Where do classical liberals stand on international relations? Does this differ from their views on domestic policy? And how does this stance vary from other liberal schools of thought? Here, author Edwin van de Haar draws on the writings of major classical liberal thinkers such as David Hume, Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek to create an insightful and comprehensive overview of the classical liberal approach to foreign affairs. He delineates how classical liberals embrace a realistic view of human nature, recognising the basic social nature of individuals, yet acknowledging their propensity to quarrel, fight and use violence - and how this has consequently become an inevitable feature of international relations. He compares and contrasts this thinking with other forms of liberal thought, such as libertarianism, social liberalism and conservatism. And he also examines the much bigger difference between classical liberalism and non-liberal thinking on international relations. He argues that classical liberalism has a distinct, timeless and universalist approach to international relations - and that the unique ideas developed by classical liberal writers can, and should, be applied to contemporary world affairs.
Dr Edwin van de Haar is an independent scholar who specialises in liberal international political theory. In his academic work he is fascinated by the different views on international relations within liberal political thought, and his aim and motivation for research and writing are to shed light on these differences and to foster an intra-liberal conversation on international affairs. Dr Van de Haar is the author of Classical Liberalism and International Relations Theory: Hume, Smith, Mises and Hayek (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Beloved Yet Unknown: The Political Philosophy of Liberalism (Aspekt, 2011, in Dutch) and Degrees of Freedom: Liberal Political Philosophy and Ideology (Routledge, 2015). He contributed to a number of edited books, among them The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith (2013), Just and Unjust Military Intervention: European Thinkers from Vitoria to Mill (2013) and The Liberal International Theory Tradition in Europe (2021). His articles on international issues and on liberal thinkers, most notably Hume, Smith, Mises, Hayek and Rand, have been widely published, including in The Review of International Studies, International Relations, International Politics, Economic Affairs and Contemporary Southeast Asia. He regularly contributes to (Dutch) public debate. Dr Van de Haar has been a visiting fellow and lecturer in political theory at John Tomasi's Political Theory Project at Brown University, a lecturer in international relations (IR) and political economy at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University, and a lecturer in international relations at the European Studies Program at Ateneo de Manila University. He received his PhD in International Political Theory from Maastricht University in 2008, and also holds masters degrees in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and in political science from Leiden University. Dr Van de Haar is a Dutch national and lives in The Hague. He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society. For more information, visit www.edwinvandehaar.com.