December 01, 2016

How Trump Can Save the Liberal Order

And Even Reform and Strengthen It

During the campaign, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump made it clear that he does not like the prevailing international order and rejects key components of traditional U.S. foreign policy. In contrasting his “America first” approach with status quo “globalism,” Trump implied that Americans are not the chief beneficiaries of the current world order but victims of it. Weakened by bad trade agreements, shortchanged by free-riding allies, and called to endless military interventions, the United States, in the president-elect’s view, should no longer expend blood and treasure propping up the international system.

And yet, as his team will discover upon taking office, knocking down the liberal, rules-based international order would only worsen the problems Trump has identified. If Trump seeks to enhance the security and well-being of the Americans who sent him to the White House, he will need to mend the global order rather than end it. It is thus good news that, in true “Nixon goes to China” fashion, Trump’s months spent railing against allies, trade agreements, and current rules uniquely position him to reform and strengthen the U.S.-led order, if he chooses to do so.

Read the full article at Foreign Affairs.