Amitav Acharya, "Power, Legitimacy and the Fate of the Liberal International Order"

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Amitav Acharya
January 23, 2020
3:30PM - 5:00PM
Location
Room 120, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 1501 Neil Avenue

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Add to Calendar 2020-01-23 15:30:00 2020-01-23 17:00:00 Amitav Acharya, "Power, Legitimacy and the Fate of the Liberal International Order"

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Amitav Acharya is the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Distinguished Professor at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC. He is the first non-Western scholar to be elected (for 2014-15) as the President of the International Studies Association (ISA), the largest and most influential global network in international studies. Previously he was a Professor at York University, Toronto, and the Chair in Global Governance at the University of Bristol, U.K. He held the inaugural Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship in International Relations at Rhodes University, South Africa in 2012-13 and the inaugural Boeing Company Chair in International Relations at the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University in 2016-18. In addition, he was a Fellow of Harvard’s Asia Center and John F. Kennedy School of Government, and was elected to the Christensen Fellowship at Oxford.

The fate of the Liberal International Order (LIO) has attracted much scrutiny. Yet, contributions to this debate have been mostly from Western writers, many of whom routinely ignore non-Western perspectives, and largely great power-centered. This leaves some key questions about the history and future of the LIO unanswered. The LIO was created and maintained by a select group of states, led by the US and its Western allies. Not only China and India but also the “Third World” was not a constitutive part of LIO. One should not conflate the LIO with the notion of universalism, which had a wider constituency at the end of World War II. Although many countries in the postcolonial world aspired to an inclusive and universal global order to prevent conflict, advance freedom and self-determination and achieve economic justice, they saw the LIO as a narrower construct, an extension of US/Western dominance, and resented its key features such as the inequities in power/influence, selective provision of public goods, and rampant liberal interventionism, even as some of them benefitted from the LIO economically. This created a legitimacy deficit and resistance to the LIO that continues till now and shapes their attitude towards the present crisis of the LIO, despite the economic benefits it might have offered to some non-Western countries.  

Room 120, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 1501 Neil Avenue Mershon Center mershoncenter@osu.edu America/New_York public
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Amitav Acharya is the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Distinguished Professor at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC. He is the first non-Western scholar to be elected (for 2014-15) as the President of the International Studies Association (ISA), the largest and most influential global network in international studies. Previously he was a Professor at York University, Toronto, and the Chair in Global Governance at the University of Bristol, U.K. He held the inaugural Nelson Mandela Visiting Professorship in International Relations at Rhodes University, South Africa in 2012-13 and the inaugural Boeing Company Chair in International Relations at the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University in 2016-18. In addition, he was a Fellow of Harvard’s Asia Center and John F. Kennedy School of Government, and was elected to the Christensen Fellowship at Oxford.

The fate of the Liberal International Order (LIO) has attracted much scrutiny. Yet, contributions to this debate have been mostly from Western writers, many of whom routinely ignore non-Western perspectives, and largely great power-centered. This leaves some key questions about the history and future of the LIO unanswered. The LIO was created and maintained by a select group of states, led by the US and its Western allies. Not only China and India but also the “Third World” was not a constitutive part of LIO. One should not conflate the LIO with the notion of universalism, which had a wider constituency at the end of World War II. Although many countries in the postcolonial world aspired to an inclusive and universal global order to prevent conflict, advance freedom and self-determination and achieve economic justice, they saw the LIO as a narrower construct, an extension of US/Western dominance, and resented its key features such as the inequities in power/influence, selective provision of public goods, and rampant liberal interventionism, even as some of them benefitted from the LIO economically. This created a legitimacy deficit and resistance to the LIO that continues till now and shapes their attitude towards the present crisis of the LIO, despite the economic benefits it might have offered to some non-Western countries.