Susan Strange’s conclusion to her 1987 essay was that American domestic politics was the far likelier cause of global volatility than waning US hegemony. This explanation is worth considering today, though in a slightly different form. Even the casual observer would acknowledge that the Trump administration is at best suspicious and at worst hostile to the existing liberal international order. The United States is at the epicenter of the hegemonic bloc, but powerful actors such as the EU and Japan are key defenders. Private-sector actors and civil society organizations within the United States are also defenders of the existing order. If the Trump administration is the actor that wants to subvert the existing order, it too must consider the reactions of other supporters. How does its current strategy map onto rational revisionism?....It would appear that the Trump administration has been the most aggressive in pushing back on the ideas/information regime, followed by production. Despite the occasional hint at wanting to change existing regimes, the administration has been far more status-quo oriented on the security and financial pillars. This is the precise sequencing that a rational revisionist would pursue....Ironically, one must conclude that the most rational revisionists of the current moment do not reside in any hegemonic challenger to the United States. They reside in Washington, D.C.
June 4, 2019 at 7:00 AM EDT