The Liberal International Disorder

Foreign policy is only one among many areas where liberal modernity displays its novel understanding of freedom as autonomous will to power. A similar voluntarism dominates everywhere from the boardroom to the bedroom. Still and all, foreign policy as practiced by the United States, especially in recent decades, nonetheless enjoys a special distinction. The chaos engendered by its voluntarist will to power is painfully obvious..

In response, two prominent scholars have recently mounted a critical analysis of America’s drive for hegemony and the relation of this effort to liberalism. I will not attempt here a comprehensive review of their recent books on the subject, which cover a lot of ground. I do, however, wish to draw attention to certain themes in their analysis, insofar as these themes disclose an important but not obvious contradiction at the core of liberalism …


Paul Grenier