Skip to main content

Sharma, Shalendra D. “Trump and the End of an Era? The Liberal International Order in Perspective.” The International Spectator (2020): 1-16.


The liberal international economic and political order which the United States created from the ashes of World War II and has since led is in trouble. To United States President Donald Trump, the order which provided the framework under which sovereign states agreed to follow a rules-based system of economic and political cooperation and shared multilateral governance, has not only allowed other nations (in particular, China) to take advantage of US ‘magnanimity’, but also weakened the United States economically, while asymmetric alliances compromised its military advantages. Given the sustained assault this cosmopolitan order is facing, many fear that it may not survive if Trump is re-elected in November 2020. Indeed, if the United States response to the COVID-19 pandemic is any guide, an ‘America First’ agenda, especially a hard-line approach to China, will shape US policy if Trump wins a second term.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.