Kevin Rudd: In Defense of the Liberal International Order

Address at La Fundación Rafael del Pino

On February 21, 2017, ASPI President Kevin Rudd gave an address at the Fundación Rafael del Pino in Madrid, Spain. His speech focused on the lost traditions of the West and the future of the liberal international order in the face of "systemic" changes that are transforming the world.

Rudd finds the world "buffeted by the most profound changes driven by an ever-accelerating technological revolution, deep changes and challenges to our underlying economic assumptions, the fragmenting of our societies, the fracturing of our traditional politics, the balkanization of public opinion, and the erosion of long-standing values that would normally provide us with a sufficiently robust moral compass to guide us through the morass."

Rudd warned that, "unless we are also fully seized of the challenges that lie within the liberal international order, starting within our own domestic political orders, then we’re not dealing with the core challenge. Core challenges such as: do we actually believe in the idea of the West any more? And if not the West, do we believe still in the deep, inherited values of the liberal order? Do we believe they apply both at home and abroad. Do we believe in objective values of open societies, open economies, and open politics. [And] are we willing to be active citizens prepared to defend them?" (22 min., 23 sec.)