Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tadae Takubo

【#418】New World Order Featuring Declining U.S. Leadership

Tadae Takubo / 2017.01.26 (Thu)

January 23, 2017

     Japanese or Western media may not be able to give any clear conclusion on the new U.S. administration. It may be because not a few Trump cabinet members are willing to continue diplomacy with conventional thinking while President Donald Trump is about to significantly change the 72-year-old framework of international order established after World War II.
     In his inaugural address, however, Trump concluded that the United States made futile efforts for foreign countries by playing leading roles in the world after the war. “For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we've defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.” I think the remark clearly indicates what he deplores and wants.

Putting adversaries on same level with allies
     How would the discontent be resolved? Trump may think that he could save U.S. power by breaking down the priority order of adversaries, potential adversaries, allies and friendly countries and improving relations with Russia, the largest adversary. With China continuing unfavorable economic actions for the United States, Trump may be planning to cut a “deal” by attacking China’s expansion into the South China Sea and other weak points vulnerable to international criticism. He intends to put all foreign countries on the same level and deal with them based on whether bilateral relations with each country are advantageous for the United States or not.
     Why does the new U.S. leader emphasize the need for a military buildup? Trump indicated a real reason in his inaugural address when he said the United States “subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the depletion of our military.” Trump would like to say: “If adversaries disappear with U.S.-Russia relations improved, the United States will focus on defending itself. U.S. allies including Japan, South Korea and NATO countries have built social welfare states while having had a free ride on the U.S. military including the nuclear umbrella. The time has come for the Unite States to build a new state. As the U.S. military has been suppressed by budget entrenchment under the Obama administration, it is natural to build up U.S. military power.”

U.S. in decline
     Why does Trump try to drastically change the dynamics of postwar international politics? Trump said: “Politicians prospered – but the jobs lost, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.” This is the reason for him to help victims including low-paid white workers.
     How parochial and insistent his Americentrism, protectionism and isolationism are! U.S. leadership in the world will head downhill. I cannot but think that the United States is entering the phase of decline.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.