was diese den Staaten und Völkern wirklich bringen soll, darüber herrscht noch große Unsicherheit.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance with number SP IV 2007-308.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbtci:spiv2007308

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    1. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1982. "International regimes, transactions, and change: embedded liberalism in the postwar economic order," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 379-415, March.
    2. Zacher, Mark W., 2001. "The Territorial Integrity Norm: International Boundaries and the Use of Force," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(02), pages 215-250, March.
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