97 Foreign Aff. 10 (2018)
The World after Trump: How the System Can Endure

handle is hein.journals/fora97 and id is 228 raw text is: 




The World

After Trump

How the System Can Endure

Jake Sullivan

  T he warnings started long before

        Donald Trump was even a presi-
        dential candidate. For at least a
 decade, a growing chorus of foreign policy
 experts had been pointing to signs that
 the international order was coming apart.
 Authoritarian powers were flouting
 long-accepted rules. Failed states were
 radiating threats. Economies were being
 disrupted by technology and globalization;
 political systems, by populism. Mean-
 while, the gap in power and influence
 between the United States-the leader
 and guarantor of the existing order-and
 the rest of the world was closing.
   Then came Trumps election. To those
already issuing such warnings, it sounded
the death knell of the world as it was. Even
many of those who had previously resisted
pessimism suddenly came to agree. As they
saw it, the U.S.-led order-the post-
World War II system of norms, institu-
tions, and partnerships that has helped
manage disputes, mobilize action, and
govern international conduct-was ending
for good. And what came next, they
argued, would be either an entirely new

JAKE SULLIVAN is a Senior Fellow at the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He served in the Obama administration as
Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Depart-
ment of State and as National Security Adviser
to the Vice President.


order or a period with no real order at all.
   But the existing order is more resilient
than this assessment suggests. There is no
doubt that Trump represents a meaning-
ful threat to the health of both American
democracy and the international system.
And there is a nonnegligible risk that he
could drag the country into a constitu-
tional crisis, or the world into a crippling
trade war or even an all-out nuclear war.
Yet despite these risks, rumors of the
international order's demise have been
greatly exaggerated. The system is built
to last through significant shifts in global
politics and economics and strong enough
to survive a term of President Trump.
   This more optimistic view is offered
not as comfort but as a call to action.
The present moment demands resolve
and affirmative thinking from the foreign
policy community about how to sustain
and reinforce the international order, not
just lamentations about Trumps destruc-
tiveness or resignation about the order's
fate. No one knows for certain how things
will turn out. But fatalism will become a
self-fulfilling prophecy.
   The order can endure only if its
defenders step up. It may be durable,
but it also needs an update to account
for new realities and new challenges.
Between fatalism and complacency lies
urgency. Champions of the order must
start working now to protect its key
elements, to build a new consensus at
home and abroad about needed adjust-
ments, and to set the stage for a better
approach, before it's too late.

A RESILIENT ORDER
In a world where the major trends seem to
spell chaos, it is fair to place the burden of
proof on those who claim that the current
order can continue. Yet well before


10  FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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