A Liberal International American Foreign Policy Under Trump? Maybe Down but Not Out


Chaudoin, Stephen, Helen V. Milner, and Dustin Tingley. Forthcoming. “A Liberal International American Foreign Policy Under Trump? Maybe Down but Not Out”. In Chaos in the Liberal Order: The Trump Presidency and International Politics in the 21st Century, ed. Robert Jervis, et al. New York: Columbia University Press.
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In this article we argue that the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress will find it in its own interests to maintain many existing elements of U.S. foreign policy—which will continue to have substantial liberal internationalist components. In part, this is because liberal internationalism still advances America’s vital national interests. America’s many allies help it coordinate its defense and security and, for a price, make America more powerful; they help extend American influence and assist in the fight against global problems like terrorism. The trade and investment agreements the United States has negotiated and its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments help ensure a fairer and more open world economy in which the American economy can prosper. The international institutions the U.S. created after World War II, such as the United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, still enable it to influence—though not determine—the structure of all international economic and political relations. Exiting or ending these agreements will not enhance U.S. power or security; renegotiating them may give the U.S. a bit more leverage in the short run, but in the longer run may also destroy any good will the country possesses. Moreover, disengaging from the world will only leave it more susceptible to the influence of other powerful countries that might not have America's interests at heart, like China or Russia.

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Last updated on 02/07/2018