The Trump factor in the new world order

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

How much difference has US President Donald Trump made to America’s standing in the world? Despite the almost daily awe and horror that has accompanied media coverage of the first year of his presidency there is a view that Trump has barely made a dent on the structural trends that are paring back America’s influence in Asia and around the world. That influence was well on the wane before Trump took the keys to the White House, says Evan Feigenbaum. Hugh White sees President Trump as merely accelerating America’s inevitable retreat from Asia in the face of China’s rise.

US President Donald Trump uses his famous ‘You’re fired’ line at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, US, 8 December 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri).

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Trump has created uncertainty in the global system in spades — with his loose play in the North Korean crisis, his assault on the international trading system and his retreat from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — but he is responsible neither for China’s rise nor for the recent shifts we have seen in Asia’s alignments. After the global financial crisis, traditional export-led Asian economic strategies could no longer count on robust growth from American demand. Domestic demand was called in as a new driver of growth and as an intra-regional hedge against uncertainty. The structural changes now working in China’s …continue reading