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International flags fly at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, June 20, 2014 (U.S. Navy photo by James E. Foehl).

An Open World Is in the Balance. What Might Replace the Liberal Order?

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States imperils the liberal international order that America has championed since World War II. That open world was already operating under strain, challenged by rivals and upheaval abroad. But suddenly, it is vulnerable at home, too. A wave of angry populism has propelled to power a nationalist leader who campaigned on a promise to put “America First.” As a candidate, Trump questioned longstanding U.S. alliances like NATO, criticized international institutions like the United Nations, and promised to abandon major trade, arms control and climate agreements. Little wonder that liberal internationalists are shuddering. Writing in the New York Times, outgoing Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken frets that the new administration will “become complicit in dismantling” the very world that America made.

Can the open liberal order survive this sudden convergence of foreign and domestic assaults? And, if not, what will take its place? ...

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