Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Three Visions of International Order

July 8, 2019

Associate Professor Jeff Colgan

Jeff Colgan’s new article Three Visions of International Order was published by The Washington Quarterly, a journal hosted by George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, in their Summer 2019 edition. 

Following the political chaos of 2016 (the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and President Donald Trump’s election), three visions have about what to do with the liberal order. According to Associate Professor Jeff Colgan, “The first is to hold on, to maintain yesterday’s version. The second is to rip it down—that is the approach of the populist revolt we see in many countries, including the United States. The third is a progressive counter-revolt, led by individuals like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.” Similar visions are shaping up in London, Paris, and elsewhere around the globe. But an international order is only going to be politically sustainable if it meets three criteria: share the wealth within liberal societies, harness international cooperation, and respect national communities. Unfortunately, “Each of the three competing visions that have emerged recently fails on at least one of these criteria.” Therefore, Colgan recommends a hybrid version with different parts. 

To learn more about Colgan’s idea, click here.