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Tue Jun 12, 2018, 03:03 PM

How Trump is killing America's alliances


. . Trump’s betrayal of South Korea and eruption at Trudeau are not one-offs, or events you can write off as simple quirks of the president’s personality. It is part of a broader slate of Trump policies and diplomatic efforts that have, put together, fundamentally weakened America’s ties with its traditional allies — in ways that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the world. America’s alliances depend on the US’s reputation for upholding its agreements and treating its allies fairly. Trump’s blithe disregard for diplomacy and international agreements has damaged the US’s reputation in a way that some scholars worry may be irreparable. And a deep body of research on international relations suggests that the strength of America’s alliances in Europe and East Asia have played a pivotal role in preventing another world war. The more Trump mucks around with American alliances, the more unstable the world becomes — making a large military conflict more imaginable.
. . .
And President Trump’s foreign policy could well be doing such damage. His approach is so erratic, so contemptuous of America’s traditional way of doing business, that US allies are openly worrying in a way that we haven’t seen in modern history. This affects world politics at their most fundamental level, undermining an otherwise stable global system in ways that we are only dimly capable of perceiving. The past week’s news was a particularly naked demonstration of what had been, to date, one of the most subtle and insidious effects of the Trump presidency: an erosion of the foundations of the political system that defines — and protects — the modern world.

Trump is attacking the heart of American alliances: trust
. . . Trade pacts, environmental agreements, and the Iran nuclear deal don’t touch the core US promise in US military alliances — to defend allies in the event of an attack. But backing out of such accords does serious damage to Trump’s reputation as a trustworthy ally. Withdrawing the United States from major agreements and imposing tariffs on allies, all while cozying up to Vladimir Putin and sitting down with Kim Jong Un, tells US allies that Trump doesn’t feel particularly bound by formal agreements or the traditional thrust of US foreign policy. If he decides that an agreement doesn’t put “America First,” he’s perfectly willing to kick it to the curb. Trump has openly said this in the past. In July 2016, he told the New York Times that he would be willing to disregard Article 5, the provision of NATO’s founding treaty committing allies to defending each other in the event of the attack.. . .
The result of Trump’s reputation for unreliability, then, is a weakening of American alliances. Allies will trust the United States less, and may start looking for alternatives to depending so heavily on the United States. Enemies will see cracks in US alliances and may attempt to exploit them. “The liberal international order depends on us believing that agreements like treaties [and] international organizations have long-term staying power beyond leadership change,” Brett Ashley Leeds, a scholar of US alliances at Rice University, tells me. “The scariest part is the fact that [Trump] is creating so much uncertainty about what US policy is going to be.” . . .

The world order is a little like a game of Jenga. In the game, there are lots of small blocks that interlock to form a stable tower. Each player has to remove a block without toppling the tower. But each time you take out a block, the whole thing gets a bit less stable. Take out enough blocks and it will collapse. The international order works in kind of the same way. There are lots of different interlocking parts — the spread of democracy, American alliances, nuclear deterrence, and the like — that work together to keep the global peace. But take out one block and the other ones might not be strong enough to keep things together on their own. . . When a fundamental force for world peace starts to weaken, no one can really be sure how well the system will hold up. Nothing like this — the leader of the world’s hegemon rounding on its most important allies — has ever happened before.What Donald Trump’s presidency has done, in effect, is start up another geopolitical Jenga game. Slowly but surely, he’s removing the blocks that undergird global security. It’s possible the global order survives Trump — but it’s just too early for us to say for sure. Given the stakes, it’s a game we’d rather not play.

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Reply How Trump is killing America's alliances (Original post)
MBS Jun 2018 OP
Blue_Tires Jun 2018 #1
MBS Jun 2018 #2
Blue_Tires Jun 2018 #3
MBS Jun 2018 #4

Response to MBS (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 05:15 PM

1. Yeah, but Hillary was too "establishment" and "status quo", amirite??

And she didn't "excite" people enough to go to the polls

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 05:52 PM

2. In some early 21st century election (2000? 2004? 2006?) , I remember some talking head noting that

"Americans are in a nihilistic mood." A certain subset of American voters have been in a wrecking-ball mood for a while now and for me it's a key explanation for the tragic results of the 2016 "election," making it harder for Hillary, and creating an opening for racist, incompetent, corrupt con men to wreck our country. I've been wondering these days how many of those Trump-voting folks who wanted to "shake things up" are feeling these days, as their health premiums soar, as the farm economy reels from Trump's tariffs, and more. As Charlie Pierce wrote a while back, "temper tantrums have consequences."

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Response to MBS (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 06:19 PM

3. I have no doubt that his rural voters are quite happy

As long as Donnie sticks it to the elites (whatever the hell that means) cracks down on those disloyal Negroes kneeling for the anthem and sweeps all the Mexicans out, they won't care if everything else is a disaster

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2018, 07:04 PM

4. So depressing.

As long as there are supporters who think all of this fine, we're in trouble.

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