Future of Geopolitics

Be it resolved, the liberal international order is over…

April 28, 2017

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Since the end of World War II, global affairs have been shaped by the increasing free movement of people and goods, international rules setting, and a broad appreciation of the mutual benefits of a more interdependent world. Together these factors defined the liberal international order and sustained an era of rising global prosperity and declining international conflict. But now, for the first time in a generation, the pillars of the liberal internationalism are being shaken to their core by the reassertion of national borders, national interests, and nationalist politics across the globe. Can liberal internationalism survive these challenges and remain the defining rules-based system of the future? Or, are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the liberal international order?

To engage with the geopolitical issue of our time, the Spring 2017 Munk Debate will move the motion: be it resolved, the liberal international order is over…

The Results

Pre-Debate

34%

Pro

66%

Con

Post-Debate

29%

Pro

71%

Con

Con wins with 5% vote gain.

The Debaters

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Pro

"No civilization, no matter how mighty it may appear to itself, is indestructible."

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson

Pro

"No civilization, no matter how mighty it may appear to itself, is indestructible."

Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. A prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics, Ferguson is a weekly columnist for Newsweek and a contributing editor for Bloomberg TV. He is the author of numerous bestsellers including The Ascent of Money.  Last year he published Civilization: The West and the Rest, also a Channel 4/PBS documentary series.

Niall Ferguson is a regular contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003 he wrote and presented a six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4. The accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was a bestseller in both Britain and the United States. The sequel, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, was published in 2004, and prompted Time magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Two years later he published The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, a television adaptationof which was screened by PBS in 2007. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the Worldfollowed in 2008 and was also a PBS series, winning the International Emmy award for Best Documentary. His film company Chimerica Media recently released its first feature-length documentary about Henry Kissinger, whose biography he is currently writing. The film won the New York Film Festival’s prize for Best Documentary.

Controversial, expansive, and eloquent, Ferguson has been called “the most talented British historian of his generation”. But the ambitious themes he explores in his work have urgent relevance to the present as well as the past: the costs and benefits of economic globalization; the interface between finance and politics; the lessons to be learned from the British experience of empire; and the strengths and limitation of American global power.

Niall Ferguson is married to the acclaimed author and feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

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Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Con

"...we do not need to invent the world anew. The international order established by the United States after World War II is in need of expansion and repair, but not reconception."

Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria

Con

...we do not need to invent the world anew. The international order established by the United States after World War II is in need of expansion and repair, but not reconception.

Fareed Zakaria has been called “the most influential foreign policy advisor of his generation” and was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy in 2010.

Zakaria is the host of CNN’s flagship international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which features interviews and panel discussions with heads of state, intellectuals and business leaders and has been broadcast to more than 300 million homes around the world. He is also a Washington Post columnist, a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a New York Times bestselling author.

Zakaria served as editor-at-large for TIME magazine from 2010 to 2014, prior to which he oversaw all of Newsweek’s foreign editions. His columns have received many awards over the years, including a National Magazine Award in 2010. His 2001 Newsweek cover story, “Why They Hate Us” remains his most well-known and lauded.

As a book author, Zakaria has received plenty of acclaim. The New York Times Book Review called his 2008 book The Post American World, which was a New York Times bestseller, “relentlessly intelligent” and The Economist called it “a powerful guide” to facing global challenges. The Future of Freedom, published in 2003, was also a New York Times bestseller and was translated into 25 languages. His most recent book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, was published in 2015 and praised by the New York Times as “an accessible, necessary defense of an idea under siege.”

Zakaria was born in India, received a bachelor of arts from Yale College and a Ph. D. from Harvard University. He has received honourary degrees from numerous universities, including Johns Hopkins, Brown, the University of Miami and Oberlin College. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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