Has Trump broken the 'rules-based international order'?
Today on the show discussion with a renowned expert about the so-called rules based international order. It's been grabbing headlines vs. Now, how often have you heard that term, the rose by store is not perfect. We are rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order, that prevents war achieves greater prosperity for all. I have never heard. I Chinese leader commit so explicitly to rule based international order. So what do you think it actually means now for many politicians and journalists the world in which we leave the institutions of governance, the rules norms, all that, that's largely inspired by the kind of allegedly but nine global leadership that the United States. Is exercise for decades. And yet, would you believe it? The rules based international order itself has become a popular expression, only in recent times, did effective research, such of the world's newspapers and news wise. And it shows these things that in the three decades from ninety five to twenty fifteen the expression was used on three hundred nineteen occasion. That's three hundred eight times in thirty. That's all, however, get a lot of this in the past four years since Donald Trump announces presidential campaign, the term has been used nearly six thousand times six thousand times in the past four years. And about three hundred and twenty in the previous thirties, extrordinary now to me, the logic is simple. Western journalists scholars politicians policy makers, they all too often refer to this Liberal International order rules. Based international order. Why? Because it's demise is primarily blamed on one Donald Trump from this day forward, it's going to be only America first America first. Now the conventional wisdom goes lock these ball rising tariffs weakening alliances withdrawing the US from international agreements and supping with the devil, from Kim Jong Hoon that Singapore to Ladimir Putin hill, stinky, the US president has lifted void in world leadership. This is the argument as a result, Trump has undermined Feith in the open free, international order of the post Cold War era. But Trump alone really, to blind for the unraveling of the Liberal International auto or was this rules based order. So beloved of the western elites was at bound to file will my guest today has spent a lot of time. Thinking about this issue, John Measham is no stranger to this program. He's professor of political science at the university of Chicago. He's the author most recently of the great delusion liberal, drains and international realities published by ya'll university, Chris. And he's article bound to file the and full of Liberal International order that appears in the current issue of the academic journal, International Security, John joins us today from a studio on campus. The university of Chicago. Get I John welcome to the program. Thank you, Tom. I'm glad to be here now. It seems that this rules base Liberal International order is in trouble is Trump to blind. No, I think it is the conventional wisdom among the foreign policies. Tablet meant here in the United States, and probably in Australia that Trump is responsible for wrecking the Liberal International order. And once he is disposed of in twenty twenty and we get a new president someone like Joe Biden, we'll go back to the old way of doing business in the Liberal International order will survive. I think this is a deeply flawed way of thinking about what's happening with regard to that order that order was in deep trouble before, Trump got elected, just think the Iraq war, the Afghans, STAN war, the fiasco and Libya defeat. Lasko in Syria to Gasco over Ukraine, to two thousand eight financial crisis, the euro zone crisis Brexit, just a name of few of the problems. What Trump did when he ran for president in two thousand sixteen was he pointed out all these failures. He said, the Liberal International order was bankrupt and he got away. Acted and he got elected because many voters, clearly understood that he was correct. So the argument that Trump is responsible for wrecking the Liberal International. Order is dead wrong by what distinguished Trump from a lot of the Republicans and Democrats in two thousand sixteen was he's belief that democracy was not an expo commodity, and you think about it, John thirty years ago. This she had the full of the Berlin Wall, the claps Ivy, communism and the consensus that ease ago, I roll friend Francis, Fukuyama democracy was the wife of the future, what happened. I think that would happened was that we came to find out that not everyone in the world likes democracy, you and I may think it is the best system. But the fact is that they're all sorts of other people world, especially if you go to a place like Russia today, who would prefer an alternative form of political system. And in this case, it soft the -tarian his, so if you're in the business of trying to spread democracy around the world as the United States was in its pursuit of liberal. Gemini, what you discover is an extremely difficult task and it's an especially difficult task. If you use military force to spread democracy. In other words, you try to spread democracy at the end of a sword. And this, of course, is what we tried to do in Afghanistan. And in Iraq, it was with the Bush doctrine was all about, and those ended up being close. Oh failures, you'll critics will say though. Not standing all these setbacks that isn't it inevitable that as human con progresses than the prospects for democratization, and universal peace are enhanced and that, you know it was seeing this right now. There's still talk that China will eventually become a liberal democracy in these protests in Hong Kong that we've witnessed in the past fortnight that shows that eventually, China will buck, and become more liberal, democratic signed thing for Russia. How'd you respond to that? I just don't think it's inevitable. I mean, I want to be very clear, I think democracy is the best political system, and I think it would be a good thing if every country on the planet was liberal democracy. But the idea that that is inevitable as simply wrong. The fact is that Uman beings find it very difficult to agree on questions of what is the best life? What is the best political system, and would Frank Fukuyama and others? Assumed when the Cold War came to a conclusion was that everybody in the world. Wanted to live in a state, that was a liberal democracy. And therefore, with fictive -ly had the winded our back in our endeavour to spread liberal democracy, all across the planet, but that assumption has proven to be wrong. The fact is that the spread of democracy is not inevitable. And by the way, if you go back to two thousand six fast forward to the present what you see is that the number of democracies in the world is decreasing not increase. I think the New York buys freedom house's documented that. It's come down something like ten percent in the last ten or so years. Raw joan. It has. And that is regrettable. But it just points out that this is not inevitable. And again, if you get into the business trying to sprint liberal democracy when it's not an edible. And there are viable, alternatives, you're going to run into a whole his just as a conventional wisdom's are often wrong guy back to that consensus at the end of the Cold War that democracy was the wife of the future. One orthodoxy, that's also Baynes smashed in the last that he is. John is argument that nationalism was a thing of the past on the eve of the European parliamentary elections as Jordan, Claude Juncker. He's a leading European bureaucrat. He was asked about the growing reactions about, you know, against Brussels and the AU and the rise of nationalist movements across Europe. This is from CNN in general with the with the EU elections coming up, the euro skeptical right-wing forces seemed to be very strong in many countries. How does how much does that concern? You why do you think that is what's wrong with the what's your? We'll just. And if that wasn't tone-deaf enough, he added these populous necessarily stupid necessarily his day, I love the country and they don't like the others. Join me Sharma. What do you make of comments? I think it's a remarkably foolish comment. The fact is that virtually every leader of a western democracy is a nationalist just take, Madeleine Albright, who was once secretary of state here in the United States and is viewed as a canonical liberal. She's also a nationalist at heart. She wants famously said that America is the indispensable nation. We stand taller and we see further if you think about her words, she is saying, America is the indispensable, and I underline the word nation. That's at the heart of nationalism virtually every leader, whether it's an Australian or. Japanese or German leader feels that his or her country is something very special in their deeply devoted to that country. That's what nationalism is all about. And what you had in the post Cold War, period up until very recently is a situation where liberalism and nationalism coexisted, but hardly anybody ever talked about nationalism. But once the Liberal International order began to crumble people began to talk more and more about nationalism. And they felt at a lot of those liberal policies in fringed on national policies and on nationalism and ways that they didn't like, and the end result is, you got Brexit and Britain, and you got Trump and the United States and you know what you have in places like Poland and Hungary as well. So in nineteen states clash with multilateral institutions, nationalism, always Trump's liberalism that show alone. My view is that liberalism and Nash. Nationalism can coexist. But when particular liberal policies begin to bump up against nationalism, nationalism will be liberalism, every time because we are all ultimately social animals. We are all alternately very tribal in our nation matters to us greatly. I think virtually every Australian cares greatly about Australian sovereignty just like every American cares about American sovereignty.