This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's argument that much, though not all, distributive conflict over multilateral institutions takes place in a low-dimensional ideological space. Even if distributive conflict over institutions is not always about ideology, the geopolitical implications often are. The point of this book is not just to argue that ideological contestation matters but also to offer measures, a modeling framework, and empirical illustrations. The theoretical framework helps in better understanding how institutional commitments hang together and may unravel together as challenges to the liberal institutional order mount. If multilateralism is distinct because it advances general principles, then one must understand challenges to the multilateral order in terms of domestic and international challenges to those principles. The chapter then presents a brief illustration of the World Trade Organization.
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