The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism: From International to Global Governing Institutions

  • Antonio Franceschet


As Stanley Hoffmann has claimed, liberal internationalism appears to confront a host of political, intellectual and moral crises at exactly the time when its victory seemed at hand—the post-Cold War era.2 The aim in this chapter is to give an alternative account of the significance of such a crisis. I argue that liberal internationalism’s “failings and limitations,” to use Hoffmann’s phrase, are rooted in the inability of sovereign states and statist intergovernmental institutions to meet the growing demands for global justice. In an era of rapid globalization and change, the excessively formal and state-centric conception of world order that orients today’s international institutions is problematic. This conception of order is premised mainly on a classical Uberai internationalist understanding of justice among states; however, it is one that is unable to address effectively the demands for autonomy and rights made by individuals and groups globally. Consequently, the central goals of liberalism are unmet in today’s world order in part because of the constraints that classical liberal internationalist ideals impose on peaceful change in an era of globalization.


Global Governance World Order Sovereign State International Governance Global Justice 
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© Antonio Franceschet 2002

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  • Antonio Franceschet

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