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Liberalism in the Trenches

After a dizzying few months, in which Donald Trump’s young presidency threw the entire post-1945 global order into question, the geopolitical status quo appears to have reemerged. But this is no time for complacency: defenders of the liberal international order still need a comprehensive foreign-policy strategy.

MADRID – After a dizzying few months, in which Donald Trump’s young presidency called into question the entire post-World War II global order, the geopolitical status quo appears to have reemerged. But this is no time for complacency: the liberal world order remains far from secure.

To be sure, recent developments are encouraging. Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, appears to be losing influence, and may even be on his way out. The once-marginalized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now Trump’s closest cabinet member. The respected H.R. McMaster has replaced the questionable Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. The adults, it seems, are back in charge.

This shift has been reflected in policy. The Trump administration may have recognized that it cannot assume an entirely inward-looking foreign policy. Its demonstrative (but not damaging) use of cruise missiles in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s contemptible chemical attack on his own people was a decision taken straight from former President Bill Clinton’s playbook.

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