Varieties of Liberalism

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Varieties of Liberalism:
Liberal thinking on international relations can be dimly perceived in the various plans for peace articulated by philisophers from the sixteenth century onwards.Such thinkers rejected the idea that conflict was a natural condition for relations between states,one which could only be tamed by the careful management of power through balance of power policies and the construction of alliances against the state which threatened international order.In 1517 Erasmus first iterated a familiar liberal theme;war is unprofitable.To overcome it,the kings and princes of Europe must desire peace,and perform kind gestures in relations with fellow sovereigns in the expectation that these will be reciprocated.Other early liberal thinkers placed an emphasis upon the need for institutional structures to constrain international ‘’outlaws’’.Towards the end of the seventeenth century,William Penn advocated a ‘’Diet’’ of Europe.Indeed,there are some remarkable parallels between Penn’s ideas and the institutions of the European Union today.Penn envisaged that the number of delegates to the Parliament should be proportional to the power of the state,and that lagislation required a kind of ‘’qualified majority voting’’ or as Penn put it,the support of 75 percent of the delegates. These broad sketches of ideas from some of the progenitors of liberal thinking in international relations show how,from Penn’s plans for a ‘’Diet’’ in 1693 to the Treaty on European Union in 1992,there are common themes underlying Liberalism;in this instance,the theme is the importance of submitting the separate ‘’wills’’ of individual states to a general will agreed by states acting collectively (se efor example,Kant’s third definitive article in Box 8.2).Yet it would be wrong to suggest that the development of liberal thinking on international affairs has been linear.Indeed,it is often possible to portray current political differences in terms of contrasting liberal principles.To return to the Treaty on European Union mentioned above,the debate which raged in many European countries could be presented as one in which the liberal principle of integration was challenged by another liberal principle of the right of states to retain sovereignty over key aspects of social and economic policies. How should we understand this relationship between autonomy and integration which is embodied in Liberalism?One way might be to apply a historical approach,providing detailed accounts of the contexts with which various philisophers,politicians and international lawyers contributed to the elaboration of key liberal values and beliefs.Although the contextual approach has merit it tends to downplay the dialogue between past and present,closing off parallels between Immanuel Kant and Francis Fukuyama.An alternative method,which is favoured in this chapter,is to lay baret he variety of liberalims thematically rather than historically.To this end,the following section identifies three patterns of thought as the principal constituents of Liberalism: liberal internationalism,idealism and liberal institutionalism. Liberal internationalism: Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham were two of the leading liberal internationalist of the Enlightenment.Both were reacting to the barbarity of international relations or what Kant graphically described as ‘’the lawless state of savagery’’,at a time when domestic politics was at the cusp of a new age of rights,citizenship and constitutionalism.Their abhorrance of the lawless savagery led them individıally to elaborate plans for ‘’perpetual peace’’.Although written over two centuries ago,these manifestos contain the seeds of key liberal internationalist ideas,in particular the belief that reason could deliver freedom and justice in international relations.For Kant the imperative to achieve perpetual peace required the transformation of individual consciousness,republican constitutionalism and a federal contract...
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