26 March 2018   Leave a comment

I have posted several times on the apparent decline of the rules-based liberal world order established by the US after the end of World War II.  That world order was never fully realized, as the US and other powers often lapsed back into the balance of power world order of the 19th century.  But there was steady progress from 1945 on to create institutions that aspired to enforcing the rules of representative democracy, market capitalism, and human rights (even as many countries had serious reservations about those objectives).  The breakdown of the liberal world order since the election of US President Trump has accelerated, leading to questions about what world order might replace liberal rules.  Writing in the Asia Times, Pepe Escobar suggests that the populist/authoritarian movements in the world might be a template for an emerging world order:

“China, Russia, Iran and Turkey — all implicated in Eurasia integration — may all rank as authoritarian systems at different levels. And cases can be made that, with the exception of China they still underperform economically compared to their true potential.

“Yet one thing they value most of all is national sovereignty amid a multipolar system. That’s their conceptual counterpoint to the il(liberal) world (dis)order.”

There are some who have explicitly argued for such a world order although it is too early to believe that this alternative can be made systematically or in a manner that many would find appealing.


There are media reports that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has traveled to Beijing which, if true, would mark the first time he has been outside of North Korea since taking power.  The evidence consists of a special train that left North Korea and a very tightly controlled motorcade through the city.  The US appears not to have known in advance of the visit and the visit suggests that the Chinese do not wish to be left out of the diplomatic process which was started by the South Koreans and includes a possible meeting between US President Trump and Kim sometime in May.  We will have to see if the rumors are true and what effect the Chinese will have on a possible resolution of a situation in which they have an overwhelming interest.


At least 21 states, primarily from Europe, have expelled about 135 Russian diplomats as a show of protest over Britain’s allegations that Russia was involved in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and around 120 innocent civilians two weeks ago.  For its part, the US expelled around 60 Russian diplomats from New York and Washington, DC and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.  The Russians will likely respond with similar expulsions, but the tit-for-tat will have few significant effects.  The liberal states must consider cutting off the flow of Russian private money into the large financial centers of the world if they wish to penalize the Russians for their abhorrent behavior in a meaningful way.


Posted March 26, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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