Trump, trade, and integration: Could an Asian coalition protect the global economic order?
The order that brought prosperity and a significant measure of stability to world affairs for three-quarters of a century after the Second World War is under threat. The US anchor on which order in the Asia Pacific has relied is in doubt. Trump has introduced huge global uncertainty at a time of major changes in the global balance of power and when stability and certainty are at a premium.
The institutional edifice on which the economic certainty and political confidence in the US-led global order has been built – the postwar institutional framework that guaranteed economic openness and the prospect of economic and political security – might be torn down.
There is no region in the world for which this threat is more dangerous than Asia. The foundation of Asia’s prosperity, economic integration and political stability is the global liberal economic order. The US military-security alliance framework provides political insurance, but it is the open global economic order that has made partners out of enemies and delivered economic security across the Asia Pacific. Few appreciate what destruction of that economic order would do to the global security outlook. There is no preparation for it.