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A Liberal World Order in CrisisChoosing between Imposition and Restraint$
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Georg Sorensen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450228

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450228.001.0001

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A Different Security Dilemma

A Different Security Dilemma

Liberals Facing Weak and Failed States

(p.88) Chapter 4 A Different Security Dilemma
A Liberal World Order in Crisis

Georg Sørensen

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the difficulties faced by liberal states in responding appropriately to the challenges of weak and failed states and suggests that such difficulties are connected to the tension between the notions of Liberalism of Restraint and Liberalism of Imposition. It first considers liberal states' emphasis on the principle of Restraint within the context of decolonization and explains why this emphasis held no solution to the problem of weak and failed states. It then explores how the policy of Imposition has been much strengthened since the Cold War in that humanitarian and/or security concerns may lead to intervention, including intervention by force, in weak states. It also discusses the empowerment that sovereignty provides to the elites controlling weak states and concludes with an assessment of the liberal dilemma: neither Restraint nor Imposition is effective in addressing the severe problems in weak states.

Keywords:   liberal states, failed states, Liberalism of Restraint, Liberalism of Imposition, decolonization, security, intervention, weak states, sovereignty, elites

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