By Javad Heirannia

Trump believes established liberal order has disadvantaged U.S.: Robert Jervis

November 13, 2017

TEHRAN - Robert Jervis, a professor of international politics at Columbia University, says I think it's clear that Trump believes that the established liberal order has disadvantaged the U.S. because it has allowed other to free ride on the U.S. provision of public goods.  

“The U.S. then has been exploited by these arrangements, especially in the distribution of the payments for NATO and in trade agreements,” Jervis tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: According to Liberalism, international treaties and agreements are necessary for world security and stability. Some believe President Trump’s exit from international treaties is a threat to liberalism. What do you think of this?

A: I think it's clear that Trump believes that the established liberal order has disadvantaged the U.S. because it has allowed other to free ride on the US provision of public goods.  The U.S. then has been exploited by these arrangements, especially in the distribution of the payments for NATO and in trade agreements. 

Q: What can be the possible effects of Trump’s walking away from international treaties on international law and international legal customs?

A: This isn't so clear because others may react to Trump's disdain for treaties and law by becoming more rather than less committed to them. 

Q: The liberal order is basically based on multilateralism. Trump’s exit from Paris Climate Accord, TPP, NAFTA and possibly from the JCPOA is in contradiction with multilateralism. Can such an approach guarantee the U.S. power?

A; I don't think so, and it is interesting that Trump appears to be trying to build some of the TPP provisions into bilateral agreements.  His objection to the Paris Agreement and the JCPOA, however, isn't routed in opposition to multilateralism in general but to the belief, which I do not share, that these agreements are not in the U.S. interest and that with his skill and resolve he can negotiate better ones.

Q: Some say the regimes  created after Second World War helped a lot to the U.S. hegemonic power and the creation of the U.S. favored orders, but now these regimes doesn’t serve the U.S. interest anymore, so the Trump’s measures to walk away from these regimes are very wise to weaken the regimes and exit. What do you think of this?

A: This is a logical position well worth considering.  But I'm not sure Trump could explain why he believes this and I and most scholars think it is wrong and instead hold to the view that while some aspects do need to be re-negotiated, particularly in trade, the order in general greatly benefits the U.S.

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