The League of Nations has long been uncritically characterised as a ‘liberal internationalist’ institution. This chapter argues that a more rigorous reassessment of the nature of internationalism and liberalism is needed in order to properly evaluate the nature of the League’s works in Asia and the Pacific. First, it suggests that the notion of internationalism, based on national sovereign units, does not apply beyond Euro-America in the age of empires. Rather, this chapter introduces the concepts of inter-imperialism and inter-colonialism as significant layers of the League’s internationalism and argues that this conceptualisation allows us to acknowledge and examine the complex interactions among experts across imperial polities in the region, whom the League mobilised for its projects for shaping the norms of global governance. Second, it reassesses the nature of the League’s liberalism in Asia and the Pacific and beyond. Focusing on the League’s ‘humanitarian’ works in the region, it suggests these works manifested the problematics inherent in ‘imperial metropolitan liberalism’. Finally, it examines the nature of the League’s liberalism globally, revealing its problematic view of the relationship between public opinion and experts, and suggests that this issue continues to linger in ‘liberal’ international institutions in the 2020s.
|Title of host publication
|East Asians in the League of Nations: Actors, Empires and Regions in Ealy Global Politics
|Christopher R. Hughes, Hatsue Shinohara
|Place of Publication
|Springer Nature Singapore Pte. Ltd.
|Published - 2023