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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers three key new liberal texts in order to untangle some of the key propositions of new liberalism. These are Andrew Moravcsik's Taking Preferences Seriously (1997), Anne-Marie Slaughter's A New World Order (2004), and the recent Princeton Project's Forging a World of Liberty under Law (Ikenberry and Slaughter 2006). The first text represents new liberalism's methodological blueprint; it is a persuasive, widely read, and considered piece of theorizing that seeks to position new liberalism alongside the great ‘isms’ of international relations theory. The second text seeks to describe a world already transformed by the norms and institutions produced by liberal law and politics. This represents a move from the sometimes dry theorizing of Moravcsik to a more popular normativism. The third text marks the first explicit effort to present new liberal theory as government policy. Forging a World of Liberty self-consciously mimics the style and intentions of the George W. Bush administration's two National Security Strategies (e.g., White House 2006). This prospectus for US foreign policy combines the feel-good normativity of new world order with a hard-headed pragmatism about violence and war; it as an approximation of what new liberal foreign relations might look like.

Keywords: liberal theory, Taking Preferences Seriously, Andrew Moravcsik, Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order, international relations theory, U.S. foreign policy, normativity

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