Structural Liberalism

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Structural Liberalism[1] is a theory of international relations that stands in explicit contradiction to Structural Realism.

One of Structural Liberalism's main claims is that the liberal international order which consists of the 'western' great powers (or former great powers) of US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan is distinct from a mere balancing coalition as described by Structural Realism. This theory claims that the subordination of Germany and Japan, and the shared and open economic system as well as shared civic institutions (imposed by force during the reconstruction of Germany and Japan) are unique features of this order and serve to bind this order together beyond simple great power balancing against Russia or China.

As is characteristic of many "regime promoted theories", Structural Liberalism contains claims of the form, "The liberal international order will fail if we do not believe in this theory".

Statement of the claim The Theory of Structural Liberalism adequately describes the 'The liberal international order'.
Level of certainty Lacking rigor and falsifiable claims.
Nature Theoretical Model, Morally prescriptive ideology
Counterclaim Structural Realism
Dependent on

Many political dynamics.

Dependency of


  1. Deudney, Daniel (April, 1999) The nature and sources of liberal international order. Review of International Studies. Accessed on January 18, 2022.