The end of the Cold War was a "big bang" reminiscent of earlier moments after major wars, such as the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the end of the World Wars in 1919 and 1945. Here John Ikenberry asks the question, what do states that win wars do with their newfound power and how do they use it to build order? In examining the postwar settlements in modern history, he argues that powerful countries do seek to build stable and cooperative relations, but the type of order that emerges hinges on their ability to make commitments and restrain power.
The author explains that only with the spread of democracy in the twentieth century and the innovative use of international institutions--both linked to the emergence of the United States as a world power--has order been created that goes beyond balance of power politics to exhibit "constitutional" characteristics. The open character of the American polity and a web of multilateral institutions allow the United States to exercise strategic restraint and establish stable relations among the industrial democracies despite rapid shifts and extreme disparities in power.
This volume includes a new preface reflecting on the reverberating impact of past postwar settlements and the lessons that hold contemporary relevance. Blending comparative politics with international relations, and history with theory, After Victory will be of interest to anyone concerned with the organization of world order, the role of institutions in world politics, and the lessons of past postwar settlements for today. It also speaks to today's debate over the ability of the United States to lead in an era of unipolar power.
G. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of many books, including Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton).
"After Victory show[s] how international governance can serve the interests of hegemonic powers."--Robert Wright, The New York Times
"This is a thought-provoking and elegantly written book and an important contribution to our understanding of postwar orders and institutions."--Peter Liberman, Political Science Quarterly
"After Victory is a majestic work that combines many familiar but seemingly unrelated themes into one elegant package of exceptional theoretical and empirical sweep. . . . It should have an enduring impact on the study and practice of international relations."--Journal of Politics
"This pathbreaking work is one of the most important studies on international order to appear in many years. It will be required reading for all students and scholars of international relations."--Choice
"The liberal argument that democratic regimes can make a dramatic difference in world affairs has finally achieved intellectual respectability, as this fine book so convincingly maintains."--Tony Smith, Foreign Affairs
"This is unquestionably one of the most important books in the field of the past decade."--International Affairs
"For the third time in this troubled century and following the end of the Cold War and the tragic events in the former Yugoslavia, the world is challenged to create a stable and enduring world order. In this pathbreaking book, Ikenberry draws upon novel theoretical insights and historical experience to determine what policies and strategies work best as the United States attempts to lead in the struggles to create a new world order. . A major contribution to IR theory and to thinking about international order."--Robert Gilpin, Princeton University
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by G. John Ikenberry: