The Liberal International Order: Past, Present, and Future

Policy Forum
September 20, 2018
11:00AM to 12:15PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute
Featuring Patrick Porter, Professor of International Security and Strategy, University of Birmingham and Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute; Michael Mazarr, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Jake Sullivan, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Co-chair, National Security Action; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

Recent political tumult and the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency have driven anxious commentators to lament the collapse of a post-1945 liberal world order. Invoking the supposed institution building and multilateralism of the last 70 years, the order’s defenders urge U.S. leaders to restore a battered tradition, uphold economic and security commitments, and promote liberal values. Others caution that nostalgia has obscured our understanding of the old order’s hard edges and its shortcomings, and has forestalled a serious assessment of the changes that will be needed going forward.

Panelists will discuss the core principles of the liberal international order — both as those principles have been professed by its defenders and as they have been practiced by U.S. and world leaders. They will also consider the present and future of the liberal order. What revisions, if any, are necessary? Should U.S. leaders embrace the old liberal international order and reaffirm American leadership within that order? Or is it time to reassess U.S. grand strategy and bring U.S. goals in line with modern-day realities? Join us for an important and timely discussion.