The International Order and Nuclear Negotiations with Iran (February 2018)
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When scholars discuss the contemporary international order, they tend to do so in abstract terms. Older forms of international order — the balance of power between great states and shifts in that balance — could be measured in concrete terms by counting men under arms, factories, artillery pieces, and so on. Today, however, the composition of the U.S.-led liberal international order is more difficult to articulate. Richard Fontaine has characterized today’s world order as a “web of norms, institutions, rules, and relationships”1 that “range from maritime rules and trade regimes to norms against forcible conquest and in support of state sovereignty” and “institutions like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, as well as a variety of key alliances and arrangements.”2 In a similar vein, Robin Niblett has defined the liberal international order in terms of principles — “open markets, democracy, and individual human rights” — undergirded by institutions such as those forged at Bretton Woods in 1944.