The Economic Tasks of the Postwar World [Excerpt]
Bretton Woods and International Cooperation [Excerpt]
The Illusion of World Government [Excerpt]
Widening Boundaries of National Interest [Excerpt]
The Myth of Post–Cold War Chaos [Excerpt]
The Real New World Order
Globalization and Its Discontents: Navigating the Dangers of a Tangled World
NATO at Fifty: An Unhappy Successful Marriage: Security Means Knowing What to Expect
The Unruled World
The Case for Good Enough Global Governance
The Return of Geopolitics
The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers
The Illusion of Geopolitics
The Enduring Power of the Liberal Order
The Reform Reformation
International Organizations and the Challenge of Change
The End of the G-20
Has the Group Outlived Its Purpose?
Will the Liberal Order Survive?
The History of an Idea
Liberalism in Retreat
The Demise of a Dream
The Once and Future Order
What Comes After Hegemony?
Why Trump’s Victory Was 30 Years in the Making and Why It Won’t Stop Here
Trump and World Order
The Return of Self-Help
While campaigning for president in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to renovate the dilapidated multilateral edifice the United States had erected after World War II. He lionized the generation of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and George Marshall for creating the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, and NATO. Their genius, he said, was to recognize that “instead of constraining our power, these institutions magnified it.” But the aging pillars of the postwar order were creaking and crumbling, Obama suggested, and so “to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face,” the world needed a new era of global institution building.
Five years into Obama’s presidency, little progress has been made on that front, and few still expect it. Formal multilateral institutions continue to muddle along, holding their meetings and issuing their reports and taking some minor stabs at improving transnational problems at the margins. Yet despite the Obama administration’s avowed ambition to integrate rising powers as full partners, there has been no movement to reform the composition of the UN Security Council to reflect new geopolitical realities. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is comatose, NATO struggles to find its strategic purpose, and the International Energy Agency courts obsolescence by omitting China and India as members.
The demand for international cooperation has not diminished. In fact, it is greater than ever, thanks to deepening economic interdependence, worsening environmental degradation, proliferating transnational threats, and accelerating technological change. But effective multilateral responses are increasingly occurring outside formal institutions, as frustrated actors turn to more convenient, ad hoc venues. The relative importance of legal treaties and universal bodies such as the UN is declining, as the United States and other states rely more on regional organizations, “minilateral” cooperation among relevant states, codes of conduct, and partnerships with nongovernmental actors. And these trends are only going to continue. The future will see not the renovation or the construction of a glistening new international architecture but rather the continued spread of an unattractive but adaptable multilateral
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