At a time when the post-war liberal world order is under severe strain and illiberal forces are on the rise across the world, the ‘World Order Research Programme’ brings together CIPS scholars from different disciplines and perspectives to analyze the current challenges and investigate opportunities for building a more democratic, just and inclusive world order. Ranging from the rise of populism and the Far Right, to economic transformations and geopolitical realignments, the Programme’s distinct, yet connected projects provide a comprehensive analysis of some of the most important issues facing Canada and the world.

The projects include:

Global Right
(Michael C. Williams, Rita Abrahamsen, Alexandra Gheciu & Srdjan Vucetic)  

The rise of radical conservative political movements is one of the most striking developments in global politics. Yet despite its potentially radical implications for international order, the Far Right’s international agenda remains under-examined. Global Right (GR) is a comprehensive research project to address the Far Right’s vision and approach to the international order and foreign policy. Connecting theoretical development with empirical enquiry, the GR has the threefold objective of providing a comprehensive intellectual and institutional analysis of the international dimensions of radical conservatism; focused analyses of some of its most important contemporary political movements; and critical examinations of their trajectories and political implications. As such, the GR contributes to generating academic knowledge about the dynamics and the future of international order, and seeks to inform policy debates and public discourse on these increasingly pressing issues in international politics.

The project “Cultural Geopolitics: Global Politics and the Challenges of the Radical Right” focuses on radical conservatism’s international, foreign policy agenda and its potential impact for world order. The project’s most recent publication is Rita Abrahamsen and Michael C Williams, “Transnational Nationalists: Building a Global Radical Right,” Political Insight, September 2023, 28-31. The project’s next knowledge dissemination event is a workshop at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House in Philadelphia on February 21-22, 2024 on the new right’s intellectual and theoretical foundations, its changing worldviews, and its current “reactionary internationalist” ambitions. For project updates, see

This project is funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSHRC).

Read more about the Global Right research project.

Populism, Inequality and the Dangers of Economic Wishful Thinking
(Jacqueline Best)

A few years after the 2008 global financial crisis hit, many commentators suggested that we had collectively dodged a bullet, avoiding another Great Depression and demonstrating the resilience of the market economy and the political effectiveness of western liberal democracies. A decade on, things don’t look as encouraging: wages have only barely begun to recover, inequality is reaching the level of the 1920s, and liberal democracy seems to be facing one of its greatest threats yet with the rise of right-wing populism around the world. What then is the relationship between these economic and political patterns today, ten years after the global financial crisis? This project begins from the premise that although there is a link—and an important one—it is not a straightforward causal connection. Instead, it is more useful to see the 2008 global financial crisis and our collective response to it as a symptom of a much older and more pervasive problem: our political leaders’ misplaced belief that they could draw a hard line and cordon off the dark and messy world of politics from the pure bright realm of economic rules and rationality, avoiding difficult political discussions about who wins and who loses from various economic policies. This project seeks to understand the source of this kind of economic wishful thinking and to trace its effects over the past few decades. With the help of a SSHRC Insight Grant, I am currently investigating the early years of neoliberal economic policy in the hands of neoconservatives in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada through archival research into efforts to put into place monetarism and supply side economics. My next step will be to examine the later spread and institutionalization of many of these same wishful economic ideas under centre-left governments in these three countries.

Watch a video about the research project.


China’s Rise and Open Markets: The Third Pillar of the Global Liberal Order
(Pascale Massot)

The Global Liberal Order has been conceptualised as constituted of three pillars: multilateral institutions, liberal values including Westphalian sovereignty, and open markets, underpinned by a US dominated power architecture. Ikenberry argues that the United States, as the “center of the liberal international order… provided public goods of security protection, market openness, and sponsorship of rules and regulations (2009, p. 82). Characterisations of the global economy as open cuts across theoretical proclivities, as liberal and realist scholars alike have characterised the global economy as open. This research project is multi-fold.

In a first instance, Julian Gruin (UAmsterdam) and I are working on a project called “Conceptualising markets”, which seeks to problematize markets further (markets, like other political economic spheres, are hierarchical (Williamson, 1983), the locus of power relations (Gilpin, 1987; Strange, 1988) and vulnerable to path dependency).

In a second instance, this project looks at China’s impact on global markets. Our analytical leverage increases when we disaggregate global markets in their various constitutive parts (different global markets are structured differently). This project evaluates these and other questions in light of the rise of China and power shifts underway in the global order.

Middle Power Liberal Internationalism in an Illiberal World
(CIPS, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs & Danish Institute of International Studies)

This research project revisits the notion of ‘middle power international liberalism’, a term predominantly used to describe the foreign policies of states like Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden. Middle power liberal internationalism can be seen both as a self-interested foreign policy strategy and as a moral commitment to a better world. On the one hand, small and middle-powers have an interest in a rule-governed world order and multilateralism, and liberal internationalism can potentially augment their power and security. On the other hand, these states are frequently defined by themselves and by others as “good international citizens”, as reflected in their long-standing support for the United Nations, human rights, peacekeeping, and foreign aid. Recognizing the limitations and criticisms of middle power liberal internationalism, this project brings together scholars from three countries traditionally seen representatives of middle power international liberalism. It asks, first, to what extent ‘middle power international liberalism’ still describes the foreign policies of Canada, Denmark and Norway? Second, what is, or should, the content and objectives of such foreign policy strategies be today? And third, what is the potential impact of such strategies and policies in the current world order. Combining theoretical investigations with close scrutiny of foreign policy practices, the project contributes both to debates about the nature of power and authority in global governance and to policy debates regarding contemporary threats to the liberal world order and responses to them.

The project is funded by a Connection Grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Read the Special Issue of International Journal  Volume 74 Issue 1 March 2019 Middle Power Liberal Internationalism in an Illiberal World

Watch the Public Roundtable ‘Making Liberal Internationalism Great Again?’:

Disorder, Disruptions, Directions: Canada in the New International Security Environment

CIPS celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a conference focused on the new international disorder and the challenges it poses for Canada. Bringing together policy makers, civil society actors and scholars from Canada and abroad, the conference considered the various threats to democracy, multilateral cooperation, and global security. It also discussed Canada’s responses to the new environment, and how Canada can strengthen its efforts to defend the values and principles of international liberalism. The conference was funded by a grant from the Department of National Defence.

Read the full conference report here (In French and English)



Rita Abrahamsen, J.F. Drolet, Alexandra Gheciu, K. Narita, Srdjan Vucetic and Michael C. Williams, (2020), ‘Confronting the International Political Sociology of the New Right’, International Political Sociology 14:1, 94-107.

Rita Abrahamsen, (2020), ‘Internationalists, Sovereigntists, Nativists: Contending Visions of World Order in Pan-Africanism’ Review of International Studies 46:1, 56-74.

Jacqueline Best, (2020), ‘We are Entering Another State of Exception – But this time it is Economic too,‘ Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.

Alexandra Gheciu, (2020), ‘Remembering France’s Glory, Securing Europe in the age of Trump,’ European Journal of International Security 5:1, 25-45.

Alexandra Gheciu, (2020) ‘Liberalism and Peaceful Change’, in the Oxford Handbook of Peaceful Change, edited by T.V. Paul et al (in press, Oxford University).

Pascale Massot, (2020), ‘Relations avec la Chine: le Monde se Transforme et le Canada doit s’adapter,’ Cahiers du CÉRIUM – Centre d’etudes et de recherches internationales/CERIUM Working Papers, Université de Montreal.

Roland Paris, (2020),’The Right to Dominate: How Old Ideas About Sovereignty Pose New Challenges for World Order,’ International Organization, 1-37.

Roland Paris, (2020), ‘Disunited Democracies Cannot Face the Challenge of China,’ Chatham House.


Rita Abrahamsen, Louise Riis Andersen and Ole Jacob Sending (eds) (2019) ‘Middle Power Liberal Internationalism in an Illiberal World’, Special Issue of International Journal 74(1)

Jacqueline Best (2019), ‘Technocratic Exceptionalism: Monetary Policy and the Fear of Democracy’, International Political Sociology, Available for preview online.

Pascale Massot (2019) ‘Global order, US–China relations, and Chinese behaviour: The ground is shifting, Canada must adjust’, International Journal. December 19.

Pascale Massot (2019) ‘Conceptualising Markets’, Centre for International Policy Studies Blog. May 11.

Pascale Massot (2019) ‘Market Power and Marketisation: Japan and China’s impact on the iron ore market, 50 years apart’, New Political Economy. DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2019.1613350

Roland Paris (2019), ‘Can Middle Powers Save the Liberal World Order?’, Chatham House, June.

Roland Paris (2019) ‘Alone in the world? Making sense of Canada’s disputes with Saudi Arabia and China,’ International Journal 74:1, 151-161.

Duncan Bell, and Srdjan Vucetic (2019) ‘Brexit, CANZUK, and the Legacy of Empire’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations.


Jacqueline Best (2018) ‘Economic Illusions and Democracy’s Crisis’, Current History, November: 291-297.

Bentley B. Allan, Srdjan Vucetic and Ted Hopf (2018) ‘The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order: China’s Hegemonic Prospects’, International Organization 72 (4): 839-869

Jean-François Drolet & Michael C. Williams (2018) ‘Radical Conservatism and Global Order: International Theory and the New Right’, International Theory 10(3): 285-313


Jacqueline Best (2017) ‘Security, Economy, Population: The Political Economic Logic of Liberal Exceptionalism’ Security Dialogue 48(5): 375-92.

Jacqueline Best (2017) ‘Bring Politics Back to Monetary Policy: How Technocratic Exceptionalism Fuels Populism’, Foreign Affairs. December,

Srdjan Vucetic (2017), ‘A Nation of Feminist Arms Dealers? Canada and Military Exports’ International Journal 72(4), 503-519


Roland Paris and Taylor Owen (2015) ‘A Transforming World’, in Roland Paris and Taylor Owen, eds., The World Won’t Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink Its International Policies (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2015), pp. 3-19.

Roland Paris (2015) ‘Global Governance and Power Politics: Back to Basics’, Ethics and International Affairs 29(4): 407-418.

World Order Commentary

Nationalist Internationalists? The Strange Paradoxes of the Global Right
Rita Abrahamsen

We Need to Talk about Africa and the UN Security Council 
Rita Abrahamsen

Constructing the Liberal Enemy: The International Political Sociology of the New Right
Rita Abrahamsen, Jean-François Drolet, Alexandra Gheciu, Karin Narita, Srdjan Vucetic, and Michael C. Williams

Liberal Internationalism: Save, Ditch or Reform?
Rita Abrahamsen

Making the United Nations Fit for Purpose in an Illiberal Era
Louise Riis Andersen

Why it’s Important to Acknowledge What We Don’t Know in a Crisis
Jacqueline Best

Can the Bank of Canada come to the Rescue Again?
Jacqueline Best

How History Helps Us Uncover the Real Successes of Middle Power Internationalism
Heidi Tworek

The View from MARS: American Populism and the Liberal World Order
Jean-François Drolet and Michael C. Williams

In Defence of Liberal Internationalism?
Alexandra Gheciu

Small States vs. Middle Powers — What’s the Difference?
Njord Wegge

How the 2008 financial crisis helped fuel today’s right-wing-populism
Jacqueline Best

How the West Can Weather the Loss of US Leadership
Roland Paris

Arms Exports and Feminist Foreign Policy
Srdjan Vucetic

A New Defence Policy for a New World Disorder?
Srdjan Vucetic

Why a Small Meeting of Far-Right Delegates in Europe Shouldn’t Go Unnoticed
Srdjan Vucetic