The construction of The International Liberal Order has allowed for bias and dominance in the international realm to favour some states over others. Understanding the risks which having a structural international hierarchy has, particularly in the wake of the recent emergence of authoritarian governance and influence inside The Liberal International Order in opposition to the United States and other democracies, demonstrates the current downfall of democracy.
What is the Liberal International Order?
The Liberal International Order (LIO), otherwise known as The Liberal World Order, is the product of a post-WWII construction of an ideological order founded upon liberal ideas and values by Western countries to prevent the repeat of the horrific events seen both during WWII and the Cold War. Due to its liberal nature, the LIO’s ideology promotes the inclusion of an open and free trade, liberal democratic governance, universal human rights, collective security, international institutions and the rule of law to promote international peace.
Structural bias and downfall of The Liberal International Order
Commentators believe that the LIO was destined to fail, although the reasons appear conflicted, all provide the same narrative which describes the construction of LIO to be too weak.
Despite the promotion of international peace and equality through the establishment of an ‘international community’, when accessing the nature and input inside LIO one can recognise that states which hold the most power are those who determine the movement of the LIO. English Philosopher Thomas Hobbes describes such hierarchy to be innate to the enforcement of rules, which presuppose an existence of a legitimate uncontested authority which holds a form of monopolistic coercive power. When applying this structure to the international realm though, in a field of state ladders, states only try to increase their power to assert their dominance in the field. Since the construction of the LIO western democracies, specifically the United States, have dominated the LIO. Whilst advocating for the implementation of democracy in non-democratic states, these Western democracies began to accelerate the global market through advancements of globalisation. Globalisation created a ‘borderless’ trading market according to the liberal principles which constructed the LIO. Although poorer countries were enabled to trade with richer ones, they became unable to afford the commodities priced by richer countries. The success of some countries that were lifted out of poverty were attributed to the trade of natural recourses which resided within those states. As a result, despite the initial peace aims, the LIO has evolved into a liberal trade market. The evolution of LIO has prompted the rise of risks facing
Outside of trade, Western and non-Western perceptions still differ. States such as Russia and China have spoken out about haw the LIO constructs a “U.S. led world,” placing world power in the hands of the United States. As a result escalation in gaining power sen in both China and Russia as oppositions to the United States and the Western democratic realm is presented in the modern political sphere, where both states oppose values which the LIO presents. Some commentators see this to place democracy at risk through the atmospheric shift, where both China and Russia are seen as equally powerful as the United States, creating a conflicting disperse of ruling political ideas. As such smaller states are placed in a vulnerable position to survive where their support can only lie with either party not both, resulting in their necessary subscription to either ideals which China and Russia represent or the United States represents. If this continues, forecasted polarisation will split the LIO. Whilst power shifts and atmospheric changes were inevitable inside the LIO, as the LIO system is supposed to evolve with the changing structure of the political sphere , the change will only be successful in protecting peace if emerging states with power recognise the world order.