27 March 2018   Leave a comment

Peter Goodman has written an article for the New York Times that argues that the liberal world order is crumbling and that the very states that worked to create it after World War II are among those states refusing to support it.  His position is made clear at the beginning of the article:

“In the aftermath of World War II, the victorious Western countries forged institutions — NATO, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization — that aimed to keep the peace through collective military might and shared prosperity. They promoted democratic ideals and international trade while investing in the notion that coalitions were the antidote to destructive nationalism.

“But now the model that has dominated geopolitical affairs for more than 70 years appears increasingly fragile. Its tenets are being challenged by a surge of nationalism and its institutions under assault from some of the very powers that constructed them — not least, the United States under President Trump.

“In place of shared approaches to societal problems — from trade disputes, to security, to climate change — national interests have captured primacy. The language of multilateral cooperation has been drowned out by angry appeals to tribal solidarity, tendencies that are heightened by economic anxieties.”

In its place, the dissidents to the liberal world order seem to prefer a world dominated by balance of power politics, a return to he world system of the 19th century.


It is difficult to pin down the Trump Administration’s position on trade.  Mr. Trump announced increases in tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and then exempted most countries from those tariffs because they were US allies.  Similarly, he announced his intention to raise tariffs on imported Chinese products to reduce the US trade deficit with that country by about $60-100 billion.  Subsequently, we have found that those tariffs are now the topic of negotiations between the US and China.  The US position on trade has been consistent since 1945–it has been in favor of free trade and low tariffs.  The evidence shows that the US was true to that aspiration, except with respect to certain products in sensitive areas.  According to the Pew Research Center:

“In 2016, according to the World Bank, the average applied U.S. tariff across all products was 1.61%; that was about the same as the average rate of 1.6% for the 28-nation EU, and not much higher than Japan’s 1.35%. Among other major U.S. trading partners, Canada’s average applied tariff rate was 0.85%, China’s was 3.54% and Mexico’s was 4.36%.”

During the 19th century, the US was a highly protectionist economy to protect its industries from competition from European exports.  If he follows through on his threats, Mr. Trump may return the US to that historical pattern.



The literal translation of the names of various states is fascinating.  Remember that many of these names are not authentic to the indigenous people who lived in the areas–the translation is from the European designation of the imposed colonies.   If you want to see the maps in finer detail, click here.


Literal World Map



Literal World Map

Posted March 27, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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