"Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order" by G. John Ikenberry

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 27.2 (Summer 2013)

May 31, 2013

Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order

Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order, G. John Ikenberry (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011), 392 pp., $35 cloth, $22.95 paper.

Review by Daniel Deudney

Liberal Leviathan is a monumental work of political science that will stand for many years as a canonical statement on a topic—U.S. foreign policy and the liberal international order—that has been, and will continue to be, on the short list of the large topics of international history and politics. The book masterfully draws on history, advances international relations theory, and illuminates foreign policy choices of the past, present, and future. It also makes important contributions to the general theory of international orders (the circumstances, forces, and processes that shape their rise and fall), and of how the liberal international order differs from previous international orders and from the orders advanced by its rivals in the course of its rise. Henceforth, no serious student of American foreign policy and of international theory will be able to proceed without engaging Ikenberry’s powerful and carefully formulated arguments.

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