Are We Seeing The End Of The Alliance Of Liberal Democracies?

Through remarks made during the presidential campaign, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has indicated his administration would not invest much in the alliances with European nations that have existed since the end of World War II.

As Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum notes, Trump has expressed little commitment to NATO, not its principle of defense of one and all. He insists the invasion of Ukraine was a consequence of American weakness, not Russian aggression by Vladimir Putin, a man with whom he said he could get along.

But Trump is not the only presidential candidate for whom historic alliances mean little. His fellow Republica, Sen. Ted Cruz also has outlined a foreign policy plan that would pull America from its leadership role, a shift many American appear to have embraced.

Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front has pledged that if elected, she would leave both NATO and the European Union and adopt restrictions on foreign investors.

In Slovakia’s weekend elections, the ruling party lost its majority in the parliament as far right-wingers made gains just months before Slovakia takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, reports The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Britons will soon be voting on whether to remain part of the EU or to break away on its own. All of this adds up to a dim future for longstanding alliances.

As Trump’s appealing rhetoric makes clear, the costs of alliances (“millions of dollars annually”) are easier to see than the longer-term gains.

“Western unity, nuclear deterrence and standing armies gave us more than a half century of political stability. Shared economic space helped bring prosperity and freedom to Europe and North America alike. But these are things that we all take for granted, until they are gone,” she concludes.

The Guardian’s Ulrich Speck characterizes the emerging divide in micro terms as a battle between globalism, as expressed in the policies of leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, versus the Trumpian “territorialism,” which sees its primary goal as closing borders to immigrants and, to an extent,

But the biggest problem with territorialism is not polarization, it is that the concept is deeply flawed. Territorialists suggest that people can have their cake and eat it: disrupt globalization and stay rich, minimise investment in international affairs and alliances and remain safe and free.

“They take the huge gains in prosperity, security and freedom of the last decades for granted. They fail to understand that those gains depend on massive investments of nation states in international order, and that globalisation is based on open societies and increasingly easy cross-border flows of goods, people and information. In other words, if territorialism wins, globalisation is under threat,” he contends.

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