Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Global leadership void stares us in the face

Global leadership void stares us in the face

Gulf News

This has been the central geopolitical question posed by Donald Trump’s presidency. So far, long-time United States allies have been working to fill the void created by the retreat of American leadership, and thus to prevent the erosion of a system that has served so many so well for so long. Yet, their efforts cannot be more than a temporary solution to the crisis of global stewardship that Trump has created.

From the time Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, his distaste for the international system the US shaped after World War II was obvious. Generations of previous presidents saw the promotion of a geopolitically stable, economically open, ideologically liberal world order as a form of enlightened self-interest — a strategy that would allow America to remain secure, prosperous and free by helping others become secure, prosperous and free.

Trump, however, has long seen this order-building project as a geopolitical fool’s errand that allows other countries to freeride on American labours. Despite the best efforts of many of his advisers, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Trump has thus taken dead aim at key aspects of America’s own international order.

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