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Can the world order collapse in a matter of days?

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Published: Updated:

The World America Made is the title of an angry book by neoconservative historian Robert Kagan as an indirect response to former President Barack Obama.

Although Obama borrowed some of his ideas during one of his State of the Union address before the Congress, he almost reversed everything in the book.

Kagan’s resentment is due to seeing Obama bored of having the US be the only policeman and of the responsibilities and expenses that come with it and preferring that there is a police station that assumed this protection responsibility and that is operated by other global powers.

Kagan is also angry over Obama’s foreign policy, which many expected it to be global but was retreating and technocratic instead as it was more occupied with planning healthcare programs than with pursuing terror groups and deterring rogue regimes.

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In the short book, Kagan narrates the details of the emergence of this world or the liberal world order, which the US inherited from the British Empire that collapsed after the defeat of Nazism and the end of the World War II more than 70 years ago.

The scene was bleak with photos of a devastated Europe and more than 50 million people killed. Despite that, Washington paid $13 billion and rebuilt Europe that was in ruins.

It preserved the semi-collapsed world order and expanded it by promoting democracy, its political system, or on the economic front, via its capitalist system. It sought to create a world that resembles it where wars are less and trade prospers.

The result was more encouraging than many have dreamt. This order expanded sevenfold and the concept of free market revived until it dominated over all other economic systems.

Alarm bells were sounded during the Obama term who made eloquent speeches about morals, global values and humanity but left the world order exposed

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Destructive conflicts

Many countries were democratized until their number reached 123 states thus decreasing the chances of destructive conflicts as the world has not witnessed a continuous phase of peace like that of the past seven decades.

The defeat of Nazism, Fascism and Communism completely delegitimized bloody regimes and ended their appeal to the point that no one thinks of imitating them or cloning them.

Countries like China held on to its political system but it entered the capitalist market and achieved high growth rates unprecedented in its history. In the past five years, it saved 68 million people from the misery of poverty.

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The world developed quickly from the era of governments to transnational corporations until we reached implementation.

Achieving all this stability and all this prosperity was only achieved with superpowers that protected the latter and punished the dangerous actors who seek to destroy this open and stable world order and replace it with another like the Soviet Union tried to do before it collapsed.

Alarm bells were sounded during the Obama term who made eloquent speeches about morals, global values and humanity but left the world order exposed. He was lenient with those who seek to destroy its rules, such as the Iranian regime, until we saw borders turn into lines drawn in sand and horrific massacres go unpunished.

Trump order

These days, there is growing criticism of American President Donald Trump under the pretext that he seeks to destroy the liberal world order via the continuous debates with Europe about trade relations or the NATO budget.

“Trump is hostile to the values that established this world. He says America First then insults Justin Trudeau and commends Kim Jong-Un.” This is what a commentator said while explaining how Trump seeks to destroy the liberal order and avenge from his closest allies.

But is this true? Does the Trump administration seek to eliminate the liberal world order that began with the administration of Harry Truman?

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Focusing on Trump’s Twitter account may give this impression as he is in a constant frenzy to mobilize his supporters. However, actions speak louder than tweets. Despite the Trump administration’s isolationist speech, the US has strengthened its ties with its allies after they were harmed during Obama’s term.

These historical and traditional alliances contributed to maintaining the world order in troubled areas of the world, like the Middle East.

The Trump administration withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal and is obviously working to curb the Tehran regime and frankly urge officials to topple it. Assad was punished twice to maintain the world order – even if via the minimum punishment – and for the purpose of deterring other murderers.

The main aim of negotiations with North Korea is to denuclearize it and include it within the international family. And finally there is the successful war that ended the presence of ISIS.

These frank Washington policies were devised by hawks and they do not aim to destroy the liberal world order but to clean it and maintain it. All the angry European statements that warn of the collapse of the world days after the US withdrew from NATO and World Trade Organization are nothing more than political exaggerations.

Magazines that bear shocking covers are just for entertainment and not for serious reading. The liberal order will not collapse tomorrow or after a year as long as there are powers that look after it and protect it via actions and strong armies and not via eloquent statements and speeches.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.