Net Assessment: Can Conservatism Save the Liberal Order? And What Are We Conserving?

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What is the best way to preserve the liberal international order (such as it is) going forward? Some counsel conservatism. Jennifer Lind and William Wohlforth argue that “the United States and its partners should consolidate the gains the order has reaped,” back away from democracy promotion, and resist the urge to add new members to existing alliances, especially those countries that bring more liabilities than capabilities. Are they right? Must the United States practice more discernment (Bryan’s word) or restraint (Chris’s), or does the order still depend upon American military primacy? Would it collapse or atrophy if the United States were less likely to employ force in the service of certain desirable, but non-essential, ends? Or would democracy and human rights flourish if promoted chiefly by the power of America’s example, and carried forward by non-governmental organizations, as opposed to entities of the U.S. government? Also, Chris remembers Rep. Walter Jones, Melanie praises California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and, in a first, Germany earns both a grievance and (minor) attaboy in the same show.