The Perils of Liberal Multilateralism

Robert G. Kaufman

in In Defense of the Bush Doctrine

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780813124346
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813134987 | DOI:
The Perils of Liberal Multilateralism

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Multilateral liberalists are another group critical of President Bush's foreign policy. They contend that liberal democratic institutions play a primary role in mitigating rivalry and fostering legitimacy, and that the unilateral use of force abroad, even for humanitarian concerns, must be kept to a minimum. Like realists, multilateral liberalists differ in their views on a number of issues but, unlike realists, they tend to overestimate the influence of soft power, the effectiveness of international institutions and the likelihood of stable, liberal democracies generating a consensus on the need to undertake strong, effective action against major threats. While the US should never ignore the views of other nations, alliances, and international organizations such as the UN and NATO, it is not in the country's interest to make unanimity among them a categorical imperative in its decision to use force and in crafting foreign policy.

Keywords: multilateral liberalism; international legitimacy; liberal democratic institutions; collective security systems; human rights; UN; NATO; coalitions of the willing

Chapter.  9208 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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