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Monday, March 30, 2020
Reviewed by: Blerim Mustafa, Postgraduate researcher (Ph.D candidate) at the University of Leicester (Department of Politics and International Relations)
GENEVA, Feb 25 2019 - When Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States on 8 November 2016, the electoral triumph defied poll estimates and came as a surprise to observers and pundits. President Trump’s “America First” agenda succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of many Americans and the allocation of votes pursuant to the electoral college gave Trump the edge, although he received nearly three million votes less than Hillary Clinton. With Trump at the helm, how would Washington’s new political direction affect international peace and stability?
To answer this question, Professor and Chair of the International and Comparative Politics Department at the American University of Paris, Hall Gardner, pens an honest and timely book entitled “World War Trump: The Risks of America’s New Nationalism” to assess the repercussions of President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy agenda. Professor Gardner foresees that President’s Trump unpredictable foreign policy agenda will contribute to reverse and undermine multilateralism, pave the way for the rise of Washington’s political rivals and weaken the status and credibility of the US as the world’s leading Great Power. In other words, an insecure political future that could accelerate the demise of the Pax Americana, put regional powers at loggerheads and throw the world into a new Cold War that could develop into World War III.
The backlash of this ominous precedent could contribute to spur the growth of a more assertive alliance composed of Washington’s political rivals – such as China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Turkey and South Africa – that decide to confront Washington as they become more self-assertive owing to their growing political, financial and military influence. Through the lens of offensive realism, it is predicted that power projection, military aggression and “might is right” will dominate the scene of the 21st century’s international order. From this point of view, the author argues that President Trump’s confrontational and alienating relationship with political adversaries and allies will pave the way for Washington to pursue unilateralism and a self-isolationist approach to settle international security issues. Professor Gardner predicts this could throw the world one step closer towards an Orwellian future.
Against this ominous background, it is urgent to reinvigorate multilateralism and foster an atmosphere conducive to peace and stability. This will rest on the ability to defuse geopolitical rivalries – it is argued by the author – through consensus-building, compromises and concessions on political matters with alienated regional powers such as China and Russia. “Global peace and human development can only be achieved by redefining the US national interest in such a way to reach compromises not just with US allies and friends but also with American rivals (…),” suggests Professor Gardner (2018, p. 280). In other words, without engaged and concerted diplomacy to defuse political disputes, international stability and peace will not prevail. From this perspective, “World War Trump: The Risks of America’s New Nationalism” offers food for thought for world decision-makers to steer away from pursuing political outcomes that could threaten international stability. The book provides realistic solutions for the current global political landscape and framing the future of the international world order.
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