Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Because he's an ignoramus

Foreigners are asking questions about Trump:
"A lot of these people don't understand why a candidate would seek to change an international system that was designed by America and benefits America," Lohaus said. "They don't understand why we would undermine that when it is in our interest to keep things together."
The current international order was mostly built since the end of World War Two, which happened to be the period that the United States was at the peak of its power and influence. Although you can argue about whether the U.S.'s influence is waning to other rising countries like China, the U.S. is still the most influential country in the world. A part of that is because all kinds of benefits to the U.S. are baked in to the international system because it is a system that the U.S. had a large hand in building. Those baked in benefits (like, to take one of many possible examples, the fact that all oil transactions in the world are done with U.S. dollars) help the U.S. and its economy tremendously in all kinds of ways that are largely invisible to the American public.

Personally, I think there are a lot of problems with the current international order. And there are plenty of very smart critics of the current status quo. But many of those problems emanate from the fact that the order disproportionately favors the United States, its people and its allies, over others in the world.

Which is what makes Trump's whole "make America great again" shtick while simultaneously pledging to back out of the U.S.'s international commitments so ironic. To shatter international arrangements so callously while raising doubts about America's commitment is a sure fire way to make the U.S. less influential. The international order does not have to be the way that it is. It can be changed. If the U.S. proves to be an undependable partner, other countries will find more dependable alternatives. After a bit of chaos the world will eventually settle into some new order. But if the U.S. is led by someone perceived as being inclined to break commitments, you can bet that new order will be designed to sideline and contain the U.S., not maintain its current dominant position.