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 initial projects include:

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?’

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.

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.

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

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


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

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

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

Liberal Internationalism: Save, Ditch or Reform?
Rita Abrahamsen

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

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