Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order By G. John Ikenberry Princeton University Press, 392 pages, $35.00
The current state of the world, G. John Ikenberry suggests in his new book, Liberal Leviathan, is reminiscent of a business that has for years been controlled by one shareholder and now faces a crisis over ownership. Instead of continuing to be run as "a semiprivate company," this business--the international order--has "an expanding array of shareholders and new members on the board of directors."
The two United Nations officials peer intently at the Albanian woman, who shifts uncomfortably in her seat. Then come the questions. "What," asks one official, "are human rights?" The woman responds quickly: the right to work, freedom of religion, the right to be with your family. Pausing briefly, the examiner circles a number on the sheet in front of him. The questions become more specific. "Do you feel the common citizen can contribute toward the efficient working of the Kosovo police force?" The list of questions on the table helpfully instructs the examiner to look for "the candidate's knowledge regarding democratic policing."
On a quiet Sunday last March, the Bosnian town of Brcko prepared to meet its fate. Its politicians and leading citizens gathered with international diplomats to await a lawyer's word from Washington. American troops stationed in Brcko stood ready to quell any violence. And the town held its breath.