The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has ushered in a period of unsettling uncertainty in international affairs. He has called the foundations of American foreign policy into question, but his precise intentions remain mysterious.
If Mr. Trump allows this uncertainty to continue — or worse, if he turns his back on U.S. allies and trading partners, as he has threatened to do — he risks harming America’s closest friends, empowering its rivals, and making the world even more dangerous.
Uncertainty during presidential transitions is nothing new. But this transition is different. During the campaign, Mr. Trump disavowed decades-old tenets of U.S. foreign policy. He cast doubt on America’s commitment to its allies, describing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as “obsolete” and suggesting that Japan and South Korea might want to acquire their own nuclear weapons.
He called for warmer relations with Russia at a moment when Moscow is working to...
Abstract: Global governance has indeed become more diversified in recent decades, and informal arrangements do sometimes provide opportunities for action when traditional multilateral bodies are stymied. But there is something important missing from this picture. The fundamental challenge of global governance today is not a shortage of cooperative mechanisms but the rapid shift in power away from the United States and the West toward emerging countries in the erstwhile periphery of the international system—countries that do not necessarily share Western assumptions about the purposes and methods of global governance.
Abstract: How do foreign actors involved in ‘regime change’ decide which kinds of domestic governance structures to promote in place of the regimes they have deposed? Most of the literature on foreign-imposed regime change assumes that interveners make such decisions based on rational calculations of expected utility. This article, by contrast, contends that interveners are predisposed to promote political arrangements that correspond to their own governance ‘schemas’, or taken-for-granted assumptions about the nature of political authority.