“Rules-based international order” is US foreign policy blob-speak for the US calls the tune for the rest of the world. From Scott Ritter at globalresearch.ca:
For decades, America styled itself the ‘indispensable nation’ that led the world & it’s now seeking to sustain that role by emphasizing a new Cold War-style battle against ‘authoritarianism’. But it’s a dangerous fantasy.
It seems a week cannot go by without US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bringing up the specter of the ‘rules-based international order’ as an excuse for meddling in the affairs of another state or region.
The most recent crisis revolves around allegations that China has dispatched a fleet of more than 200 ships, part of a so-called ‘maritime militia’, into waters of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines. China says that these vessels are simply fishing boats seeking shelter from a storm. The Philippines has responded by dispatching military ships and aircraft to investigate. Enter Antony Blinken, stage right:
“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC’s maritime militia amassing at Whitsun Reef,” Blinken tweeted. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order.”
Blinken’s message came a mere 18 hours after he tweeted about his meeting in Brussels with NATO.
“Our alliances were created to defend shared values,” he wrote. “Renewing our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order.”
Our rules, our order
What this actually means, of course, is that the order is rules-based so long as it is the nation called America that sets these rules and is accepted as the world’s undisputed leader.
Blinken’s fervent embrace of the ‘rules-based international order’ puts action behind the words set forth in the recently published ‘Interim National Security Strategy Guidance’, a White House document which outlines President Joe Biden’s vision “for how America will engage with the world.”
While the specific term ‘rules-based international order’ does not appear in the body of the document, the precepts it represents are spelled out in considerable detail, and conform with the five pillars of the “liberal international order” as set forth by the noted international relations scholars, Daniel Duedney and G. John Ikenberry, in their ground-breaking essay, ‘The nature and sources of liberal international order’, published by the Review of International Studies in 1999.