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IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« on: June 18, 2018, 10:37:36 PM »
by Kori Schake
The New York Times International Edition
18 Jun 2018


The planet is a safer place because of the U.S.-led liberal order. President Trump wants to destroy it.


Decades from now, we may look back at the first weeks of June 2018 as a turning point in world history: the end of the liberal order.

At a summit in Canada, the president of the United States rejected associating the country with “the rules-based international order” that America had built after World War II, and threatened the country’s closest allies with a trade war. He insulted the Canadian prime minister, and then, just a few days later, lavished praise on Kim Jong-un, the world’s most repressive dictator. Without consulting America’s allies in the region, he even reiterated his desire to withdraw American troops from South Korea.

Such reckless disregard for the security concerns of America’s allies, hostility to mutually beneficial trade and willful isolation of the United States is unprecedented. Yet this is the foreign policy of the Trump administration. Quite explicitly, the leader of the free world wants to destroy the alliances, trading relationships and international institutions that have characterized the American-led order for 70 years.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 10:38:54 PM »
The administration’s alternative vision for the international order is a bare-knuckled assertion of unilateral power that some call America First; more colorfully, a White House official characterized it to The Atlantic as the “We’re America, Bitch” doctrine. This aggressive disregard for the interests of like-minded countries, indifference to democracy and human rights and cultivation of dictators is the new world Mr. Trump is creating. He and his closest advisers would pull down the liberal order, with America at its helm, that remains the best guarantor of world peace humanity has ever known. We are entering a new, terrifying era.

According to the president, the liberal world order is a con job — he insists America is paying too much and being swindled by its friends. He wants the United States to pull back from its alliances and let its partners fend for themselves, and devote its money to its domestic needs.

Those criticisms resonate in a time when Americans are fearful of how the world is changing, and when the country’s leaders have done a poor job of explaining those changes and easing their impact on workers and their families.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2018, 10:39:48 PM »
Widening disparity of outcomes and fewer avenues of opportunity call the fundamental fairness of the current system into question. Terrible, costly mistakes like the Iraq war and the 2008 financial crisis destroyed the credibility of experts who are culpable for the failures but insulated from the consequences. And America’s allies celebrate the generosity of their social welfare systems and disparage ours, while spending less than America does to defend their countries.

These are all fair points, and they help explain the rise of Mr. Trump and the declining appreciation for a liberal order. But none of these things invalidates the importance of sustaining a system in which America benefits more than other geometries of order will permit.

Let’s review what, exactly, that order is. Beginning in the wreckage of World War II, America established a set of global norms that solidified its position atop a rules-based international system. These included promoting democracy, making enduring commitments to countries that share its values, protecting allies, advancing free trade and building institutions and patterns of behavior that legitimize American power by giving less powerful countries a say.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 10:40:52 PM »
That last point is critical, and it is the genius of the system. America benefits from supporting others. The American security umbrella enables friendly governments to attract investment and grow peacefully. It encourages cooperation. The system allows America and other countries to share the costs of preserving common defense and the free movement of goods and people (although sometimes others put in less than Americans would like).

The world has never seen anything like this — a superpower constraining itself to such a degree — or the peace and stability it brings. America doesn’t always get it right; often it’s clumsy, fails to live up to its ideology, and breaks its own rules.

But the results speak for themselves. It has been over 70 years since the last great-power conflict. Democracies fight lots of wars, but they do not fight other democracies. The wars they fight are about enlarging the perimeter of security and prosperity, expanding and consolidating the liberal order.

The global economy has grown about sevenfold since 1960, adjusted for inflation. Free people and free markets have produced most of the strongest and most prosperous states in the international order, and those states have linked themselves through alliances, institutions and trade regimes that are mutually beneficial.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 10:42:15 PM »
Contrary to the president’s core complaint, the American-led order isn’t that expensive, especially as compared with the alternatives. About 40 percent of America’s gross domestic product was allocated to the military during World War II. It now stands at less than 4 percent — not an unreasonable price for a tried-and-true insurance policy.

The president and his fellow critics argue that if America does less, others will do more — that its largess facilitates free riders. That hasn’t proved true with its closest friends: Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the United States has reduced its military forces in Europe by about 85 percent. But Europeans have even more significantly cut their defense spending, and become more tentative about the use of military force. Far from emboldening allies, the American drawdown has made them less likely to act.

And if others do more, they may not be the right others, and what they do may not serve America’s interests. Russia has been doing more in Europe since the United States drew down, and more in Syria as a result of America’s doing so little.

China is doing more in the South and East China Seas, and its activities will greatly complicate American military operations in defense of allies, in preserving the free flow of commerce and even in protecting its own territory.

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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 10:44:32 PM »
The Islamic State in part grew out of the United States doing too little to consolidate the gains of the surge in Iraq and caring too little about the Syrian government’s depredations against its people. None of these are outcomes that advance American interests.

Now imagine the longer term. China is already demonstrating that not only will it not play by the rules of the American-led order, but it also intends to write and enforce new rules. Absent American opposition, it will continue to force smaller, weaker states in East Asia into submission and expand its control over sea traffic. It will use technology to monitor, restrain and penalize critics worldwide. A Chinese-led world order would be one of privileges rather than rights, power rather than law, tribute rather than alliance.

That’s a very costly peace — if it even succeeds at sustaining peace. More likely, if the United States does not sustain the order, a rising power will eventually force it to defend its interests or succumb. That is what happened in every power transition except the one between Britain and the United States — an exception born of their democratic similarities, and one unlikely to be repeated with the United States and China.

Mr. Trump’s attack on the liberal world order is not just about the price America pays for it. He seems bent on destroying the friendships and respect that bind America and its allies. If he succeeds, America will be seen as — and may even become — no different from Russia and China, and countries will have no reason to assist America’s efforts rather than theirs.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 10:46:08 PM »
America has been dominant for so long that it takes for granted outcomes that support its policies and interests, and undervalues the systemic advantages of institutions and norms. Yet Mr. Trump may end up proving an illiberal preserver of the liberal international order. By calling into question so many fundamental elements of the system that the United States built in the devastated aftermath of World War II, he is forcing Americans to imagine a world in which the United States does not tend the garden of international order, as George Shultz describes foreign policy.

Americans want an international order that makes them safe and prosperous. And no doubt this fall, when Mr. Trump gets his military parade in Washington, we will hear no end of boasts about American power. And during the midterm elections, we will hear all sorts of talk about how the president has made America great again.

But those boasts will ring hollow if, at the same time, America lets go of the world order that is its greatest achievement. Tending the garden that the hard men who fought World War II labored to create is a much less expensive undertaking than allowing it to fall into disrepair and having to recreate it.

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Re: IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 10:48:41 PM »
DfP3pIwV4AA-68O - IS IT THE END OF AMERICA'S WORLD ORDER? - World Daily News


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