Special Seminar about Global Order (November 27)

Date and Time: November 27 (Monday), 16:00-18:00
Venue: Large-Conference Room (3rd. Floor), Inamori Center, Kyoto University

Title: “Competing Visions of the Global Order”
Speaker: Dr. Michael Joseph Smith(University of Virginia)
Comments: Professor Hiroshi Nakanishi (Kyoto University)
moderator: Dr. Yoshihiko Nakamoto (Shizuoka University)

For as long as scholars and historians have considered the issue, the problem of how to envision, and then how best to pursue, global order has inspired lively debate and seemingly incompatible approaches. For example in the debate at Athens just before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, the representatives of Corinth, aggrieved by the actions of their erstwhile colony Corcyra, urge the Athenians to pursue a vision of order based on adherence to treaties, custom, and a principle of fairness: “The power that deals fairly with its equals finds a truer security than the one which is hurried into snatching some apparent but dangerous advantage.” In contrast, the Corcyreans urged Athens to set aside their concerns about violating a treaty and focus on their specific interests and military power. By accepting Corcyra as an ally and adding its navy, “whether you feel apprehensive [about the breach of treaty] or not, you will certainly have become stronger” and thus better equipped to fight a war the Corcyreans portrayed as inevitable.
Now, nearly thirty years since the end of the Cold War, similar debates are underway not only about the character the contemporary global order but also about what policies can best work to maintain or establish a durable world order. Has the liberal world order, widely cited by Western scholars, come to an end as a result of economic stress, the rise of neo-nationalist movements, and the emergence of a new, apparently more unilateralist, American administration? If so, what new order seems to be emerging? An author of a recent book on global order has written that “When facing the future, while liberals remain in denial, realists return to the past…The world today is a far cry from the nineteenth-century multipolar era; it is even more distant from the self-styled and limited geopolitics of the Greek city states.” ※
In this lecture, I will seek to survey and critique some of the competing ideas about the contemporary global order and suggest that the ideas of liberals and realists still deserve our attention, even if many of their prescriptions for policy seem dated. The concept of global order itself requires us to examine many of the assumptions we make about power and nation-states as well as the role of the human aspiration to create a world where human rights can eventually come to tame deadly conflict.

※ Amitav Acharya, “After Liberal Hegemony: the Advent of a Multiplex World Order,” Ethics and International Affairs Vol. 30, Number 3 (Fall 2017), 283.