Roundtable 12-12 on Orders of Exclusion:  Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations74 min read

To say that debates over “international order” are at the heart of a growing number of scholarly and policy concerns is an understatement.  Indeed, at a time when the so-called “liberal international order” that was notionally established by the United States after World War Two is under duress from shifting power dynamics, domestic churn in many of the world’s leading actors, and new technologies and norms (to name just a few factors), scholars have increasingly turned their attention to understanding the causes, course, and consequences of order in world politics.[1]  Extending canonical work by the likes of Robert Gilpin and Hedley Bull, this research has fruitfully produced insights into the role of – and limits to – hard power in shaping order, the normative, ideational, and economic factors that can make orders more or less stable, and the sources of change in order.[2] Combined with historical scholarship on particular international orders,[3]  the result has been a veritable “third wave” – complementing related work in the 1970s and 1990s-early 2000s – of research on order and ordering activities in international affairs.[4]

H-Diplo | ISSF Roundtable XII-12

issforum.org

Kyle M. Lascurettes.  Orders of Exclusion:  Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2020.  ISBN:  9780190068547 (hardcover, $99.00); 9780190068554 (paperback, $31.95).

9 July 2021 | https://issforum.org/to/ir-12-12
Editor: Diane Labrosse | Commissioning Editor: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson | Production Editor: George Fujii

Contents

Introduction by Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Boston University. 2

Review by Emma Ashford, Atlantic Council 5

Review by Seva Gunitsky, University of Toronto.. 9

Review by G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University. 11

Review by Timothy Sayle, University of Toronto.. 17

Response by Kyle M. Lascurettes, Lewis & Clark College. 19

PDF Version

Introduction by Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Boston University

To say that debates over “international order” are at the heart of a growing number of scholarly and policy concerns is an understatement.  Indeed, at a time when the so-called “liberal international order” that was notionally established by the United States after World War Two is under duress from shifting power dynamics, domestic churn in many of the world’s leading actors, and new technologies and norms (to name just a few factors), scholars have increasingly turned their attention to understanding the causes, course, and consequences of order in world politics.[1]  Extending canonical work by the likes of Robert Gilpin and Hedley Bull, this research has fruitfully produced insights into the role of – and limits to – hard power in shaping order, the normative, ideational, and economic factors that can make orders more or less stable, and the sources of change in order.[2] Combined with historical scholarship on particular international orders,[3]  the result has been a veritable “third wave” – complementing related work in the 1970s and 1990s-early 2000s – of research on order and ordering activities in international affairs.[4]

Kyle Lascurettes’s Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations joins this conversation.  Lascurettes seeks “to account for where international order comes from” (7).  His argument, which is framed in contrast to prevailing scholarship on order’s origins, is laudably clear: great powers craft international orders not to render their power acceptable to others (as prominent research proposes),[5] but to exclude prospective great power threats from the heart of any system.  Meanwhile, the greater the scope of the threat – that is, the more great power threats encompass both hard power capabilities and rival ideological elements – the more great powers tend to (1) seek extensive changes to any existing order, while (2) crafting exclusionary rules to guide both membership in the order and the behavior of actors within the order tent.  Baldly stated, the more that great powers see big threats in the world, the more they promote exclusive orders that wipe away the status quo.  Keen observers will note that this process is similar to the well-known spiral model in international security, whereby the steps a state takes to create security for itself can threaten others, setting up an action-reaction cycle of arming and rivalry; so may it go with international order.[6]

The contributors to this roundtable, Emma Ashford, Seva Gunitsky, G. John Ikenberry, and Timothy Sayle, find much to praise in Lascurettes’s project, both theoretically and empirically.  Several of the reviewers highlight Lascurettes’s attempt to offer an account of the competitive pressures behind order-construction without giving in to narrow paradigmatic treatments of what, exactly, states are competing against and how order may result.  In this regard, Gunitsky compliments the book for advancing a “useful corrective to simplistic realist dismissals of order-building,” just as Ikenberry praises the exercise as providing a “more fine-grained theory about the motivations and purposes that drive powerful states to promulgate new principles of order.”  Meanwhile, Ashford extols the volume’s “paradigm-free approach to order” that enables the project to “build a much more nuanced and accurate theory of how and why order originates in the international system.”

The reviewers also single out Lascurettes’s attempt to examine international ordering attempts beyond the well-trodden episodes after 1815, 1914, and 1945, in the process expanding the universe of cases against which to test the argument (and to which other researchers may now turn).  Ashford calls this robust empirical base “perhaps the book’s biggest service” to the order conversation.  Yet, it’s not just social scientists – who are often accused of abusing history for the sake of theory – who recognize the value-added here: Sayle praises Lascurettes’s case studies as “rich, nuanced, and based on a good mix of high-quality, if older, analysis and up-to-date historical reconsiderations.” Indeed, Sayle’s review helpfully holds up Orders of Exclusion as an exemplar of the potential for interdisciplinary conversations, noting that it “offers a tremendous example of the power of certain versions of political science and history to be mutually reinforcing, especially when political science is harnessed to thorough and deeply considered historical cases.”

Of course, no work is perfect, and all the reviewers raise questions of Lascurettes’s empirical and conceptual work.  Two jump out.  First, and extensive case studies aside, the reviewers have varying issues with the empirical material used to evaluate Lascurettes’s argument.  For instance, Ashford and Sayle separately push Lascurettes on his case selection, asking whether there aren’t other ordering efforts – or failed ordering efforts – that are at odds with Lascurettes’s theory.  Gunitsky and Ikenberry, meanwhile, question the fit between Lascurettes’s claims and particular ordering moments; as Gunitsky offers, the book risks over-reaching “in sorting every moment of global change through the ‘ordering-to-exclude’ framework.”

Relatedly, several contributors challenge Lascurettes’s overarching claim that his is truly an argument that challenges the received academic wisdom.  As Ikenberry and Gunitsky especially underscore, much of Lascurettes’s argument seems not so much at odds with work by David Lake, Daniel Deudney, Evelyn Goh, and Ikenberry himself, but a complementary pathway toward order creation: where Lascurettes emphasizes exclusion, it’s reasonable that exclusionary processes also involve a large degree of binding and negotiation among members of the included group (and vice versa).[7]  Moreover, and as Ikenberry emphasizes, Lascurettes’s focus on exclusion may uncover a competitive driver behind ordering while underspecifying the content of the resulting order itself. Additional variables and/or mechanisms – such as those covered in the extant literature – may supply the rest of the answer.  Put simply, Lascurettes may overstate the scope of his argument.

Still, none of this detracts from the overall quality of Lascurettes’s work.  Ultimately, the reviewers acknowledge that Orders of Exclusion is a major contribution to the ongoing discussion surrounding the politics behind international order.  At a time when many question whether the extant order can or should endure, scholars and policymakers would do well to engage with Lascurettes’s work.

 

Participants:

Kyle M. Lascurettes is Assistant Professor of International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches courses on global order, international organization, and IR theory.  He is the author of Orders of Exclusion: Great Powers and the Strategic Sources of Foundational Rules in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies.  The author of Rising Titans, Falling Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts (Cornell University Press, 2018), his research focuses on great power politics, U.S. foreign policy, and international security.

Emma Ashford is a senior fellow in the New American Engagement Initiative at the Atlantic Council.  Her work focuses on the politics of energy, and on U.S. grand strategy.  She holds a Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Seva Gunitsky is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, and the author of Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press, 2017).

  1. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University in the Department of Politics and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.  He is also Co-Director of Princeton’s Center for International Security Studies. Ikenberry is also a Global Eminence Scholar at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. In 2018-19, Ikenberry was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University.  In 2013-2014 Ikenberry was the 72nd Eastman Visiting Professor at Balliol College, Oxford.  Ikenberry is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  His most recent book is A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order (Yale, 2020).

Timothy Andrews Sayle is Assistant Professor of History and Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto.  He is the author of Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order (Cornell University Press, 2019).  He has co-edited two volumes: with Jeffrey A. Engel, Hal Brands, and William Inboden, The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq (Cornell University Press, 2019); and with Susan Colbourn, The Nuclear North: Histories of Canada in the Atomic Age (University of British Columbia Press, 2020).

 

 

Review by Emma Ashford, Atlantic Council

The myth of the Liberal International Order has taken a lot of pummeling in the last few years.  Indeed, although U.S. foreign policy elites are often quick to praise the American-led postwar order as an inclusive global beacon of liberalism that helped to win the Cold War, recent scholarship has instead highlighted that this order was bounded geographically to Europe, cemented firmly in power politics, and often illiberal in both actions and membership.[8] In his new book, Orders of Exclusion, Kyle Lascurettes trains his fire on another part of the myth: the idea that this liberal order was benevolent and inclusive in purpose. Instead, he argues quite convincingly that it was just another case of hegemonic ordering, that it is not exceptional, and that, like most forms of order in history, it was molded by a great power whose primary focus was excluding and diminishing the power of rivals.

As Lascurettes points out in the book, scholarly focus on ‘order’ as a form of ‘great power politics’ has been greatly handicapped by the often-siloed nature of work within the classic international relations paradigms. Order, as he notes, is neither good nor bad.  It is simply “a pattern of equilibrium perpetuating behavior among the units of a system” (16) – or a set of observed rules that are widely understood and practiced in the international system.  Yet because each school views order as emanating from a different source, many studies talk past each other; liberals focus on the binding aspects of the postwar order, constructivists focus on socialization, and realists map power shifts.  Indeed, the topic has come in and out of vogue over time as it was picked up by different schools of thought.[9] In contrast, and to its great credit, Orders of Exclusion steps back from the paradigms and simply sets out to answer two big questions: where does international order come from?  And why does it take the forms it does?

Lascurettes agrees with the realists that orders are imposed, from above, and by great power states.  But the novel part of his argument concerns which rules are chosen by the hegemon.  In a nutshell, he argues that great powers shape orders in anticipation of the threats which may eventually challenge their primacy, choosing rules that undermine the expansion of certain states.  But lest this appear to be a purely realist story, it’s not. Certainly, Lascurettes notes that when great powers face a material threat, they tend to focus their rule-making on state behavior, such as banning territorial conquest. But when they face an ideological threat, he argues, great powers make deeper changes to international order, including rules which are designed to control membership and exclude alternate ideologies.  In doing so, they wield ideational constructs as a weapon, whether challenging key domestic features of the threatening state, placing blocks on international activity, or cultivating ideas designed to encourage other states to balance against the threat.

This paradigm-free approach to order allows Orders of Exclusion to build a much more nuanced and accurate theory of how and why order originates in the international system.  It allows for the inclusion of ideas without accepting the notion that socialization can overcome anarchy.  And it allows for the inclusion of power factors without arguing that domestic political factors are meaningless.  In doing so, it joins a number of works over the last few decades that attempt to transcend niche paradigm fights, relax assumptions, and blend analytic approaches, including Mark Haass’s discussion of how ideological perceptions fit into threat perceptions, Dan Nexon’s work on the importance of reformist Protestant ideals in motivating cross-national cooperation, and Stacie Goddard’s focus on the legitimation strategies of great powers.[10] In each case, the result is a more nuanced and – often – accurate story of how states interact in the real world.

The downside of this approach, however, can be – as Kenneth Waltz famously argued – that it jettisons parsimony.  For Waltz, “Explanatory power… is gained by moving away from ‘reality,’ not by staying close to it.  A full description would be of the least explanatory power; an elegant theory, of most.”[11] And at times, it seems that Lascurettes’s work strays across that line.  The theory is complicated, with a variety of moving parts: military threats, ideational threats, deep orders, shallow orders, and behavioral and membership rules.  These are tested against three or four alternative institutional theories.  When one considers that there are only around twenty potential cases of ‘order change opportunity,’ there are a lot of moving parts, making it somewhat difficult to assess the strength of the argument, even on its own merits.  Yet this is ultimately a stylistic concern.  Putting aside the lengthy theoretical justifications and paradigm wars, the author’s argument is simple and plausible.  States construct orders to exclude future threats; the more multidimensional that threat, the more comprehensive the order constructed to exclude it.

Of all the paradigms, Orders of Exclusion has the most contested relationship with realism.  Certainly, the book pulls in variables that are not present in standard structural variants of realism: ideas, domestic political divisions, even individual actors.  Lascurettes argues that “If realists want to remain relevant and indeed ‘realistic’ in their predictions and prescriptions for international relations, it is time for them to relax some of their more rigid and outdated theoretical assumptions and join the order party… much more progress needs to be made to drag realism into the 21st century.” (235).  He is most likely correct.  But one cannot help but feel that this criticism might carry more weight if he firmly planted his own work within the realist school.  Orders of Exclusion is telling a fundamentally realist story, one that is not notably out-of-step with classical realist authors like Gilpin.[12] It certainly is not out of step with modern scholars who work within the neoclassical realist paradigm.[13] Lascurettes’s book in fact tells a neoclassical realist theory of international order.

Perhaps the book’s biggest service is in expanding the study of order to a larger universe of cases.  It considers not only actual changes in the international order, but also a selection of non-cases, places where the opportunity existed but the leading states at the time elected not to pursue changes to existing order.  In both 1763 and in 1848, for example, British policymakers had the option to make substantive changes in international rules, yet elected not to do so in the absence of a clear external threat. The book also considers cases from outside the twentieth century, delving back into the Westphalian and Concert eras for insights missing from the classic postwar institutional cases.  And the cases are readable, concise, and focused, drawing out issues that have been underappreciated in prior studies.  Take, for example, the question of sequencing in the creation of post-World War Two institutions: by focusing on when policymakers started to perceive the Soviet Union as a threat, Lascurettes is able to more effectively explain why these institutions are sometimes in tension, and why some are global in ambition, while others are not.

Equally, however, one wonders if perhaps we might learn more from construing the universe of cases even more broadly; Lascurettes’s definition of ‘order change opportunities’ – either a major power war or the sudden death of a major power – misses cases where neither occurs.  In doing so, he effectively assumes two things: that order cannot be self-correcting, and that peaceful power transitions are either rare or nonexistent.[14] Yet there are undoubtedly cases of course correction by great powers, such as America’s 1970s rethink of the Bretton Woods system, and of power transition without war.[15] There are historical cases of such transitions in Europe and in Asia.  And while the book does a great job exploring the tension between Wilsonian promises of self-determination and racist colonialism in the early twentieth century, it still suffers from an all-too-common Eurocentrism.  Particularly in an era where a rising Asian state may soon challenge a U.S.-led order, it is notable that the book includes no cases from outside the European state system.[16] Also, the book offers no answer to one of the biggest contemporary questions about order.  In After Victory, G. John Ikenberry argues not only that America’s postwar alliance system was an attempt to bind other states to a set of rules, but that this set of liberal rules and institutions would be uniquely self-sustaining.[17] Lascurettes does not attempt to answer this question, correctly pointing out that motivations for order may well be different from the potential stability of that order.

Yet for all these criticisms, the book is a far more comprehensive overview of the question of order-building than is found in prior work.  Expanding the universe of cases highlights the fact that prior theory-building on this question has been badly handicapped by its paradigmatic slant, and by a focus on the big, flashy cases of the mid-twentieth century.  As one might expect, Lascurettes ultimately concludes that his own theory best explains order building, but he acknowledges that the ‘learning’ hypothesis proposed by prior work is also highly plausible.  This is an interesting nuance, as it suggests that great powers both look back at past mistakes and forward to potential future threats when they design orders.  This is a lesson for policymakers in Washington to bear in mind as they contemplate the rise of China, and in particular whether the China challenge warrants fashioning the postwar Liberal International Order into something new.[18]

Likewise, for all its historical focus, the book offers a number of important lessons for today’s policymakers. Lascurettes is clearly correct to note one big implication of his argument: by historical standards, President Donald Trump isn’t really an aberration. Trump’s disdain for traditional American-led institutions might be rhetorically unusual, but great powers have always fiddled with existing rules and institutions in ways that benefit themselves and undermine competitors.  Unfortunately, Orders of Exclusion is largely silent on the question of power transition in the absence of major power war or great power death.  Indeed, the brief final chapter on the future of order is disappointing only insofar as it barely scratches the surface of contemporary debates.  In the absence of a sudden American decline or a U.S.-China war over the next decade, should we assume that things will largely continue as before? Or should we simply assume that the same order-building logics apply as American perceptions of Chinese threat increase?

If so, the book suggests several ways that great powers can use ideational constructs to exclude their rivals: highlighting commonalities with allies, setting territorial or political tripwires against threat expansion, or using ideas to undercut threat’s resources.  Thus far, however, despite Washington’s open embrace of ‘great power competition,’ policymakers haven’t settled on any of these strategies, instead employing a mishmash of all three. The book’s logic implies that their choice will depend on the extent to which China is perceived as an ideological threat versus a military one.  Ultimately, despite its strong theoretical bent, Orders of Exclusion serves to show that questions of order and grand historical change are no mere academic debate. Lascurettes’ work is a perfect match for this unsettled moment.  His conclusions have real and increasingly salient implications for the future of order, and for how American foreign policy should be conducted in coming decades.

 

 

Review by Seva Gunitsky, University of Toronto

One way to talk about global order is to invoke the building of a lighthouse – a public good that benefits everyone involved.  It’s a nice image, invoking a vision of a communal enterprise working toward a common goal.  It is also, as Kyle Lascurettes argues, deeply wrong.

The creation of new global orders more closely resembles the construction of cages, not lighthouses.  That is the central premise of Lascurettes’s important new book, and the thread that runs through nine case studies covering four centuries of history.  The emergence of a new global order – whether in 1648 or 1945 – is often a way for powerful states to impose their preferences on others.  The winners, who get to make the rules, use them to dominate smaller allies, exclude rivals, confront enemies, and maintain their supreme position at the top as long as possible.

None of this will sound surprising to realists, whom Lascurettes correctly chides for not talking the process of order-building seriously.  Indeed, he is right that in moments of global crisis, changes in material power interact with both legitimacy and ideology in profound ways, something I have emphasized in my own work.  In that sense his book follows in the tradition of Gilpinian realism[19] (a theory I wish the book had engaged with more) while seeking to broaden the theoretical lens in a way that reflects the post-paradigmatic shift in the discipline.

The book offers a useful corrective to simplistic realist dismissals of order-building, but its best foil are liberal theories that focus on global orders as vehicles of cooperation – the pretty lighthouses.  At their worst, these arguments become thinly veiled excuses for imperialism, and Orders of Exclusion is a good reminder that domination has often been cloaked in the language of cooperation.  In case study after case study, Lascurettes shows that the primary concern for order-builders is how to keep rivals down and out, not how to bring everyone together.

The book occasionally overreaches in sorting every moment of global change through the ‘ordering-to-exclude’ framework.  Part of the difficulty is that creation of new orders is not automatic, but contingent on dominant actors perceiving a threat to their interests, and then acting upon those threats.  Thus, a change in rules of the order is seen as confirmation of the theory; a lack of change is explained by the fact that dominant actors failed to perceive a threat (for instance, in the case of Great Britain in 1763 or 1848). Given that perceptions of threat are so amorphous, some of the cases may have benefitted from a more generous accounting of other influences.

For example, Lascurettes is at pains to show that fear of Bolshevism drove President Woodrow Wilson’s plans for the post-World War I order.  This is indeed an important part of the explanation, but France and the UK were also (and probably more so) concerned with punishing Germany.  And it is impossible to write about Wilson’s attempt to build an exclusionary global order without considering how his racism shaped the denial of national sovereignty to non-Europeans.  The case fits especially poorly with the framework; after all, the end result was self-exclusion. Lascurettes explains that it represents a “least likely” case for this theory due to the “prominence and supposed power of the inclusive narratives of Wilsonian order building” (134).  But it is only a hard case if we take Wilson’s rhetoric of inclusive pluralism at face value.  In reality there was nothing especially inclusive about the process of order-building here, and the attempt to recast Wilson’s failure in terms of the theory (161-3) is ultimately unconvincing.

As a policy recommendation, Lascurettes suggests a short-term “radically accommodative” (243) strategy in dealing with China.  The clash between China and the U.S., he argues, is made inevitable by their rival visions of global order.  Yet short-term accommodation will make China less fearful of the U.S., he argues, as it begins its own process of exclusionary order-building.  Eventually, the U.S. would then switch to a more confrontational strategy in the long term.  However, there is a tension here in saying that the clash of visions is inevitable yet can be redirected with short-term unilateral accommodation.  And domestic practicalities aside, what does it mean to pursue a policy of radical accommodation with a dictatorial regime that imprisons ethnic minorities in concentration camps?  Could such accommodation not threaten the very principles of the liberal order which the policy is meant to preserve?

The book’s greatest value is in highlighting the weakness of hegemonic binding and self-restraint as drivers of global orders.  In questioning liberal explanations of order-building, the book adds to a chorus of critiques of the post-1945 order[20], but usefully places those critiques in historical context.  And for those who were already skeptical of liberal explanations, the book helpfully expands on the conceptual vocabulary of realist order-building, detailing the alchemical process through which dominance is transformed into legitimacy, or at least acquiescence.

Yet in reading the book it becomes clear that “ordering-to-exclude” was just one possible motivation – albeit an important one – in a very messy and historically contingent process, one that might have been brought out more in the case studies without threatening the valuable central argument.  Former secretary of state Dean Acheson, an architect of history’s most far-reaching attempt at order-building, wrote in his memoir: “The significance of events was shrouded in ambiguity.  We groped after interpretations of them, sometimes reversed lines of action based on earlier views, and hesitated long before grasping what now seems obvious.”[21] It is undoubtedly true that in many cases policy-makers were consciously working toward building an exclusionary order, and did so in order to address threats and lock in their advantages. But sometimes they were reacting blindly, drawing on bad historical analogies, and, quite simply, making things up as they went along.

 

 

Review by G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University

Kyle Lascurettes has written an impressive book that contributes to several ongoing debates about the logic and character of international order.  The central question he asks is: When powerful states find themselves with opportunities to shape the rules and institutions of world order, what are their goals?  This is really the ‘constitutional’ question in the study of IR.  At major moments in history, typically in the aftermath of major wars or upheavals, leading states have been able to exercise outsized power to set the terms of inter-state relations.  Great power wars are violent conflagrations that disrupt and overturn the old order.  Victorious states emerge newly powerful with both the capacities and opportunities to organize the rules of the game for years to come. At these historical turning points, what do they do?  What types of order do they seek to build?

Lascurettes argues that the key impulse is to advance rules and principles of order that serve to undercut and counter-balance rival great powers and ideologies.  In advancing this thesis, the book offers detailed historical accounts of the great postwar ordering moments – 1648, 1917, 1815, 1919, and 1945.  In each instance, Lascurettes finds the dominant state promulgating principles and institutions that are designed to weaken and exclude states that threaten its security and primacy. As Lascurettes puts it: “My core contention is that dominant actors pursue fundamental changes to order only when they perceive a major new threat on the horizon, a threat to their security or to their enduring primacy. When these actors seek to enact fundamentally new order principles, they do so for the purpose of targeting this perceived threat” (8).

Looking back over order debates of the last several decades, let me make several observations.

First, Lascurettes’s book can be seen as contributing to a third wave of work on power transitions and order building.  The first generation was launched with the groundbreaking works by Robert Gilpin and A.E.K. Organski, realist theorists making general world-historical claims about the rise and fall of hegemonic order.[22] Building on lineages of realist thought from Thucydides to E.H. Carr, these thinkers argued that international order is fundamentally shaped by the material capabilities of states – which is the ultimate source and arbiter of order.[23]  International order does not come from understanding and agreement, either tacit or expressed.  It is a property that emerges from the power relations among states.  In grand historical perspective, international order comes and goes with the rise and fall of powerful states.  A second wave, emerging in the 1990s, focused on the more specific compositional features of these great power – of hegemonic – orders. David Lake captured the focus of second wave thinking with his question: “What do hegemonic states do when they are being hegemonic?”[24] Lake’s work on hierarchy and my work on the great post-war settlements built on Gilpin’s work but looked more closely at variation across historical orders in the way institutions and authority relations were established and maintained.[25] The focus was as much on Weberian questions about how states establish authority and legitimacy of power as about its brute exercise. I argued that the rise of liberal democracies in the nineteenth and twentieth century provided opportunities for new and more complex orders to be built under the hegemonic leadership of Great Britain and the United States.

Lascurettes’s book can be seen as a third-wave study, which seeks to develop more fine-grain theory about the motivations and purposes that drive powerful states to promulgate new principles of order.  The 2019 special issue of Security Studies on “Hegemony Studies 3.0: The Dynamics of Hegemonic Orders,” which I edited with Daniel Nexon, offers a portrait of this new wave of scholarship.[26] Lascurettes returns to a more traditional realist outlook, developing arguments about how major states attempt to structure rules and institutions to counter-balance threats and blunt the revisionist ambitions of rival great powers. Lascurettes also goes beyond the well-known ordering moments – 1648, 1713, 1815, 1919, and 1945 – to look at a wider array of “order change opportunities” (page citation).  This expansion of the historical field of cases gives the book more material with which to test its theory and moves the theoretical ambitions away from simply explaining the big ‘constitutional’ moments.   Overall, the book nicely acknowledges the various ways in which it builds on and goes beyond these earlier waves of literature on international order building.

Second, the specific contribution of the book is its theoretical claim about why powerful states seek to promulgate new rules and principles of order.  The argument is that powerful states ultimately use rules and institutions to exclude rival and threatening states.  In Lascurettes’s view, order building in international relations is essentially a defensive, realist-oriented exercise in keeping the bad guys out.  The animating purpose of building order is to erect barriers against the intrusion of states that seek to establish alternative rules and principles.  Membership and the terms of membership are critical aspects of international order, and they are used and manipulated by powerful states to protect and defend their interests. The book explores this claim in historical cases that range across the modern era. The victors of the Thirty Years’ War devised rules of sovereign statehood to undercut the universalist authority of the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, while the post-Napoleonic Concert of Europe was organized to protect conservative monarchical regimes from emerging liberal and revolutionary states.  President Woodrow Wilson’s post-World War I ordering ideas were at least partly aimed at countering the revolutionary ideals of the Bolshevik Revolution, while both Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision of order and the post-1945 American-led order were defined in opposition to fascist and Communist rivals.

The book does not claim to break new ground in its interpretations of these historical cases.  Rather its contribution is in illuminating of the ways in which international rules and institutions privilege and empower some states and undercut and marginalize others.  Leave aside, for the moment, Lascurettes’s claim that this realist use of rules and institutions is the main motive that explains why powerful actors engage in order building.  I will discuss that in a moment. Regardless of how we settle that question, the book helps advance our understanding of how power-wielding states might use rules and institutions for realist-style purposes.  This is a line of argument that realist scholars such as Stephen Krasner pioneered in the 1980s, and Lascurettes updates its claims and brings it into the study of international order.[27]  Institutions are not simply or primarily tools devised for liberal purposes – i.e., agreements used to facilitate cooperation across the board – but are also used for invidious purposes to discriminate, undermine, defend, and exclude.  These realist-style purposes of rules and institutions have never been as deeply theorized in IR as their liberal-oriented cousins.  Lascurettes nicely helps push this theoretical agenda forward.

Third, Lascurettes contrasts his theory with the work of other scholars who emphasize the “consensus-oriented and universalist aspirations” (page citation) of modern order building.  In particular, the book draws attention to my work on order building after major wars – specifically the arguments in After Victory – as a foil.[28] At an abstract level, the contrast can perhaps be sustained.  He argues: “Whereas prior studies have focused on the consensus-driven origins of orders, I argue that the propelling motivation for foundational rule building at important historical junctures has most often been exclusionary, not inclusive” (8).  Lascurettes goes on to specify three alternate accounts of the sources of international order that differ from his own.  In the first, leading states seek to build order so as to increase the longevity of their own position in the global system, which Lascurettes argues entails a “binding” (page citation) strategy of order building.   A second motivation is the “exporting” (page citation) of principles to the outside world.  A third motivation is order building to prevent the reemergence of notable problems in the past, or what can be called ‘learning.’  Lascurettes reads my work as emphasizing the first of these motivations, and indeed in After Victory, I argue that this logic appears to explain patterns of hegemonic behavior at these critical junctures.

I have two initial reactions to Lascurettes’s typological efforts.  First, I like his effort to identify these alternative motivations for why leading states might seek to promulgate new rules and institutions. The book offers a useful intervention into this ongoing debate about why powerful states engage in order building.[29] I will say more about this later.  But, second, I am a bit less confident that Lascurettes can sustain some of these distinctions.   Specifically, the logic of order building that I offer in After Victory is focused on efforts by the leading state to establish its dominance within a given postwar order. The lead state is trying to turn power into purpose, to put in place rules and institutions that will last and thereby help perpetuate its leading position.  Like Lascurettes, I claim that rules and institutions are ‘sticky’ and they can be entrenched – indeed, this is what makes them attractive to powerful states.  I claim, like Lascurettes does, that the leading state would like to preserve its dominant position, and it sees an opportunity to do that after the war. A moment arises for the leading state to act because of the temporary heightened disparities in power and the breakdown of the old order.

Where Lascurettes sees a contrast in our two theories is in his distinction between inclusion and exclusion.  As he notes, I argue that a leading state wants to build order that perpetuates its position over the long-term, and so it acts to build cooperative relations with weaker and secondary states.  The leading state is powerful, so in order to attract weaker and secondary states – to get them to ‘bandwagon’ rather than ‘balance’ – requires efforts to signal that the power of the leading state will not simply be used to dominate these potentially cooperative partners.  Rules and institutions are attractive to the leading state, at least in part, because they help it signal restraint and commitment.  I argue that the ability to do this is facilitated when the states are ‘like-minded,’ and particularly when they are fellow liberal democracies. It is easier for liberal democracies to engage in security ‘co-binding.’ This part of my theory helps me explain change over the centuries in the actual ordering outcomes. The regime character of the states themselves matter in my theory. As the world system becomes more populated by liberal democracies, new forms of order become possible.  I do not see a similar argument in Lascurettes’s book that allows him to make general system-structural claims about the grand evolution of international order over the centuries. At base, it remains unclear in Lascurettes’s project why, having drawn sharp lines to exclude other great powers, the other states in the system would not balance the order-builder – which, after all, has now shown itself to be power-hungry.

But there is another problem here as well.  The two theories overlap more than Lascurettes acknowledges. My argument, as noted, is that democracies are more willing and able to engage in co-binding, and this opens the door to the building of international order that goes beyond either order based on empire or order based on the balance of power. But, contrary to Lascurettes’s depiction of the theory, to make this argument is to advance, at least implicitly, a claim about exclusion.  The logic of hegemonic order building, as I detail in my theory, is about bargains, reciprocity, restraint, commitment, and using rules and institutions to “reduce the returns to power.”[30]  It is not about a story of the blind search for consensus among states.  It is about building a hierarchical order with some core liberal features.  This inevitably involves using a mix of both inclusive and exclusive strategies of order building.  At least in the American post-1945 episode, these impulses were simply two sides of the same coin. The United States defined its order in opposition to illiberal alternatives (exclusion) while simultaneously seeking to bind together the democratic world around its own hegemonic leadership (inclusion).

Fourth, and relatedly, I think it is very hard for Lascurettes to explain the general, world-historical patterns of international order – their rise and fall, specific features, and changes over time – simply by looking at the politics of exclusionary rule-making.  It is difficult – perhaps impossible — to understand the type of order that Roosevelt and his contemporaries sought to build after the war without reference to the upheavals of the inter-war decades.  Their overwhelming goal was not to exclude the Soviets from the postwar order but to build an order that would guide against another Great Depression and collapse of the liberal democratic world.  They were engaged in ‘learning’ – learning the lessons of the 1930s but also the lessons of Wilsonian internationalism and the flawed Versailles settlement.  Likewise, the order builders at Versailles were looking back to Vienna.  Charles Webster’s masterful studies of postwar settlements, commissioned by the British Foreign Office and published in the 1930s, were explicitly focused on the search for lessons.[31]  The logic of learning is reinforced by the fact that the “moments” when order building tended to occur after major wars, and these wars tended to reoccur.  Each of the postwar moments looked eerily like the last.  They were geopolitical ‘groundhog days,’ and this made statesmen a little like Bill Murray, trying to figure out what did and did not work the last time around.  It is fair to argue that learning was not all that great or profound across order-building moments – I would not argue that it was.  But looking back and drawing lessons is part of what statesmen did.

Moreover, part of what Lascurettes picks up as realist-style exclusionary motivations, is really a more general search by states to tie their power and hegemonic leadership to ideas and principles.  In the cases of Wilson and Roosevelt, the participation of the United States in European wars was not automatic or certain.  These leaders had to mobilize and justify American involvement – and sacrifice. This inevitably led to the promulgation of lofty war aims that served to introduce new international principles into the struggle over postwar order.  Wilson did not want to bring the United States into a war to defend a corrupt old European-centered world order.  Roosevelt was similarly motivated to offer explicit statements about creating a better world on the other side of the war. His Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter can only be seen in this light.  So too, his struggles with Churchill over the fate of the British Empire and the Imperial Preference System were also driving American thinking about the rules and principles of postwar order.  I would argue that there is a general pattern operating here, a pattern as old at Pericles’s Funeral Oration and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Even powerful states – and certainly liberal democracies – need to justify and legitimate their resort to war.  This leads statesmen to make wars about more than military victory.  Principles and visions of a better world order get entangled in the war and, therefore, in the order building that follows.  Sometimes these principles may be universal, and therefore the rules and institutions that embody the principles will tilt in the direction of inclusion.  Sometimes these principles are more directly tied to specific types of states and social purposes, and therefore the rules and institutions will tend in the direction of conditionality and exclusion.

Fifth, when we look out into the world, seeking to identify the basic features of international order, two relevant observations come immediately to mind.  One is that the international order is not ‘one thing.’  Rather, it encompasses layers of rules, principles, customs, norms, institutions, and diplomatic practices.  These layers of international order have been promoted and evolved over the centuries.  States rise and fall and international orders come and go. But the old older never totally disappears. New layers are added to older crumbling layers. As I have argued elsewhere, studying international order is a bit like being an archeologist.  You need to put on your hat and gloves, get your pick and shovel, and dig down to discover and identify the various strata of old order.

The second observation is that these older strata of ancient and modern rules and institutions contain both universal-style inclusive logics and more exclusive logics.  The world system is a complex aggregation of successful and failed ordering projects.  In Europe, think of the universal projects of the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy.  Across the modern era, great waves of empire have shaped the rules and institutions of the global system.  Empires are a strange combination of universalism and particularism – the boundaries of empires are typically undefined and open to expansion, while the terms of relations within and between empires are deeply exclusionary.  The Westphalian system, which began as a European settlement of the Thirty-Years War, evolved into a near-universal system of rules, norms, and diplomatic practices. It is multilateral and not tied to a specific geographic region, so it is potentially universal.  But it also has conditional norms that shut out other types of actors.  All of this is to say that understanding the accumulated patterns of international relations that we describe as “international order” is based on layers of complex political formations that are both inclusive and exclusive.

Finally, it is worth reflecting on how Lascurettes’s theory illuminates the debate on the so-called liberal international order.  What is most striking about liberal-style international order is that it typically has both universal-inclusive and conditional-exclusive logics.  This makes sense.  Liberal principles trace to the Enlightenment and the age of democratic revolutions – and, starting with the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen — they are imbued with universalistic ideals. Ultimately, these universal principles came to be seen as best advanced and protected within a Westphalian world of nation-states.  In the nineteenth century, liberal rights and protections became tied to the building of sovereign states and national governments.  Citizens have exclusive rights and protections within their nation-states, but the wider world of nation-states interact on the basis of expansive and universal principles of mutual recognition and inter-governmental cooperation.

Twentieth century liberal internationalism built its projects on this dual political architecture.  The postwar liberal order was first conceived during World War II as an extension of the United Nations, the grouping of states, led by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, which fought the war against their fascist and imperial enemies.  The United Nations’ vision was deeply universal and multilateral.  The establishment of the United Nations put universalistic and multilateral rules and institutions of the center of postwar order.  This was a core step in building a liberal international order.  During the Cold War, the “free world” again built order around universal-style multilateral relations, but it also tied order to a more explicit grouping of liberal democracies.  The pattern in the post-1945 era replicated the more general world-historical pattern: it had deep universal, open-inclusive rules and norms, as well as conditional and particularistic rules and institutions.  In sum, liberal principles are, paradoxically, both universal and exclusive:  liberal democracies embody universal principles, and they are therefore entitled to membership in the ‘free world’ club.  Membership is potentially universal but the terms of membership are conditional.

My point is that liberal internationalists seem to want it both ways: to promote an open, universal, rules-based system, while simultaneously seeking to protect liberal democratic rights and protections within a more exclusive membership grouping.  Even individual liberal internationalists have been on both sides of the inclusive/exclusive divide.  Woodrow Wilson is a case in point.  During the first years of the Great War, he argued in favor of a postwar organization that would have open and universal membership.  This was the position he advanced in his speech before the League to Enforce the Peace in May 1916 – advocating for the first time a “universal association of the nations.”[32]  Not once during these early years did Wilson talk about an exclusive democratic association.  It was only when Wilson sought a congressional declaration of war against Germany in April 1917 did he argue that a “concert of peace” can only be built on “partnership of democratic governments.”   No “autocratic state government could be trusted to keep the faith within it,” he now maintained.[33]  After the war, however, Wilson tended to slide back to the more universal formulation.  In the first logic, international order would be open and universal, and the League of Nations would serve as a socializing mechanism to tame and pacify illiberal states into a shared liberal-style universal order.  In the second logic, international order would require a club of democracies acting to preserve the peace.

Lascurettes’s emphasis on exclusion helps revive interest in and underscore the importance of this aspect of ordering.  What makes liberal international order potentially quite exclusive is its invidious distinction between liberal and illiberal states.  This distinction is important to liberal states because the type of order they seek to build requires states to embrace liberal democracy and abide by its rules and principles.  Only in this way can these states build order that has the sorts of social purposes – for example, human rights, social democracy, private property, free speech, rule-of-law standards, embedded liberalism – that they seek to protect. As I argue in my new book, A World Safe for Democracy, it was precisely the erosion of the club of democracies – which was triggered by the post-Cold War globalization of the Western liberal order – that has brought the order into crisis.[34]

Lascurettes has written an important book that advances the scholarly debate on international order.  There is much to admire in his effort to push forward our understanding of how and why states seek to building order.  Lascurettes ends his book reflecting on the rise of China, noting that this contemporary power transition moment, like similar moments in the past, raises core questions about inclusion and exclusion of rising powers.  Other researchers trying to make sense of the rise of China and today’s struggle over international order would be well advised to draw on Lascurettess’ ideas. His theory captures a critical feature of order building that has not received sufficient attention.  Even if one does not agree with all the claims or implications that flow from the book, we can all profit from his impressive efforts.

 

 

Review by Timothy Sayle, University of Toronto

There have been a lot of surprises in 2020.  One of the most pleasant is that there would appear a fresh new book featuring the League of Augsburg and the Treaty of Utrecht (1713).  With Orders of Exclusion, Kyle Lascurettes has taken a collection of important moments from the diplomatic history of the last three hundred and fifty years, dusted them off, and offered a series of compelling cases for his new study of order-building.

Lascurettes makes what might seem, at first, a counterintuitive argument that great powers construct international order in order to exclude, rather than include, other states. Competition and conflict lie at the heart of his “ordering-to-exclude theory” (9).  Lascurettes is a realist, but a complicated realist: He argues that states matter, and powerful states matter most.  But he notes that states are interested in order as a tool, even a weapon, that they can wield against real and potential enemies.

The argument that states build order because they fear transnational ideas just as much as raw power is engaging.  Lascurettes’s willingness to give agency to individual leaders (Lord Castlereagh and President Woodrow Wilson, for instance, are crucial to understanding some of the most significant ordering moments in the book), is fascinating and, for me, raises real questions about just how contingent international orders are on individual personalities.  The comments that follow are therefore a historian’s reaction to a political scientist’s romp through diplomatic history rather than a critique of the theory itself.

A historian, or any reader, will immediately be impressed by Lascurettes’s writing.  He adopts the prose style now common in political science, in which an author tells the reader precisely what they are going to do, how, and in what order.  The result is a highly polished and lucid account that is clear and accessible, both in its discussions of theory and in its depictions of historical events.  I was particularly impressed by Lascurettes’s early use of the Treaty of Utrecht to offer a microcosm of his argument.  The historical cases that follow are rich, nuanced, and based on a good mix of high-quality, if older, analysis and up-to-date historical reconsiderations.[35] Overall, I think the book offers a tremendous example of the power of certain versions of political science and history to be mutually reinforcing, especially when political science is harnessed to thorough and deeply considered historical cases.

The nine cases are, almost entirely, well chosen.[36] But here is where the historian and the political scientist diverge slightly.  I understand that the book, while constructed in chronological order, is not a narrative; Lascurettes chose select cases to demonstrate his theory.  But what happened between 1856 and August 1914 seems extremely important.  I would very much like to know how Lascurettes’s theory would or could apply to this period.  Is this a period of a new order?  What about Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s order to exclude France (or at least to exclude a Franco-Russian relationship)?  Should we understand imperial competition in the second half of the nineteenth century as part of an order building moment?  If so, how?  And why?

The case of Bismarck caused me to wonder about other elements of Lascurettes’s theory that may require modification in light of historical experience.  One issue concerns the precipitating causes of new order creation.  In Order, Lascurettes argues that a new order can come about from exogenous shocks, especially “Major War” and “Great Power Death” (29-30).  He does point out that order can change outside of these exogenous shocks, but the cases focus quite closely on the two above-named types.  Still, one can find other drivers of order that seem to fall outside Lascurettes’s framework.  Consider, for instance, the “birth” of new great powers.  Is there value to considering shocks caused by the rise of new states – the rise of the German Empire, the rise of the United States, the rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)?

Moreover, Lascurettes seems aware of the issue.  After all, by the end of the text, the project engages in a thoughtful and provocative examination of U.S. interests, the PRC, and the prospect for a new international order: Lascurettes calls it the “brewing competition over who will shape the order of tomorrow” (228).  Combined, it thus seems to me, more attention must be given to considering order-shaping moments beyond Major War and Great Power Death.  It might just be wishful thinking on my part, but we may be entering an era where it is possible to shape a new international order without either state death or major.

Beyond the question of excluded factors and time periods, the tendency of social scientists to search for parsimony often causes the historian a modicum of discomfort.  Lascurettes’s consideration but, ultimately, discounting of ‘learning’as an explanation for state choices is one such example from Orders of Exclusion.  The U.S. National Security Council staff at the end of the Cold War wrote paper after paper offering historical examples as to what could go wrong in Europe if the United States left, and they reiterated what they believed to be the lessons of history as justification for staying put in Europe and making everyone else stay put in NATO.  Lascurettes points out that the lesson from the end of the two World Wars had been “integration of a fallen adversary, Germany” in any new order.  (225) He translates the lesson for the end of the Cold War to be integration of a fallen adversary in any new order.  But instead, the lesson policymakers took was, in fact, was integration of … Germany in any new order.  If policymakers say they learned something, but it is not the lesson one thinks they should have learned, have they really learned anything at all?

The above critiques from a historian aside, I was struck over and over by the power of Lascurettes’s ‘ordering to exclude’ theory to explain the shape of past centuries.  The value of including cases from before the American order is profoundly important for understanding U.S. choices.  It allows Lascurettes to make his extremely compelling case that “American order-building project really does not represent a significant break from the past” particularly compelling (12).  Orders of Exclusion is an important addition to the field debate on international order, but beyond that, it also offers historians a wonderful tool for thinking about the last several centuries of international relations.[37]

 

 

Response by Kyle M. Lascurettes, Lewis & Clark College

My thanks to Joshua Shifrinson for assembling a terrific roundtable, and especially to Emma Ashford, Seva Gunitsky, and Timothy Sayle for their thoughtful and nuanced engagement with my book, Orders of Exclusion.  I am particularly grateful to John Ikenberry, whose own work is often the target of the book, for so graciously and carefully engaging with its arguments. In so doing, he has perhaps struck the greatest blow to my claim that dominant actors always punch down to exclude rising challengers. In this case, I’m very fortunate that what holds true in great power politics doesn’t (always) apply in the academy.

Orders of Exclusion is premised upon answering a seemingly simple question: what motivates great powers to construct new international orders?  In seeking to explain this phenomenon, prior accounts have focused on the consensus-driven and inclusive motivations of the orderers.[38] By contrast, I argue that the predominant motive for great-power order building throughout history has been exclusionary. More specifically, hegemonic actors pursue fundamental changes to international order when they perceive a major new threat on the horizon to their security and primacy, and do so out of a desire to combat and weaken such threats rather than cooperatively engaging them.

In their thoughtful reviews, my critics have raised a host of important issues.  In this response essay, I will address four issues highlighted by multiple reviewers, which relate to historical overreach, alternative arguments, theoretical classification, and case selection. I also engage with two additional arguments raised by Ikenberry about the similarities and differences between our respective approaches to studying international order generally and the contemporary liberal order in particular.

Historical Overreach

First and most fundamentally, a number of the reviewers argue that in making the case for what I call the “excluding” motive throughout history, I sometimes—perhaps even often—overreach in the book’s empirical investigations. This is the most direct but important critique one can level at an international relations (IR) theory: that it doesn’t actually fit the history it purports to simplify and explain. Gunitsky observes that in reading the book, “it becomes clear that ‘ordering-to-exclude’ was just one possible motivation – albeit an important one – in a very messy and historically contingent process.” “I think it is very hard for Lascurettes to explain the general, world-historical patterns of international order,” Ikenberry similarly argues, “simply by looking at the politics of exclusionary rule-making.”

I agree with my critics on the general point, but believe I have written a book indicating as much: while the excluding motive performs most impressively within and across the case studies, I also indicate where it partially or fully fails to account for the actual order preferences of the relevant orderers (the 1848 case and parts of the 1919 case, for example). Gunitsky is of course correct about the messy and contingent history of order building. But his critique could apply to any general phenomena we attempt to understand in international affairs, from the origins of wars to the sources of grand strategies to the causes of revolutionary ideological waves throughout history.[39] Good social science accepts and admits to the case-specific contingencies of historical episodes while still striving to uncover more general patterns and deeper causal forces across cases. This is what I have tried to do in Orders of Exclusion.

To demonstrate the care I took in attempting to get the history right, I would also like to highlight a specific case where my critics allege historical overreach, that of Woodrow Wilson and the birth of the League of Nations after World War I. In chapter 6 of Orders of Exclusion, I argue that a surprising amount of the actual substance of the Wilsonian vision of order—captured above all in the Covenant (or charter) of the League of Nations—can be explained as a reaction to the ideological threat posed by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the radicalism it was feared to have unleashed on the world. Gunitsky, however, makes a number of observations in his critique of this argument: first, that “France and the UK were also (and probably more so) concerned with punishing Germany” than with Bolshevism and Russia; and second, that for the United States “the end result was self-exclusion” from its own order, which doesn’t have a place in my theory.

I agree with both of his empirical observations here—that other elites weren’t as preoccupied with Bolshevism as Wilson was, and that any satisfactory narrative of this case must account for America’s curious failure to join its own order in 1919—but believe that both actually enhance rather than undermine the theory and historical interpretation I present in Orders of Exclusion. On the first, I acknowledge that America’s European allies—and, even more importantly, many of Wilson’s own countrymen—were far more preoccupied with the threat of German power than they were with the potential Bolshevik menace (145-147).  But I argue that it was precisely this fundamental disagreement over the foremost dangers in the world that led to such profoundly different ordering visions between the Wilson administration, France and Britain, Wilson’s Republican counterparts in the U.S. Senate, and so on.  In fact, I posit that it was this foundational divide between the ordering visions of Wilson on the one hand and his Republican critics on the other that ultimately led to America’s “self-exclusion” from the League (160-163).  Their stark disagreements over what were and would be the foremost threats in the postwar international system—the central causal force in my theory—can thus convincingly account for America’s tragic failure to join the very order that had been envisioned by its own sitting president.

Alternative Arguments

I test the excluding motive and theory I develop in the book against three alternative motivations in the case studies, motives that I label “binding,” (49) “exporting,” (50) and “learning” (52).  Collectively, my critics are particularly interested in this last motive, the argument that great powers seek to incorporate the lessons they have learned from recent and formative events when constructing new orders. Ikenberry and Sayle suggest that I undervalue the importance of this motive, particularly in the American cases of order building. Yet as Ashford notes, the book is transparent as to where the alternative arguments—and the learning motive in particular—have explanatory power that rivals or even surpasses the logic of excluding in specific cases.

I thus agree with my critics that drawing lessons from the past has at times been an important motivation for order building, which is why it is the alternative argument out of the three I examine that performs the best in the empirical investigations.  These investigations also indicate, however, that the excluding motive surprisingly but significantly outperforms the learning one. I am not sure how I could have taken learning more seriously than by rigorously examining and testing it in each historical case study. I did so, and found it occasionally compelling but also often wanting, particularly when held up against the predictions of the excluding threats motive.

More generally, I also do not disagree with Ikenberry’s charge that visionary American presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt frequently spoke in the language of universality and inclusion, a benevolence that was often premised on learning important lessons from history. But I maintain that their rhetoric often did not match the specific order principles American elites actually sought to impose when it came time for tangible action. Yes, Wilson spoke of the League as a universal organization that would be open to everyone, but what he led the way in creating was an exclusive club that had been designed only for orderly democratic states. Roosevelt envisioned an inclusive global order centered around a United Nations and four or five great power caretakers.  Whether or not he would have remained true to this vision, his successors did not. Instead, they pivoted to enacting an exclusionary western conception of order premised above all on ostracizing Communist regimes more generally and targeting the Soviet Union in particular.

Theoretical Classification

Next, each reviewer alleges in one way or another that I am a realist wolf in non-realist sheep’s clothing.[40] In other words, without admitting my realist proclivities, I offer up what is essentially a realist theory.  On the one hand, this makes some sense. As I freely admit in the book, “my argument’s basic proposition about dominant actors’ motives is fundamentally realist at its core” (234).

On the other hand, I am also careful to draw attention to the variety of ways in which my argument diverges from realism (for example, 8-11).  For instance, Orders of Exclusion highlights an important role for ideology as a major component of threat perceptions (42-46). It alleges that great powers have cared much more about order throughout history than realists focused on similar historical periods would admit.[41] And in contrast to realists’ typical dismissal of the importance of ideational and institutional phenomena often associated with order, it posits that effectively built orders have often had tangible material effects on the kinds of outcomes that realists care about such as the distribution of global power (for instance, 39-42).  In short, my theory is both realist and non-realist. But which is more important for classifying a theory: its commonalities with a larger body of thought, or its divergences from it?

Moreover, does the fact that there is a strategic and competitive logic at the heart of my argument necessarily make even that core component “realist”?  I don’t think so. To accept my argument that there is power politics involved in order building should not automatically mean accepting everything else the realist paradigm alleges about international affairs, particularly given all of the non-realist aspects of the book’s larger framework.[42] In sum, and as Stacie Goddard and Daniel Nexon have intelligently argued, it may be time “to stop equating realpolitik with contemporary realism.”[43]

Case Selection

I am grateful that a number of reviewers compliment the breadth of the cases covered while appreciating the utility of looking back to earlier instances of order building. Like them, I believe that uncovering broader patterns of hegemonic ordering should involve looking at as many cases as possible, even if doing so occasionally draws us far afield from the most well-known eras and cases.

My reviewers nonetheless raise a number of questions about case selection. I chose the nine case studies of Orders of Exclusion by looking at the aftermath of two types of shock to the international system: major wars and great power deaths. I categorize the periods following instances of each as “order change opportunities” (27-34) because they are the historical moments when preponderant powers have the capacity and inclination to undertake significant order changes.  It was important for me to examine “opportunities” for order change rather than simply “order changes” themselves, however, so that I could include negative cases where change was possible but not chosen.  This allowed me to examine both logical sides of each theoretical coin I was testing, since the presence of X causing Y should also imply that the absence of X will result in an absence of Y. More concretely, it allowed me to show how low or declining perceptions of threat (the absence of X in my theory) led to the decisions against significant order changes (the absence of Y) in 1848, 1856, and 1989 even as the relevant powers had opportunities to pursue such changes at these moments.[44]

Still, Ashford and Sayle wonder if I have missed significant cases of order change that take place outside of these kinds of moments.  I certainly have, and so they are correct. But I admit as much in the book, noting that international orders have of course undergone changes—some no doubt significant—outside of these grand periods of hegemonic opportunity (31-32). I wholeheartedly agree with Sayle’s observation that the period between the Crimean War’s end and the Great War’s beginning seems particularly ripe for order analysis.  That said, a single book can only tackle so much, and the hypotheses that first sparked my interest in the subject were centered around hegemonic motivations.  It was therefore necessary to focus on one particular type of moment, those where hegemonic actors would be doing the ordering. My need to focus on hegemonic orders in particular also accounts for the Eurocentric nature of the cases, though I share Ashford’s enthusiasm for taking the study of order outside of the European state system in future projects.[45]

Exclusion vs. Inclusion in the Liberal International Order

John Ikenberry raises two additional critiques of my book related to how I perhaps overplay the differences between our arguments in one respect while underplaying them in another. I engage with both of these important arguments by way of conclusion.

First, Ikenberry posits that our arguments are perhaps not as mutually exclusive as I have set them up to be in Orders of Exclusion.  Indeed, I characterize a core argument across his body of work—but one that he makes especially boldly in After Victory—as the epitome of the binding motive and hypothesis that is often my main foil throughout the book: “Dominant actors will advocate order principles that will make their leadership more acceptable and legitimate to weaker actors in the system, often because it ‘binds’ the dominant actor’s coercive power in ways that make it less threatening to others” (50).

In response, Ikenberry has usefully highlighted commonalities across our arguments—including the fact that in both of our theories leading states act above all to preserve their dominant position in the system—while also suggesting that I have perhaps caricatured his theory.  As he puts it, “It is not about a story of the blind search for consensus among states.  It is about building a hierarchical order with some core liberal features.  This inevitably involves using a mix of both inclusive and exclusive strategies of order building.”

This is an insightful observation, and I agree to a point.  In reality, some elements of exclusion and inclusion will be necessary in the construction of any international order. A hegemon motivated by binding will still have to delineate and police the boundaries of the order and protect it from outsider threats. Likewise, a great power that is preoccupied with excluding threatening actors will only find success in doing so to the extent that it can convince enough other actors to join it inside its new order. In this sense, Ikenberry has usefully highlighted that the inclusion/exclusion dynamic is best represented as a continuum rather than a dichotomy. In practice, no historical instance of order building sits perfectly at either of the continuum’s distant poles, “total inclusion” at one end and “total exclusion” at the other.  Instead, all orders contain at least some exclusive and some inclusive elements, just as all hegemonic orderers have no doubt been simultaneously motivated by some inclusive and some exclusive impulses.

Having acknowledged this continuum, let me now suggest that our theories still occupy significantly different places along it.  Mine is of course closer to the “total exclusion” pole, his toward the “total inclusion” one.  But there is still a real distinction between our arguments and predictions, particularly on the question of what core impulse most motivates hegemonic orderers. Ikenberry predicts that the hegemon’s principal focus will be sorting out the governing relations within its in-group (or desired in-group) inside of the order.  My theory, by contrast, predicts a primary focus on targeting a particular out-group that will remain outside of the order. To him, the hegemon thinks most about insider relations, not outsider threats. To me, it is the opposite. And in the empirical investigations of Orders of Exclusion, I attempt to show that this out-group logic outperforms the in-group one as the paramount motive for hegemonic ordering behavior across history.

Second, Ikenberry critiques my theory’s inability “to make general system-structural claims about the grand evolution of international order over the centuries.” In so doing, he has highlighted an additional difference in our approaches, one centered around Kenneth Waltz’s famous distinction between theories explaining foreign policy decisions and those accounting for international outcomes.[46]

Ikenberry’s own work indeed contains elements of both theory types.  His argument that hegemons seek to bind their power to an order for the purpose of locking in their own dominance is a theory of foreign policy. Yet After Victory also contains at least two theories of outcomes. The first explains why hegemons prior to the postwar United States were largely unsuccessful at erecting binding orders.[47] The second, and more important for our purposes here, attempts to demonstrate how binding constitutional orders can fundamentally transform interstate relations, primarily through the ability of institutions to limit the returns to power.[48]

My argument, by contrast, traffics almost exclusively in foreign policy theorizing, centered around explaining hegemonic preferences for order with the excluding logic.  While I at times dabble in outcomes arguments,[49] the book is centered around a theory of order decision making rather than order outcomes.  It is for this reason that Orders of Exclusion primarily takes aim at Ikenberry’s theory of hegemonic motivations (i.e., the binding logic).  As Ashford notes, I pay far less attention to his theories of order outcomes and admit as much in the book (232-233).

Ikenberry ultimately uses this observation to argue that I cannot offer a systemic explanation—a theory of outcomes—for why the liberal international order (LIO) of today is so different from orders constructed in prior eras.  He is correct that I do not provide such a theory or explanation. I have declined to do so, however, in part because I question the premise itself: how do we know today’s order really is so different?  It is of course distinct in some ways, as all prior orders have been from their predecessors. What we do not yet know for certain is how different, or whether its differences make it exceptional enough to alter the fundamental dynamics of world politics.

Put another way, one needs a theory accounting for the liberal order’s transformative properties only if the liberal order in fact contains transformative properties.  My guess is that the LIO’s advocates believe those properties are already evident.  To his credit, Ikenberry’s work has highlighted the LIO’s resilience, so far, in the face of considerable structural upheaval surrounding the end of the Cold War, the collapse of bipolarity, and the geopolitical and economic transitions of the 1990s.[50] Yet in the time since first articulating the liberal order’s exceptional virtues in After Victory, even he has had to confront that order’s unanticipated troubles in more recent years, be it the hegemon’s own unilateral temptations under unipolarity (the subject of Liberal Leviathan) or the difficulties of stretching that order to assimilate non-liberal actors under its umbrella (a theme of A World Safe for Democracy, his important new book).[51]

Moreover, I submit that the ultimate test of the liberal order’s transcendence and longevity—endurance beyond America’s decline relative to a hegemonic successor—is one that the LIO has not yet faced or realized.  Perhaps the decreasing returns to power the liberal order has engendered will render this power transition more peaceful and cooperative than those of the past, and maybe America’s hegemonic successor will indeed become a responsible caretaker of the LIO’s core rules and values.  Until that transition is upon us, however, I believe it is simply too soon to say whether or not the liberal order is the decisive break from the past its advocates claim it to be, and one that necessitates a new round of system-structural theorizing to understand its transformative properties.

But I did not set out to investigate whether the liberal order is exceptional in history, or even to compare its properties to orders of the past.  Instead, my objective in writing Orders of Exclusion was more modest: to explore the origins of various orders throughout history by examining the motives of the great powers most responsible for erecting them. And what I found on this front was that the liberal order’s origins—cloaked as they were in the inclusive and aspirational rhetoric that has characterized American hegemony—were in fact rooted in the same competitive and exclusionary impulses as prior orders.  True, to say that the liberal order had unexceptional origins born from unexceptional motives does not necessarily mean it will have unexceptional results. I remain skeptical. But we shall see.

[1] Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper, An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020); Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon, Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).

[2] Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1977); for an overview of recent scholarship, see Ikenberry and Daniel H. Nexon, “Hegemony Studies 3.0: The Dynamics of Hegemonic Orders,” Security Studies 28:3 (May 2019): 395–421, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2019.1604981.

[3] See, for example,, Hal Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order, 1st ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016); Evelyn Goh, “Contesting Hegemonic Order: China in East Asia,” Security Studies 28:3 (May 27, 2019): 614–644, https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2019.1604989; Carla Norrlof, America’s Global Advantage: US Hegemony and International Cooperation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511676406.

[4] In addition to work cited above, see Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order After Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); David A Lake, Entangling Relations: American Foreign Policy in Its Century, Princeton Studies in International History and Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999).

[5] See Ikenberry’s review in this roundtable for discussion.

[6] Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30:2 (January 1978): 167–214; Charles Glaser, “Political Consequences of Military Strategy: Expanding and Refining the Spiral and Deterrence Models,” World Politics 44:4 (July 1992): 497–538.

[7] See, for example,  Lake, Entangling Relations; Lake, Hierarchy in International Relations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009); Daniel H. Deudney, “The Philadelphian System: Sovereignty, Arms Control, and Balance of Power in the American States-Union, Circa 1787–1861,” International Organization 49:2 (1995): 191–228, https://doi.org/10.1017/S002081830002837X; Goh, The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); Ikenberry, A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020).

[8] See Patrick Porter, The False Promise of Liberal Order (Cambridge: Polity, 2020); Vincent Bevins, “The ‘Liberal World Order’ Was Built With Blood,” New York Times (May 29, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/sunday/united-states-cold-war.html

[9] For example, order has been explored in distinct ways by realists (i.e., Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981 or Stephen Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999); by liberals (i.e., Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2011), or John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011); and by constructivists (i.e., Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977).

[10] Mark Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789-1989 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005); Daniel Nexon, The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe: Religious Conflict, Dynastic Empires, and International Change (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Stacie Goddard, When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018).

[11] Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 7.

[12] Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

[13] See, for example, Gideon Rose, “Review: Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy,” World Politics 51:1 (1998): 144-172; Randall Schweller, “Unanswered Threats: A Neoclassical Realist Theory of Underbalancing,” International Security, 29:2 (2004): 159-201.

[14] See for example, T.V. Paul, Deborah Welch Larson, Harold Trinkunas, Anders Wivel, and Ralf Emmers, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Peaceful Change in International Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).

[15] Kori Shake, Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2017).

[16] See David Kang and Xinru Ma, “Power Transitions: Thucydides Didn’t Live in East Asia,” The Washington Quarterly 41:1 (2018): 137-154.

[17] G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order After Major War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).

[18] For just a few of the recent works on this question, see, among many others, Matthew Kroenig and Ash Jain, Present at the Re-Creation: A Global Strategy for Revitalizing, Adapting, and Defending a Rules-Based International System (Washington, D.C.: Atlantic Council Strategy Papers, 2019), https://issuu.com/atlanticcouncil/docs/final_present_at_the_re-creation?e=23027907/73849810; Mira Rapp Hooper and Rebecca Lissner, An Open World   app-Hooper, Mira, and Rebecca Friedman Lissner, An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020); Andrew Imbrie, Power on the Precipice: The Six Choices America Faces in a Turbulent World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020).

[19] Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  1981).

[20] See, for example Stephen Wertheim, Tomorrow, The World Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2020); Patrick Porter, The False Promise of Liberal Order (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2020)

[21] Dean Acheson, 1969.  Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York: W.W. Norton 1969), 3-4.

[22] Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); A. F. K Organski, World Politics, 2d [rev.] (New York: Knopf, 1968).

[23] Edward Hallett Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939; an Introduction to the Study of International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1940).

[24] David A. Lake, “Hegemony, and the International Economy: Naked Emperor or Tattered Monarch with Potential?” International Studies Quarterly 37:4 (December 1993): 459-489.

[25] Lake, Hierarchy in International Relations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009); G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order After Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012); see also Ikenberry, ed., Power, Order, and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

[26] See Ikenberry and Daniel Nexon, “Hegemony Studies 3.0: The Dynamics of Hegemonic Orders,” Security Studies 28:3 (Spring 2019): 395-644.

[27] Stephen D. Krasner, “State Power and the Structure of International Trade,” World Politics 28:3 (1976): 317–347, https://doi.org/10.2307/2009974; Michael C. Webb and Stephen D. Krasner, “Hegemonic Stability Theory: An Empirical Assessment,” Review of International Studies 15:2 (April 1989): 183–198.

[28] Ikenberry, After Victory.

[29] See, for example, Ikenberry, Power, Order, and Change in World Politics; Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984); John J. Mearsheimer, “Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order,” International Security 43:4 (April 1, 2019): 7–50, https://doi.org/10.1162/isec_a_00342; Evelyn Goh, The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

[30] Ikenberry, After Victory, 32.

[31] Among others, see Sir Charles Kingsley Webster, Some Problems of International Organisation (University of Leeds, 1943); Webster and Sydney Herbert, The League of Nations in Theory and Practice (Houghton Mifflin, 1933).

[32] Woodrow Wilson, “Address Delivered at the First Annual Assemblage of the League to Enforce Peace: ‘American Principles,’” May 27, 1916, online via American Presidency Project, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/address-delivered-the-first-annual-assemblage-the-league-enforce-peace-american-principles.

[33] Wilson, War Messages, 65th Cong., 1st Sess. Senate Doc. No. 5, Serial No. 7264, (Washington: GPO, 1917), 3-8,  https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Wilson’s_War_Message_to_Congress.

[34]  Ikenberry, A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020).

[35] In his chapter on Westphalia, for instance, Lascurettes makes good use of academic histories over a hundred years old, like A. W. Ward, “The Peace of Utrecht and the Supplementary Pacifications,” in The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 5: The Age of Louis XIV, ed. A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, and Stanley Leathes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908) while also citing much more recent work like Daniel Nexon’s The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe: Religious Conflict, Dynastic Empires and International Change (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2009). Similarly, in his research for the case on the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, he returns to the classic study by Sir Charles Webster, The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1963 [1919] while also making use of contemporary work like that of Tim Blanning, The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions That Made Modern Europe, 1648–1815 (New York: Penguin Books, 2008).

[36] The cases include the Treaties of Westphalia after the Thirty Year’s War, the Treaties of Utrecht after the War of the Spanish Succession; the Treaty of Paris after the Seven Years’ War; the diplomatic events following the Napoleonic Wars, Europe in 1848, The Treaty of Paris after the Crimean War, the Paris Peace Conference after the First World War, the period of international institution building after the Second World War, and the end of the Cold War.  1848 is a curious inclusion.  Was there really a “formidable new threat tearing apart the continent [of Europe] in 1848?” (114).  It may have appeared dangerous to some, but the movements did largely implode and I did not see strong evidence in the book that British elites truly feared this moment.

[37] G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011); Alexander Cooley and Dan Nexon, Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).

[38] See, for example,  Kalevi J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order, 1648–1989 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Andreas Osiander, The States System of Europe,1640-1990: Peacemaking and the Conditions of International Stability (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Orders After Major Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); Ian Clark, Legitimacy in International Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

[39] On this last subject, see Gunitsky’s own excellent book Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017).

[40] I particularly appreciate Sayle’s label of “complicated realist.” I hope to include this title on future business cards.

[41] For example, compare my analysis of great power motives throughout history to John Mearsheimer’s in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001).

[42] For this reason, I believe Orders of Exclusion still takes the very concept of international order more seriously than do other recent realist treatments of the subject. I am thinking here of John J. Mearsheimer, “Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order,” International Security 43:4 (2019): 7-50; Charles L. Glaser, “A Flawed Framework: Why the Liberal International Order Concept Is Misguided,” International Security 43:4 (2019): 51-87; and Patrick Porter, The False Promise of the Liberal Order (Medford: Polity Press, 2020).  In fact, my book is probably closest not to these realists in its underlying assumptions about the nature of order and the motivations of great powers, but to the recent work of a prominent non-realist, Stacie Goddard’s When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018).

[43] Stacie E. Goddard and Daniel H. Nexon, “The Dynamics of Global Power Politics: A Framework for Analysis,” Journal of Global Security Studies 1:1 (2016): 4-18, here 5.

[44] Sayle finds curious my inclusion of 1848 as a major case study. When I embarked on this project, I would have shared his skepticism. But in choosing the book’s case studies, I worked hard to rely on deduction (using logical reasoning to determine the type of cases to look at) rather than induction (choosing cases I already knew to be important based on their historical legacies).  I thus established and justified my case selection criteria—periods following large exogenous shocks defined as major wars or great power deaths. And when I looked for the most seismic instances of those sorts of shocks, 1848 emerged as an important moment of “order change opportunity” that was necessary to examine.

[45] Two excellent recent studies that do this well are Andrew Phillips and J.C. Sharman, International Order in Diversity: War, Trade and Rule in the Indian Ocean (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); and Hendrik Spruyt, The World Imagined: Collective Beliefs and Political Order in the Sinocentric, Islamic and Southeast Asian International Societies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

[46] Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 121-123; “International Politics is Not Foreign Policy,” Security Studies 6:1 (1996): 54-57.

[47] This theory is centered around 1) the degree of the hegemon’s preponderance and 2) the internal character (democratic or not) of the states populating the system.  See After Victory, 72-79.

[48] After Victory, 29-37.

[49] For instance, my discussion of the pathways through which new orders can actually weaken threatening entities (39-42) is technically a theory of order effects.

[50] After Victory, chapter 7.

[51] See Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), and Ikenberry, A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020).