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Liberal Leviathan:
The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order
G. John Ikenberry

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2011: Top 25 Books

Paperback | 2012 | $26.95 | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691156170
392 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 1 line illus. 8 tables.
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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.


"[A]mbitious and thought-provoking."--Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

"International orders guide how major powers interact with one another and with less powerful states: how they cooperate and compete in trade and security and when and why they respect one another's sovereignty. Ikenberry's important book tackles this complex subject, giving readers a deep understanding of the factors that determine the type of international order. . . . Liberal Leviathan is a valuable guide to understanding the factors that will determine its eventual shape."--Foreign Affairs

"Liberal Leviathan is a brilliant inquisition into the nature of international order, politics of unipolarity, and substance of United States foreign policy. . . . Drawing equally on international relations theory, history, and political theory, Liberal Leviathan offers a probing analysis into the challenges to the current U.S.-led international order and its likely future."--David A. Lake, Global Governance

"This is a valuable work of international relations theory."--Choice

"Liberal Leviathan is a great review of the state of the art of broad and narrow Realist and liberal theories being discussed in American academia."--César de Prado, International Affairs

"His book lucidly explains how the end of the Cold War allowed the U.S.-dominated Western system to expand to the rest of the world. Ikenberry's account has an intuitive appeal. There's always more than enough chaos to argue that the world is in crisis . . . he writes thoughtfully about the challenge of integrating rising powers into global governance. . . . As a clear and informed synthesis of the existing scholarship on global governance, this book is a success."--David Bosco, American Prospect

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Table of Contents:

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Chapter One: Crisis of the Old Order 1
Part One: Theoretical Foundations 33
Chapter Two: Power and the Varieties of Order 35
Chapter Three: Power and Strategies of Rule 79
Chapter Four: Unipolarity and Its Consequences 119
Part Two: Historical Origins and Trajectories of Change 157
Chapter Five: The Rise of the American System 159
Chapter Six: The Great Transformation and the Failure of Illiberal Hegemony 221
Chapter Seven: Dilemmas and Pathways of Liberal International Order 279
Chapter Eight: Conclusion: The Durability of Liberal International Order 333
Index 361

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