Make the Free World Free Again

It’s time for a smaller, deeper liberal order.

The gatekeepers of the liberal international order erred by allowing authoritarian states to participate as equal members after the Cold War. Whether China’s influence over the World Health Organization, Saudi Arabia on the U.N. Human Rights Council, or Russia in the former G8, authoritarian states have proven themselves untrustworthy stewards of international responsibility. Instead they have undermined international security and international standards of transparency, accountability, and of human rights. Liberal democracies should take steps to minimize their exposure to authoritarians’ influence by reforming international institutions, expelling irresponsible members or withdrawing from them. The goal should be a narrower but deeper version of liberal order: limited to liberal democratic nations but more meaningful, trustworthy, and accountable to democratic publics around the world.

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