Assess the impact of pluralist and liberal thinking in international relations and world politics.
I think that thinkers like Francis Fukuyama are critical in assessing the role of liberal democracy in the world politics. Essentially, I think that one has to conclude that he was right in that liberal democracy "won." The battle is pretty much over. It is difficult right now to see any sort of ideology as being politically viable as an alternate political means of existence other than liberal democracy. With the toppling of autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and international condemnation of Qaddafi in Libya, it seems evident that pluralist or liberal thought has become the dominant mode of political discourse all over the world. Armed with capitalist consumerism in the domain of globalization, technology has helped spread the ideas that seem to embrace a liberalized form of government as well as pluralist notions of social interaction. There are opponents to this, but they have become marginalized as "fringe" voices, whose presence is more of a response against liberalism as opposed to a statement that counters it. For example, while the fundamentalist point of view is something accepted by individuals, few in the cultural norm accept the belief that religious and social fundamentalism is superior to and will replace liberal democracy. When politically and economically established nations look to help developing ones, they do so with the understanding that a liberal and pluralist approach to both government and society will be advanced. Few actually convey that, "Go ahead and embrace communism." This is the reality that is present on the world stage, ensuring that the impact of liberal and pluralist thought has become not merely powerful, but "the only game in town."
This is a very important and interesting question. Pluralist thinking in international relations has positive and negative points. It is positive, because it acknowledges the fact that there are many points of view, cultures, and ways of doing things. No one country has a monopoly. This can be a great development, because when people are willing to learn from others, there is greater unity and understanding, not to mention further increases in knowledge. On a more practical level, there can be greater peace as well. In light of this, the modern developments in this area should be applauded - such as the United Nations, international conferences whether they be in finance, medicine or religion.
With all this said, all is not positive. If there is a strictly pluralistic and relativistic framework, it is possible to make all things equal, when they are not. Not all ideas, philosophies and ways of living are equally beneficial. Some are better than others. For instance, the xenophobic ideologies of the far right (I'm thinking of the shootings in Norway) are not equal to democracy.