The liberal world order has been on life support for a while. U.S. President Joe Biden, in his inaugural address, called democracy “fragile.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said two years ago that “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose,” while Chinese President Xi Jinping has extolled the strength of an all-powerful state and, as he put it last March, “self-confidence in our system.”
The multinational response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown that the demise of the global postwar rules-based order may not be inevitable. A month ago, no one predicted that Germany would reverse decades of military hesitancy and pour €100 billion into its defense budget, or that Switzerland would freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs, or that YouTube, World Cup soccer and global energy companies would all cut ties to Russia.
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