Liberal Leviathan

By Phar Kim Beng
Strategic Pan Indo-Pacific Arena
Twitter: @indo_pan

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Following the English School of International Relations, as pioneered by the late Hedley Bull, indeed, the late Stanley Hoffman at Harvard University, John Ikenberry argued that rules and regulations are critical to the viability of any international order.

With Trump likely to be replaced by President-elect Joe Biden, latter who is a multilateralist, *is about to put John Ikenberry’s ideas to great use.

Without them, no amount of force can compel the two hundred and odd nation-states in the world to behave in an according to manner. They would be akin to random quarks, each allowing their neutrons and electrons to snap at one another, often without any internal cohesion.

“Liberal Leviathan” is a superb book written with one puzzle in mind: When the US embarks on a unilateral War on Terror against Al Qaeda, be it rightly or wrongly, can the liberal-democratic elements that were originally put in place since the 1940s, begin to unravel too?

John Ikenberry, one of the top academics in the US, argued that the effects can cut both ways. The Bush administration’s unilateralism did indeed undo the good work of the previous US administration to build a liberal international order. Former President Donald Trump did even more damage between 2016–2000.

But the more the US seeks to contain radical Islam, the more the United States requires deeper, rather than less, Muslim countries to embrace certain modicum of liberal democratic values to buttress the efforts of the US.

A coalition of like-minded countries , Muslim or non-Muslim, are well poised to create a liberal Leviathan. By such liberal behemoth means the emphasis on the election, democracy and free press must take precedence to make the world tick, without which it will fail to move forward.

A Leviathan is a state, or coalition of states, that can ensure a win-win collective outcome; although the fount of those liberal democratic values should ideally come from the fine example of the United States first.



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