The Western Liberal Order from Foundation to Fracture

Geopolitics and Democracy

With the launch of the book Geopolitics and Democracy we explore the fortunes and fragility of the international liberal order, where nation-states invest in international openness and multilateralism on the one hand and in military preparedness on the other. The book provides a novel argument and historical evidence explaining why the Western liberal international order emerged and why it is under threat from anti-globalist forces today.

Combining qualitative-historical and quantitative evidence, the book argues that Western democracies’ failure to shore-up domestic social protection amidst post-Cold War shifts in geopolitics undermined the domestic party-political foundations of the liberal international order.  Undermining those domestic foundations, in turn, unleashes major threats to global cooperation and international multilateralism.  As policy responses to these challenges, Geopolitics and Democracy lays out three paths Western democracies might adopt to revitalize the liberal international order.

This evening Peter Trubowitz and Brian Burgoon shall introduce the highlights of this interpretation and vision, and several leading scholars of international relations and politics shall offer their own comments and critiques.

About the speakers

Peter Trubowitz is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Phelan United States Centre at the London School of Economics and Associate Fellow at Chatham House. He writes and comments frequently on international affairs and American foreign policy. Before joining LSE, he was Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He has held visiting appointments at Harvard, Princeton, Universidad de Chile, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City, Tsinghua University, and the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where he was the J. William Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in American Foreign Policy.

Brian Burgoon is Professor of International and Comparative Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He received his PhD from MIT in 1998, and between 1998 to 2000 was Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He joined the UvA faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2000, was appointed Professor in 2012, and served as Academic Director of the UvA’s Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) from 2014 till December 2020.  He is currently co-director of Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES).

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