By Brad Settelmeyer
In the past year, there has more damage down to the international community then has been done in the last century alone. With the recent election of Donald Trump, there is no telling at this moment how long the current international ideals will be able to hold on in this new age of nationalist oriented politics. Much of the trust once held by some of the US’s most important allies such as Germany, Japan, and India are all starting to doubt not only the US’s commitment to the advancement of the International community, but in general, their attitudes towards the countries themselves.
NATO is in the throngs of death, as many wonder whether the US support alliance system will be continued to be supported under the “America first” defense ideals led under the recently incumbent Trump administration, as he has recently made comments that could signal the end of American crusading for International unity. A increasingly nationalistic China is currently showing its navel prowess throughout the South-East Asia Oceanic region with the advancement of naval bases in territory disputed by surrounding countries (what these countries can do is only call for support for International Courts to rule on issues of sovereignty).
Just recently, on the 20th anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong to China by the British, the Chinese government staged a giant military parade; leading many spectators to believe that the intention such action to show the PRC’s control of the region considering many protests fighting over such control.
The world though has experienced a surge of global trade not seen in decades, is in fact moving inward towards the nations itself. What many foresaw as institutions like the United Nations/NATO that could help bring the world together through non-nation oriented international leadership outlets have proven to have the opposite effect on the world leaders; who see these institutions; born out of dreams of Wilsonian and neo-liberals as the main cause for problems their respective countries are facing.
Many nations, in many more cases then not Russia, have seen the actions taken towards the recent occupation of the Crimean region of Ukraine as not only an overextension by the international community into the regional affairs of the Russian Federation, but also a very negative impact on the Russian economy.
It is a very common for many leaders like Putin or Trump to act towards the liberal instructions in self-defense of national interests, whether it be in the example stated before with Putin and the clash in Eastern Europe, Trump’s recent exception of the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, XI Jinping’s recent actions in the South Oceanic region. Nations like the United States, Russia, and to an extent, China, have seen these types of institutions intervening in the choices their nation has in operating in the dangerous Post-Cold War world.
The response to many of these perceived interventions is in many cases to back track and go on their own in the world. As explained above, the United States moving away from NATO, and to a more regional extent, the United Kingdom’s moving away from the European Union has shown to the world that being interconnected or cooperative in the international stage does not always grantee that.
The International cooperation that has once been the hallmark of International Norms in the world has now become caught under the fire of nationalistic leaders who have acted out in ways to disrupt the flow in which these international organizations work. Many Nations have resorted to the use of action towards a certain problem or dismal of allies in order the achieve a supposed national goal.
Trust between such nations like the United States and Russia are sinking to levels of an all-time low, and there is no way to tell if it will ever to continue the way it is right now. The world is moving towards a place where Nations practice crude reason d etat, moving away from any forms of international origination’s or aspect of unity of nations for the supposed national goals of the respective nations. Such movement towards nation orientated policy is not only scary, it is and will be downright devastating the world.
Gone is the time in which a nations policy was built around the needs it believed it had to achieve or wants it had to obtain. The world is so interconnected and raveled up in itself, the actions of Trump, Putin, and XI Jinping are not only wasteful their own countries, but also a unneeded stress on the countries of the international community.
National interests are a hard thing to asset in a world like this, not only because as stated above, the world is very interconnected, but also there is an unmovable ethos of liberalism felt by many nations.
For when Donald Trump talks about having America first in his aims for US foreign policy, and Putin’s rhetoric towards the Balkan and Eastern European States, they are not only going off the basis of their own power but also the supposed wants and needs of their respective nations that they see to be above all else.
It is true that these leaders are supposed to be the voice of their nation, leading in ways that benefit ones’ country in both economic, and security dangers that could threaten the lives of the citizens. However, the national interests sometimes can corollate or intertwine with that of another friend or enemy in the international system.
There is no such thing of reason d’etat that once led countries to literal ends of the earth to find or enact justification for actions for their nation. Cooperation towards both a goal of unity and national cooperation might be the only way in which our current world can thrive in.