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As International Organization commemorates its seventy-fifth anniversary, the Liberal International Order (LIO) that authors in this journal have long analyzed is under challenge, perhaps as never before. The articles in this issue explore the nature of these challenges by examining how the Westphalian order and the LIO have co-constituted one another over time; how both political and economic dynamics internal to the LIO threaten its core aspects; and how external threats combine with these internal dynamics to render the LIO more fragile than ever before. This introduction begins by defining and clarifying what is “liberal,” “international,” and “orderly” about the LIO. It then discusses some central challenges to the LIO, illustrated by the contributors to this issue as well as other sources. Finally, we reflect on the analytical lessons we have learned—or should learn—as the study of the LIO, represented by scholarship in International Organization, has sometimes overlooked or marginalized dynamics that now appear central to the functioning, and dysfunction, of the order itself.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
The liberal international order is being challenged today by populism and unilateralism. Though it has been resilient in the past, the current challenges from within the order are unprecedented. Without being too pessimistic, I expect the LIO will survive but retract to its original core states in North America, Europe, and Northeast Asia, shedding some of its universal pretensions. States that remain within the liberal order, in turn, will compete with an alternative Chinese-led international hierarchy built around all or part of the current Belt and Road Initiative countries. While international institutions can facilitate cooperation, they do not bridge this emerging divide sufficiently to forestall conflict and, in any event, will not be sufficiently robust to prevent a new cold war. As part of the roundtable “International Institutions and Peaceful Change,” this brief essay sketches this argument and concludes with some possible ways of moderating future conflicts.
This article introduces, describes, and evaluates a program designed to broaden the PhD pipeline in political science to achieve greater equity and inclusion. In its fifth year, the program brings undergraduate students from two Historically Black Colleges and Universities to an R-1 political science PhD department for a seven-week summer program, in which they are paired with a faculty mentor to conduct research for, prepare, and present an original research project. Additionally, participants attend methods classes, GRE preparatory workshops, subfield presentations from graduate students and faculty in the host department, and social events. We describe key lessons drawn from our experience in piloting this program. We evaluate its success using data about the composition of the host institution’s PhD program and exit surveys conducted with all participants from 2016 to 2018.
Syndromic surveillance is a form of surveillance that generates information for public health action by collecting, analysing and interpreting routine health-related data on symptoms and clinical signs reported by patients and clinicians rather than being based on microbiologically or clinically confirmed cases. In England, a suite of national real-time syndromic surveillance systems (SSS) have been developed over the last 20 years, utilising data from a variety of health care settings (a telehealth triage system, general practice and emergency departments). The real-time systems in England have been used for early detection (e.g. seasonal influenza), for situational awareness (e.g. describing the size and demographics of the impact of a heatwave) and for reassurance of lack of impact on population health of mass gatherings (e.g. the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games).We highlight the lessons learnt from running SSS, for nearly two decades, and propose questions and issues still to be addressed. We feel that syndromic surveillance is an example of the use of ‘big data’, but contend that the focus for sustainable and useful systems should be on the added value of such systems and the importance of people working together to maximise the value for the public health of syndromic surveillance services.
The pillars of the Pax Americana are decaying. There are two critical challenges. Our interests with our closest allies have been drifting apart for decades, with increasingly serious consequences. A new populist and economic nationalist coalition has been mobilized in the United States, challenging the internationalist coalition that has prevailed at home since the second World War. These challenges are not the product of President Donald J. Trump. He is the manifestation of these challenges, not their cause. Understanding these challenges requires examining anew the role of international legitimacy and authority in world politics and recognizing that different international orders have different distributional consequences. This essay summarizes my past research on the incentives for international hierarchy, integrates the role of domestic interests into that theory, and explores the nature and role of international legitimacy in the study of world order. Part II examines the Pax Americana, and contrasts this order with those found in the Caribbean basin and Middle East. The final section outlines the changing incentives for cooperation between the United States and Europe, discusses the rise of populism in the United States, and suggests ways of addressing the current challenges to internationalism.
Drawing largely on my own career in academia, I elaborate on the need for greater gender, racial and other forms of diversity in International Relations. Although theories are thought to be “objective,” what goes into those theories and, in turn, their explanatory power is ultimately shaped by subjective, lived experiences. Different individuals with different life stories will develop different intuitions about how the world “works,” and thus will write different theories to capture those intuitions and, in turn, larger patterns of politics. I explain here how my life experience as a privileged white male has shaped the intellectual contours of my work on international hierarchy. Building from this foundation, I then explore how professional practices elevate as gatekeepers individuals with generally similar life experiences and, thus, intuitions about what constitutes “good” work in the field, which in turn reinforces those professional practices and priorities. The final section focuses on problems of eroding the disciplinary hierarchy and broadening the pipeline into the profession.
Order is a fundamental feature of world politics, but it is not a constant. It waxes and wanes with corresponding ebbs and flows, yet not in any predictable lunar cycle. Where order exists, as in the so-called developed or first world since 1945, peace and prosperity are possible. In this “Western” system, states have escaped the Hobbesian state-of-nature for an international society. Where order is absent, as in present-day Africa, war and suffering often abound. In the absence of an international civil society, as Hobbes wrote, “life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Order arises in many forms and from many sources. In Chapter 1, Charles Kupchan emphasizes the normative orientations of leading states. In Chapter 3, John Ikenberry highlights the confluence of American power and liberal ideals. I do not disagree with their perspectives or their core interpretations of modern international orders. In this chapter, however, I examine the role of authority and international hierarchy in the creation and maintenance of international order. In this focus, norms and ideals follow from and facilitate transfers of authority from subordinate to dominant states, but are not primary drivers of international order.
Status, as this volume attests, is once again on the research agenda of international relations (IR). States clearly strive for status, and its pursuit is always a source of tension and sometimes a source of conflict in their relations. As the chapters in this volume also reveal, however, there is no consensus on what status is and who has it when, why states pursue status, or when status concerns can be accommodated and when they lead to war. In fleshing out the concept and consequences of status, there is still much work to be done. The chapters in this volume shine powerful searchlights on the paths ahead, but the roads are long and lead to an as yet unseen horizon.
Although it was once neglected, the renewed focus on status is important and well justified. Emphasizing this more social form of power is an advance over past approaches that focused only on the distribution of capabilities. In this way, this volume contributes to an emerging literature on multiple forms of power in IR. Nonetheless, if status correlates with these other forms of power, especially social forms, then scholars may exaggerate estimates of its causal effects, perhaps unwittingly. In this essay, I contrast status with its closest cognate construct – authority – and caution against focusing exclusively on status as we broaden the research agenda on power. My argument is not that authority is more important than or causally prior to status. The cautionary note I offer here cuts both ways; in past work I have focused on authority without due regard to status, and may have inadvertently attributed too much causal weight to authority as a result. Rather, my point here is more modest. Although reintroducing status to the field of IR is an important step forward, research must proceed with attention to the full range of forms of social power – status and authority included.
Credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may not succeed in bringing about social change. The task may simply be too large, as humanitarian organizations with limited resources and many poor to feed can attest. Others may not share the activists’ political agenda, as is perhaps the case in many areas where the demand for ethically grown food or manufactured goods remains small. Credibility is no guarantee of success. NGOs that lack credibility with key audiences, however, are almost certain to fail in their quest to bring about social change. If their claims are not perceived as trustworthy, their statements and efforts will be disregarded. Election monitors from authoritarian countries who certify every election no matter how obviously corrupt have little sway with those who seek to promote democracy (Chapter 2, this volume). Monitors of ethical goods who are sponsored or controlled by manufacturers, such as Kaleen in the case of hand-woven rugs (see Chapter 3, this volume), have difficulty gaining support among consumers. Humanitarian organizations that are too opportunistic – or who become “moral suspects” (Chapter 6, this volume) – will lose the support and confidence of their donors and the targets whose behavior they wish to change. Credibility matters. It may not be sufficient for NGOs seeking to bring about social change, but it is necessary.
Knowing this, NGOs work hard to protect and build their reputations as trustworthy actors. Many NGOs are indeed virtuous. As organizations and individuals they are sincerely committed to their causes. Their virtue, in turn, is the rock upon which their credibility rests. But in a world in which NGOs must be mindful of their organizational interests, and in which skeptical audiences understand this fact, virtue may not be enough. NGOs promote bonds with others around common values – in essence, advertising their virtue and tapping into the desires of others to be virtuous. They adopt autonomous governance structures to minimize conflicts of interest and create a measure of organizational and, especially, fiscal transparency. These strategies were embraced by nearly all the NGOs examined in this book. They also become more professional and integrate themselves into communities of similar professional organizations – demonstrated clearly in the cases of local humanitarian NGOs in Bolivia (Chapter 5, this volume) and Islamic Relief (Chapter 6, this volume), especially once the latter’s virtue came under challenge. And when their own efforts at change are hard to observe, as with the case of Rugmark (Chapter 3, this volume), they expend costly effort in more tangible ways, such as building schools, to demonstrate their commitment to their respective causes. NGOs are not passive repositories of credibility created by exogenous circumstances but, rather, seek to shape actively how they are perceived by their audiences.