Is the Liberal International Order Dead? Global Value Chains and the CPTPP

Dr. Hiroki Takeuchi, Director of the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia, wrote about how in John Ikenberry’s Liberal Leviathan, published in 2011 in the wake of the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq War, the idea that there would be a breakdown of the liberal international order seemed far-fetched, especially since the United States had the most to gain as its leader. However, since the election of President Donald Trump, the breakdown has become a much more likely scenario. Now on top of the Trump administration’s America First policies, the coronavirus outbreak is bringing more damage to the global economy than did either the 2008 global financial crisis or the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The upheaval from the virus makes the world less open, empowers nationalism and xenophobia, and further threatens the liberal international order. Will the pandemic be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back? The global value chains (GVCs), which locate different stages of production in different parts of the world, have ceased to function because of closed borders amid the pandemic. After the virus is controlled, the global economy will have to start over and reinvest in building GVCs. Read more here, in the paper prepared for “Japan’s Leadership in the Liberal International Order”.