Editorial 2018-2021

How illiberal is the Liberal World Order? 

The rules-based order led by America since 1945 has provided common goods,  such as the body of international law, a boost in capitalist democracies and an increase in GDP.  The problem was distribution and the income- and skills gaps.  The economic and financial crises have caused the unpopularity of austerity measures like the ones seen in EU as of 2009 and the emergence of populism.

According to Ikenberry,  the world is experiencing a crisis of liberal democracy, but the author's half-full glass suggests Democracy's slow process in history (3 waves) is resilient and has the capacity to reinvent itself and learn from the erosion of political parties, elites capturing international capitalism, with America less willing to play a hegemonic role and difficulties in dealing with interdependence (terrorism, pandemics, financial crisis).  Furthermore, according to data, Ikenberry, points to the fact that the Democratic share of Global GDP is 80% higher than any other measure of national power.  

Joseph Nye underscores Trump is a gift to Europe and China.   His decision to leave the Paris Accord, to cut funds to the United Nations, his open enthusiasm for Brexit, provides the opportunity for Europe to reinforce their values. The Franco-German engine is an example of the invigoration to sustain the EU in the longer term.  The void is an opportunity for China to fill in the vacuum.

According to Stephen Walt, Trump's foreign policy seems a "bumpy ride to an unknown destination" because a grand strategy would imply fully undertaking actions to counterbalance China's rise but Trump's foreign policy nonetheless seems to be "erratically unraveling the world order".

Richard Haass suggests that "this world in disarray" can be explained as a backlash against the inabilities of global institutions to reform and adapt to challenges such as a "rise in nationalism, refugee flows, inequalities, loss of jobs and the falling off of upward mobility