• Paul Tucker


January 31, 2024, Opinion: "The regimes and organizations that, in many fields, frame and enforce the terms of coordination and cooperation among states operate under the umbrella of whatever constellation of forces maintains basic order in the world. If it is a hegemony, the superpower (with its closest allies) sets those terms. If it is a balance of power among rivals, the resulting constellation of regimes will likely be thinner. The decades immediately after the end of World War II fit that story for security (most obviously in the veto powers of the UN Security Council’s permanent members), but not so well for commerce because Soviet leader Jozef Stalin walked his bloc out of the highways of the international economy. The West – initially alone, and later with East Asian friends – was left with that arena largely to itself, and so the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were constructed through our own perspectives and values. That system of institutions deepened and broadened when, after the end of the Cold War, the US became an unrivalled superpower. But policy during the latter period fell into hubris, embracing an ‘international liberalism’ that was so foreign to any kind of realist liberalism (sensitive to incentives, power, and order) that, as things turned out, it helped put our liberal world in jeopardy. A key case study for that is the WTO, launched as a universalist organisation in 1995."