Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Editorial | Open Access

The Crisis of Liberal Interventionism and the Return of War

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Abstract:  Liberal interventionism is in crisis, being weakened both from within and without. From Kabul to Kyiv and beyond, the contributions to our thematic issue reveal that the crisis of liberal interventionism has unraveled differently than previously understood. In countries of the Global North, it stretched out in different ways, depending on the political culture, party/coalition in power, or institutional path dependencies. In countries of the Global South, mandate-specific benchmarks in addition to the neglect of local agencies by both interveners and domestic elites, produced unintended consequences and a backlash effect. The articles in this thematic issue contribute to a better understanding of the crisis of liberal interventionism by unpacking the global fragmentation of collective security instruments, patterns and conditions of foreign policy change in liberal democracies, intervention failure in Afghanistan, alternative forms of interventionism like the one of the Wagner Group, international orientation change through the Zeitenwende, or counter-terrorism and deterrence postures. To conclude, the thematic issue critically investigates whether singing the swansong of liberal interventionism is premature.

Keywords:  Afghanistan; crisis; liberal interventionism; Ukraine; war



© Cornelia Baciu, Falk Ostermann, Wolfgang Wagner. 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.