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A nation must think before it acts.
(This is the first installment of a series of columns on the threat to the U.S.-led liberal international order. Read the second and third parts here: America’s Global Order Is in Retreat | America’s Global Order Can Be Saved.)
The “liberal international order” is one of those phrases that means everything to people inside the Washington policy community and absolutely nothing to anyone outside of it.
After Donald Trump’s election in 2016, it became laudatory shorthand for the world the U.S. had done so much to create after World War II — and that the president often seemed determined to destroy. More recently, though, some foreign-policy commentators have pushed back, arguing that the liberal order is overrated, and that nostalgia for its accomplishments is not simply misplaced, but damaging.