Peter Trubowitz, Brian Burgoon
2023 |
Political Science

A large and widening gap has opened between Western democracies' international ambitions and their domestic political capacity to support them. On issues ranging from immigration and international trade to national security, new political parties on the left and the right are rejecting the core foreign policy principles that Western governments have championed for over half a century. Much of the debate over the weakening of the Western liberal order has focused on recent changes: Donald Trump's presidency, Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and the surge of nationalist sentiment in France, Germany, and other Western democracies. In Geopolitics and Democracy, Peter Trubowitz and Brian Burgoon provide a powerful new explanation for the rise of anti-globalism in the West. Combining a novel theoretical framework and empirical strategy, Trubowitz and Burgoon show that support for globalism has been receding for 30 years in Western parties and legislatures. They trace the anti-globalist backlash to foreign policy decisions that mainstream parties and party elites made after the end of the Cold War. These decisions sought to globalize markets and pool sovereignty at the supranational level while applying neoliberal reforms to social protections and guarantees at home--a combination of policies that succeeded in expanding the Western liberal order, but at the cost of mounting public discontent and political fragmentation. At a time when problems of great power rivalry, spheres of influence, and reactionary nationalism have returned, Geopolitics and Democracy reveals how domestic support for international engagement during the long East-West geopolitical contest was contingent upon social protections within Western democracies. In the absence of a renewed commitment to those social purposes, Western democracies will struggle to find a collective grand strategy that their domestic publics will support.

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Geopolitics and Democracy

The Western Liberal Order from Foundation to Fracture