Trump As First Post-Cold War President And The Dollar

No matter how one chooses to mark the end of the Cold War, it ended a long time ago. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. The Soviet Union itself ended on December 26, 1991. Yet in many ways, various global institutions and the way the world is organized was still very much along the Cold War lines. Various forces have been pressuring this arrangement, and US Trump is the first American President to offer an alternative vision.  

This vision is most assuredly not isolationist, though many pundits continue to use this term. The fact of the matter is that, according to the Eurasia Group, US special operation forces have carried out missions so far this year in 133 countries or more than 2/3 of the UN members. Trump does not want to withdraw into a Fortress America.  He wants America to reap a share of the world economy that is commensurate with its economic prowess and has little time for ideological and institutional constraints on its freedom of action.  

Before the Russian Revolution (1917), rivalries between the UK, Germany, France, and Japan were carving up the world, including China. The US got into the competition of the Great Powers by grabbing pieces of the weakening Spanish Empire and took its first and only formal colony, the Philippines, as well as some small islands that would serve as coaling stations to allow the US to project its power and trade to the Asia Pacific.  

The Cold War is over. That should end the ideological conflict and the institutional expressions. It is true that Russia has nuclear weapons and that is what gives it a seat at the table. It does not even pretend to have ideological differences with the US or Europe. It is about power and influence. Russia has metals, energy, and grains to trade, but it is not an economic rival.  In fact, the longevity for man is lower in Russia than in North Korea. 

If capitalism vs. communism is no longer the main division in the world, then economic rivalry becomes more salient. The America First that Trump speaks of is not about the America First committees that sought to keep the US out of WWII. Rather Trump's reference is to the America First of Harding, who followed Wilson and rejected the League of Nations and Wilsonian multilateralism.  

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Bruce Powers 1 year ago Member's comment

While I wouldn't be surprised if the stat you mention is true, how would the Eurasia Group, whatever they are, know where the US Special Forces are conducting it's top secret missions? Can you include the link for this source?

Marc Chandler 1 year ago Author's comment

Ian Bremmer ( ianbremmer) tweeted at 0:51 PM on Sun, Jul 22, 2018:

So far this year, US special operations forces have carried out missions in 133 countries.

With little transparency or oversight from elected officials.


Bruce Powers 1 year ago Member's comment

Wow, thanks! I'm very impressed you took the time to respond. Much appreciated.