Structural Liberalism:The Nature and Sources of Postwar Western Political Order

Author
G. John Ikenberry, Daniel Deudney
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics, University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
The end of the Cold War has triggered new debates about international relations theory. Most of the attention has been focused on explaining the end of the Cold War. Equally important, however, this epochal development raises new questions about the impact of forty years of East-West rivalry on the relations among the Western liberal democracies. This issue is not simply of passing historical interest because it bears on our expectations about the future trajectory of relations among the great powers in the West. Will the end of the Cold War lead to the decline of cooperative relations among the Western liberal democracies? Will major Western political institutions, such as NATO and the U.S.-Japanese alliance, fall apart? Will "semi-sovereign" Germany and Japan revert to traditional great power status? Will the United States return to its traditional isolationist posture? Our answers to these questions depend upon the sources of Western order: was the Cold War the primary cause of Western solidarity or does the West have a distinctive and robust political order that predated and paralleled the Cold War?
Topic
International Relations, Government, Politics
Political Geography
United States, Japan, Europe, Germany