This chapter examines the notion of a ‘rules-based order’ in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the sources of its legitimacy and authority, and the type of leadership a distinctly ‘liberal’ order requires. It argues that a basic, liberal state-based international order was established after 1945, and that the more expansive application of liberal principles that has since been promoted by some Western states has received a very mixed reception in the region. The chapter outlines the basic structure and elements of the 1945 order and the principles inherent in liberal understandings of what that order ought to look like in the contemporary international system. It draws out some of the implications of these understandings of order for current tensions in the broader Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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