Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The Russian War Against Ukraine and Its Implications for the Future of Liberal Interventionism

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Abstract:  The Russian war against Ukraine has already had crucial implications for the future of liberal interventionism. Drawing on current debates in IR about the transformation of the global world order, the article outlines how processes of global reordering affect (liberal) interventionism at different scales. The article argues that what has become known as the liberal international order is in retreat, at the expense of liberal peace-oriented international interventions. At the same time, current geopolitical realignments appear to be dividing the world into new spheres of influence, pitting democracies against autocracies at the global level and within regional conflicts. However, when it comes to security interventions and peacekeeping, the emerging realities on the ground, where a growing number of actors with different agendas interact, are more complex than simplistic world-order narratives suggest. Using the cases of international peacekeeping and security assistance as examples, the article shows that in some current international intervention sites, the emerging “multi-order world” is characterised by complicated constellations of parallel external assistance offers and rapid shifts in allegiances that do not necessarily follow clear divisions between “authoritarian” and “liberal” forms of assistance. The article therefore does not confirm expectations of the emergence of a “new Cold War” and a new round of ideological competition between international systems.

Keywords:  liberal international order; liberal peacebuilding; multi-order world; peacekeeping; security force assistance; Russia; security sector reform; Ukraine; United Nations; war



© Anna Geis, Ursula Schröder. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.