Journal #5 USING ONLY THE SOURCES PROVIDED ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION IN APA STYLE 350 words: Discuss in your own words what the authors mean by the c


 Discuss in your own words what the authors mean by the crisis facing the liberal order has come from within. What actions should nations’ states take to restore the liberal order? (Make sure you include in your response specific examples from reading.)

ROBIN NIBLETT is Director and Chief Executive of Chatham House, the Royal
Institute of International Affairs.

LESLIE VINJAMURI is Director of the U.S. and Americas Programme at Chatham
House and Associate Professor of International Relations at SOAS University of


This essay emerged from the Lloyd George Study Group on World Order.

!e Liberal Order Begins at

How Democratic Revival Can Reboot the
International System


For more than seven decades, the twin commitments by the United
States and its allies to democracy at home and internationalism abroad
animated the so-called liberal order. In recent years, however, the system
has faced a growing crisis. Transitions toward democracy in Russia,
Turkey, and southeast Asia stalled. !e states caught in the rush of the
Arab Spring failed to democratize as their citizens hoped.

Now, this crisis of democracy is penetrating the core of the liberal order.
Growing economic inequality and a backlash against political liberalism

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have left the United States and the United Kingdom internally divided.
In democracies across Asia, Europe, and Latin America, social and
political divisions are rife, public trust in institutions is low, and the role
of science and facts in shaping public policy is under attack.

!e inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden provides an opportunity to
restore democratic norms in the United States and salvage a liberal order
abroad. But the question remains whether that basic idea is still “t for the
purpose. Some leading voices argue that Western democracies and liberal
values neither can nor should anchor a world order. !e rise of an
authoritarian China threatens to shift the balance of global values away
from democracies and toward authoritarian regimes.

But the specter of a world order whose dominant institutions are, at best,
neutral toward individual freedoms and democracy is not compelling.
Nor is it a vision that the Biden administration and its allies would
readily accept. !e liberal order was designed to create “a world safe for
democracy,” in the words of the political scientist G. John Ikenberry. !e
challenge lies in delivering on this vision.

Reviving the liberal order means accepting “rst that the crisis has come
from within. Its problems are rooted in the deep economic inequalities in
Western states themselves. As the Biden administration appears to
recognize, it will be possible to restore that order and the global in#uence
of liberal democratic values only if democracies “rst rebuild at home.
Above all, these states must adopt a new domestic social contract that
meets the demands for inclusion that are the hallmark of the twenty-“rst

!e ability of Western democracies to shape the international order has

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always been inextricably linked to their economic success and to their
commitment to individual freedoms at home. If they can no longer
deliver these bene”ts, then populist leaders in the West and
authoritarians abroad will remain appealing for a long time to come.

!is project of strengthening democracies is especially urgent in today’s
geopolitical environment. !e COVID-19 pandemic has intensi”ed
growing tensions between China and the United States. If Washington
and its democratic partners fail to reassert their political and moral
authority by example, there will be little left to prevent the rapid spread
of a more illiberal and ultimately unstable international system.


Liberal democracies’ failings are mostly homegrown. For decades after
the end of World War II, the United States’ allies in Europe and Asia
carefully managed the process of economic globalization, calibrating their
trade and domestic policies to prioritize social welfare and full
employment. !e United Kingdom formed the National Health Service
in 1948, and in 1965, the U.S. Congress created Medicare and Medicaid.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, in their enthusiasm to secure a
share of the bene”ts of globalization, democratic governments opened
their economies to allow freer #ows of “nance, trade, investment, and
technology. Today, it is clear that the bene”ts of globalization have come
at a cost. Although open markets created new opportunities for some,
they led to stagnant wages for others. Growth in real median household
income in the United States stagnated starting in the mid-1970s, and
educational achievement, especially in math and science, fell compared
with similar nations. Social mobility, the hallmark of the American
Dream, also stalled, even among Americans with college degrees. By

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1984, only half of all children earned more than their parents (the
comparable “gure in the 1940s was 92 percent).

As those who engaged in arbitraging globalization prospered, those
anchored to local markets grew increasingly marginalized. !e
advantages that social welfare programs once provided for the average
citizen also began to erode, and many people now attribute their growing
sense of personal insecurity to the international liberal economic order

Against this backdrop, rising immigration into the United States and
Europe increased fears of cultural and economic dislocation. In Europe,
this sentiment intensi”ed during the 2014–15 refugee crisis, leading to
the emergence of far-right and far-left populist parties, both of which
exploited the growing resentment against the liberal economic order. In
the United States, populist politicians on both sides of the political
spectrum shared an antiglobalization agenda, despite di$erent
philosophical origins. !e United Kingdom’s surprise decision in June
2016 to leave the EU and, just a few months later, Donald Trump’s
election in the United States cemented this rejection of liberalism within
the two founders of the liberal international order.

Now, COVID-19 has upended this already fragile situation, bringing
with it the worst public health crisis since the Spanish #u pandemic of
1918–19 and one of the worst economic recessions of modern times. It
has also exposed the persistence of inequality: in the United States and
Europe, the wealthy have been largely shielded from the pandemic’s
economic e$ects. Meanwhile, the virus has disproportionately a$ected
the lives and livelihoods of citizens in poorer neighborhoods; magni”ed
racial divides; destroyed low-income jobs; and spread through care

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homes, meatpacking plants, prisons, and immigrant populations. Young
people, although relatively insulated from the worst e$ects of the disease,
are among those hit hardest by the resulting disruption to their education
and employment opportunities.


Since 1945, multilateral institutions have provided stability in times of
crisis and helped maintain an open economy that spread economic
prosperity to hundreds of millions of people around the world. !e
Trump administration, however, attacked organizations such as the
World Trade Organization (WTO) for doing precisely the opposite
—abetting the rise of China and undermining the economic security of
the American middle class.

Leaders across Europe have welcomed Biden’s election because of his
commitment to restore U.S. engagement with established institutions and
to reintegrate Washington into more recent multilateral frameworks,
such as the Paris climate accord and the Open Skies Treaty. But U.S.
allies are wary of the United States’ staying power. !ere is little to
reassure Europeans that the United States’ international role has
permanently returned to the status quo ante. Many fear that U.S. foreign
relations will continue to be de”ned by dramatic swings from conditional
multilateralism to assertive unilateralism. !e EU’s decision to complete
a bilateral investment agreement with China just three weeks before
Biden’s inauguration revealed the extent to which European governments
believe they will occasionally need to prioritize their own tactical interests
over loyalty to the transatlantic alliance.

To make matters worse, transatlantic ties are under stress in a global
context that is increasingly hostile to democratic values. A growing

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number of democratic governments, from those in central Europe to
Southeast Asia, are elevating the power of the state at the expense of
other institutions, such as the judiciary, the press, and civil society.
According to Freedom House, a nongovernmental organization that
tracks democratic rights, political and civil liberties have been declining
for 14 consecutive years.

In addition, the globalization that liberal democracies once championed
is now turning against them, delivering bene”ts to new champions that
don’t share the same commitment to the liberal order on which the
democracies depend. By 2028, China is expected to overtake the United
States as the largest global economy. By 2050, the contributions of the
United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU to global GDP is
expected to decline from over 40 percent in 2016 to around 21 percent.

China is also using its rising international economic clout to build up its
in#uence at the United Nations. Of the UN’s 15 specialized agencies,
Chinese nationals now head four. China is using its new access to de”ne
multilateralism according to its own illiberal norms and strategic
priorities, demanding noninterference in the internal politics of states
even if these contravene established commitments to human rights
protections. Beijing is also weaponizing interdependence—threatening to
deny access to its vast domestic market to countries that investigate the
origins of the COVID-19 pandemic or call out China’s human rights
abuses at home.

Russia, for its part, has integrated social media manipulation into its
statecraft—sowing disinformation, sharpening cultural divides, and
destroying trust in democratic institutions. In late 2020, it was likely the
source of one of the largest cyberattacks ever launched against U.S.

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government agencies and corporations.


Never have liberal democracies looked so vulnerable at home and so
insecure abroad. If these states are to reemerge as in#uential forces, they
will need to demonstrate that they can again nurture their citizens’
economic productivity and personal liberty. Doing so will require a new
social contract between each state and its citizens—creating a twenty-
“rst-century state with a new social purpose that emphasizes inclusion
over growth.

!e COVID-19 pandemic has opened the political space for a novel
cross-party consensus to achieve this goal. In Japan, the United
Kingdom, the United States, and the EU, parties on the right and the
left united as the economic crisis escalated to support macroeconomic
responses that would have been unimaginable just a few months earlier.
In the United States, Congress moved swiftly to pass a series of stimulus
packages including the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion relief plan to support
individuals, households, and businesses—the largest economic stimulus
package in U.S. history.

Short-term “scal packages now need to be transformed into sustained
interventions. But rallying bipartisan support for large-scale, long-term
public investment will be fraught, and as the pandemic drags on, the
willingness to contemplate higher levels of government spending is likely
to fade—especially in the United States. Polarization and entrenched
divisions are already creating signi”cant barriers for the Biden
administration despite Democratic control of both houses of Congress
and the White House. Biden’s decision to move forward with the $1.9
trillion American Rescue Plan without signi”cant bipartisan support may

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be necessary in the short term but could further entrench partisan

To avoid gridlock, leaders should prioritize policies that have wide cross-
party appeal. !at should include public investment in infrastructure and
in health, education, and a$ordable housing. New infrastructure can
reconnect divided societies by modernizing roads, rail systems, and
energy grids and extending access to broadband networks. !ese
improvements can break down inequalities in educational and economic
opportunities between peripheral and core cities, forgotten rural areas
and creative urban hubs, low- and high-income families, and depressed
and resilient regions. Government stimulus that emphasizes green energy
would also create urgently needed new jobs.

Renewed focus on these issues will help all sectors of society—especially
young people—participate in the workforce. !e next generation will
shoulder the long-term burden of climate risks, slowed growth, and
rising debt. !e ability to integrate this generation is all the more
important in European states with aging economies and declining
population growth rates.

To see results quickly, however, Western democracies also need to protect
their economies from unfettered globalization. New rules to regulate
investment by foreign companies that bene”t unfairly from government
support or that may hollow out local technological competitiveness make
sense in the novel geoeconomic environment. In the United States and
Europe, leaders are already moving to screen out hostile foreign takeovers
of sensitive “rms.

!e challenge will be for democracies to coordinate these policies to

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ensure that one state’s actions do not undercut others. Aggressive
interventions can undermine markets and threaten consumers. Far better
to help entrepreneurs build new companies and scale them up quickly.
Tax incentives for basic research, remodeled bankruptcy laws, and new
patent protections would align more closely with Western values and
produce better results.

Liberal democracies should also use the current “scal stress and
unprecedented government borrowing during the pandemic as an
opportunity to rethink outdated national tax structures. Tax systems
designed to attract foreign investment have created a dangerous
imbalance between income and corporate rates on the one hand and
public spending requirements on the other. !is puts pressure on
governments to levy indirect taxes on consumption and limit access to
health care, among other austerity measures. To address these inequities,
several European governments, including France and the United
Kingdom, have already pledged to raise more revenue from personal
property, gains on investments, and the revenues that global tech “rms
such as Facebook and Google earn in their countries.


Along with these policies, the United States and countries in Europe
need to rethink their immigration systems. Democratic leaders must
balance the obvious economic bene”ts of immigration against the social
and cultural insecurity that it can generate. Getting this mixture right is
crucial in the midst of an economic recession and rising unemployment.

!e battle over immigration has become one of the most divisive issues
for modern democracies. During his term as U.S. president, Donald
Trump cut legal immigration by 49 percent, politicized border controls,

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and adopted brutal tactics including separating children from their
parents. Many tolerated these repressive measures because Trump
hammered home the message that immigrants were criminals who stole
jobs and bene”ts that rightfully belonged to ordinary working
Americans. Forging bipartisan support for reform e$orts in the United
States will now require leaders to adopt humane but tough measures
targeting illegal immigration while highlighting the positive role
immigrants play in the country’s economic growth, capacity for
innovation, and national identity.

!e optimal approach for the United States and European countries alike
would include economic investment in places with high levels of
emigration, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Central America, and the Sahel;
transparent and accessible pathways for both unskilled and highly skilled
immigrants; strong border controls and the capacity to expel
undocumented migrants rapidly but humanely; and protection for the
children of undocumented residents. Biden addressed some of these
imperatives in his “rst two weeks in o%ce, signing three executive orders
to review Trump’s immigration policies, including barriers to
naturalization, family separation, and the so-called Remain in Mexico
policy that has forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers to wait in
Mexico until they are called to court in the United States. Biden has also
proposed an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million
undocumented immigrants living in the United States. !is latter issue is
one of the most di%cult challenges in transitioning to a comprehensive
approach, not only in the United States but in all liberal democracies.
Countries should adopt a clear and realistic path to citizenship so that
these immigrants can also contribute as citizens.

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!is more coherent immigration policy must be based on the liberal
democratic values of openness, tolerance, and inclusivity. Its success
depends on the ability of government leaders to make the case for a
pragmatic, values-based immigration system that is sensitive to both
migration’s disruptive e$ects and its inherent potential. Mainstream
politicians must counter populist e$orts to mobilize anti-immigrant
sentiment based on ethnic or sectarian di$erences. Instead, leaders need
to ground the idea of national identity not on their citizens’ race,
ethnicity, or religion but on their shared commitment to liberal
democratic values.


A supportive international environment is a prerequisite for “xing
democracy at home. At a time when Western democracies’ share of
global GDP is declining, their economic competitiveness will require
reliable access to international markets and new technologies. Working
with trusted allies will be essential for multiplying in#uence and access.

!e transatlantic partnership between Europe and North America must
be a central element of this renewed multilateralism. !e United States
and Europe still enjoy the most interwoven political and economic
relations of any group of states. Along with Canada, they comprise nearly
one billion people, slightly below 15 percent of the world’s population
but over 50 percent of global GDP. Together, their military budgets are
equivalent to 57 percent of the global total, and they contribute 85
percent of international development assistance. NATO remains the
world’s most powerful military alliance, and the EU is the largest and
most integrated single market.

U.S. and European leaders should seize the momentum from Biden’s

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inauguration to renew the transatlantic partnership. In doing so, however,
they also need to reach out to democracies in Africa, Asia, and Latin
America. More inclusive cooperation will be essential to addressing
pressing global challenges, such as public health crises, climate change,
technological competition, cybersecurity concerns, debt forgiveness, and
humanitarian relief.

Democratic states should “rst tackle these issues through existing
multilateral organizations. But, where gridlock and antiquated
institutions threaten to derail progress, they should rely on smaller
groupings of like-minded countries with shared values and overlapping
interests. By creating a core group of democracies, liberal states could
boost their voices within large, multilateral bodies, such as the G-20 and
the UN.

Biden, for instance, has already proposed a so-called Democracy Summit
to strengthen democracy worldwide. !is approach might include
adopting common regulatory approaches to social media companies and
surveillance technologies and e$orts to prevent the spread of
misinformation among voters—one of the biggest internal threats to
liberal democracy.

For its part, the British government has recommended creating a “D-10”
of democratic states by adding Australia, India, and South Korea to the
existing G-7. !is initiative is driven in part by the national security risks
associated with societies’ ever-growing reliance on interconnected digital
technologies. One proposed goal for this group is to coordinate its
members’ domestic and foreign policies to reduce their dependence on
Chinese “rms for 5G telecommunications technologies and other
important supply chains.

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!is approach is not without its challenges, however. Maintaining
ideological cohesion among liberal democracies that sometimes have
distinct interests is a di%cult prospect. !e EU, for instance, is struggling
to manage democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland. And although
the G-7 is su%ciently small and like-minded, its experience with the
Trump administration shows that consensus-based bodies can easily be
disrupted when their leaders’ interests diverge.

!ese experiences warn against formally transforming the G-7 into a
D-10—especially when it comes to including India. India will soon be
the world’s most populous nation and its “fth- or sixth-largest economy.
Its democratic constitution and strategic location, moreover, make it a
logical partner. Still, India is riven by domestic divisions and inequalities.
Its market size coexists with persistent levels of poverty and a fractious
political system. As a result, Indian governments have long been reluctant
to fully liberalize the economy. !e country’s development, moreover, is
now overseen by a prime minister, Narendra Modi, who uses
authoritarian tactics to limit freedoms and elevate Hindu nationalism
while repressing Muslim minorities.

Enlarging groups such as the G-7 to include states such as India will
likely expose the original members to internal di$erences on important
democratic values and economic policies. Membership in these
organizations, whatever their purpose, should therefore be based on
commitments to a carefully de”ned set of criteria, such as judicial
independence, a free press, individual rights in the digital realm, and
protections for minorities.

A separate challenge is that solving global problems ultimately depends
on liberal democracies working with states outside their democratic

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circle. !ere are, however, successful precedents for progress. Since its
establishment in 2003, the Proliferation Security Initiative, designed after
9/11 to limit access to materials for weapons of mass destruction, has
grown from 11 to 105 members—including Afghanistan and Saudi

!is tradition has a long history. In 1947, a small group of democracies
came together to establish the General Agreement on Tari$s and Trade
(GATT), the precursor to the WTO. In the future, a cross-regional
agreement between the diverse Trans-Paci”c Partnership (TPP)
countries and the EU could serve, as the GATT before it, to raise
standards on fair and sustainable trade and investment. Regular
coordination within a cross-regional group of this sort might also help
address the current impasse in reforming the WTO.

!is type of inclusive coordination will require treading a careful line
between sovereignty and e$ective cooperation. Multilateralism that
grants too much authority to consensus or great-power consent creates
barriers to action and a tendency to produce lowest-common-
denominator outcomes. If adhering to the WHO’s International Health
Regulations were an entirely voluntary process, for example, the danger
of new pandemics would increase exponentially.

!e principle behind the 2015 Paris climate accord o$ers a way past this
dilemma. !e agreement relied on national alignment with an
international agreement instead of delegating national sovereignty to an
international body. It utilized the concept of so-called Nationally
Determined Contributions, whereby governments made individual
commitments to establish and meet speci”c carbon reduction targets.
Transparency and public shaming are the agreement’s principal tools.

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Alongside growing public awareness, these new mechanisms are driving
real change in national and corporate policies.


To revive the liberal international order, democratic states need to
develop a common strategy toward China. Concerns about Beijing’s
behavior have grown steadily as Chinese President Xi Jinping has
tightened Communist Party control over Chinese society—removing
presidential term limits and cracking down on domestic political dissent.
Among other moves, China has incarcerated up to one million Uyghur
Muslims in reeducation camps in Xinjiang and introduced a draconian
national security law in Hong Kong.

In addition to the Chinese government’s secretive handling of the
COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has annexed and militarized reefs and
islands in the South China Sea. An independent UN tribunal ruled the
campaign illegal in 2016. China has also escalated its threats against
Taiwan and engaged in a lethal military confrontation with Indian
soldiers along the line of control between China and India. !is all points
to a more belligerent China that is unwilling to concede to other
countries’ concerns.

!ese developments, combined with new leadership in the United States,
have opened the door to a more uni”ed China strategy among Western
democracies. In the United States, China’s rise was once perceived
principally as a threat to international security and U.S. economic and
technological dominance. Now, Xi’s domestic policies and the crackdown
on Hong Kong have galvanized U.S. concern about human rights abuses
across the political spectrum.

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European countries have long struggled to agree on a common position
toward China. !e degree of economic exposure to the Chinese market
varies greatly across EU member states, making cooperation di%cult. But
Beijing is now seen as a threat not only to the long-term competitiveness
of certain high-value economic sectors but also to human rights. !e
European Parliament has threatened to reject the recently “nalized EU-
Chinese investment agreement, for instance, unless it includes a stronger
commitment from China to meet International Labor Organization
standards on workers’ rights.

Coordinating a joint transatlantic strategy toward China, however, will
be di%cult in the years ahead. !is re#ects not only the concern in
Europe about the long-term political reliability of the United States but
also an awareness of the economic opportunity that access to China’s
market presents. Democratic states in the Asia-Paci”c—Australia, Japan,
and South Korea, whose economies are even more dependent on access
to the Chinese market than are the economies of European countries—
face a similar conundrum. !ey joined China and the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations in concluding the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership, a free-trade agreement that excludes the United
States and India, in November of last year, even after Joe Biden’s election.

How then can liberal democracies credibly demonstrate to China that
they can uphold the liberal order’s values? Contesting Chinese attempts
to export its surveillance state is a good starting point. Without clear
protections for individuals, the spread of digital tools such as facial
recognition, machine learning, credit rating, and health monitoring
threatens human rights around the world and would entrench state power
at the expense of ordinary people.

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!e United States, European countries, and other allies should call out
e$orts by China and …

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