Orders of Exclusion: The Strategic Sources of Order in International Relations

Lascurettes, Kyle Marcel, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Legro, Jeffrey, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Owen, John, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Leffler, Melvyn, Department of History, University of Virginia

What explains when and for what reasons powerful countries seek to enact major changes to international order? In moments of flux and opportunity, newly empowered states-such as the European victors of the Thirty Years' and Napoleonic Wars and the United States after 1945-have often sought radical changes in the foundational principles that constitute order in international relations. Yet similar actors facing similar moments of opportunitythe United States in the closing months of the Cold War, for instance-have chosen to forego revolutionary order reversals. What explains these discrepancies? In this dissertation, I develop and test a new theory for the origins of dominant actors' preferences for international order. Previous scholarship on international order has tended to focus on the inclusive and consensus-driven nature of orders. By contrast, I argue that the motivations for order building at important historical junctures have most often been exclusionary. Specifically, I posit that leadings states often look most to the greatest perceived threats to their future security and enduring primacy when thinking about international order. Dominant actors will thus attempt to enact foundational 'ordering principles' to adversely affect their principal threat, creating orders premised on weakening, opposing and above all excluding that threat. If valid, this argument can help account for two striking but often overlooked empirical trends in world politics. First, international orders have typically been founded not to stand for a defined cause, but instead to stand against something else. Second, orders often emerge and persist in antagonistic pairs. I assess this argument by examining cases of 'opportunity for order change' in three historical eras. Focusing first on historical Europe, I examine the order preferences of preponderant states at moments of opportunity in the 'Age of European Absolutism, iii 1600-1800,' and in the 'European Concert Era, 1800-1900.' I then examine U.S. preferences for changes to order following both World Wars (1919 and 1945) and the Cold War (1989), as well at the Soviet Union's alternative and competing conception of order after 1945, in a chapter entitled 'Order in the American Century, 1900-2000.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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