By Javad Heirannia

Immediate effect of Trump foreign policy is continuing erosion of U.S. prestige in world: Expert

November 10, 2017

TEHRAN – Professor Nader Entessar from South Alabama University says “What President Trump has done, albeit in an aggressive and hostile manner, is simply accelerate the trend away from the prevailing international structures and norms.” 

“The immediate effect will be the continuing erosion of US prestige in world affairs as this trend will make it difficult for foreign countries to enter into agreements with Washington,” Entessar tells the Tehran Times. 

He also says that “If you don't know if Washington is going to uphold its obligations once a president leaves office, then treaties entered into will at best have a 4-year lifespan.” 

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: According to Liberalism, international treaties and agreements are necessary to 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: Although it is true the liberal world order that was established in the aftermath of World War II placed premium emphasis on multilateral norms and international regimes, including treaties, the United States had started its exit from the liberal norms, albeit in a gradual manner, well before the advent of Trumpism.  What President Trump has done, albeit in an aggressive and hostile manner, is simply accelerate the trend away from the prevailing international structures and norms.

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

A: I think the immediate effect will be the continuing erosion of US prestige in world affairs as this trend will make it difficult for foreign countries to enter into agreements with Washington.  If you don't know if Washington is going to uphold its obligations once a president leaves office, then treaties entered into will at best have a 4-year lifespan.   In addition, if a major superpower continues to disregard international norms, then the whole international legal system will be weakened and indeed may become peripheral to relations among nation-states.

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 US power?

A: Contrary to what some in the US believe, the Trump administration's exit from several multilateral agreements will not enhance US power.  In fact, disregard for the rule of law and international norms are signs of a declining power.  Disregard for international norms is indeed an indication of a country turning into a rogue state and not a powerful one.

Q: Some say the regimes created after Second World War helped a lot to the US hegemonic power and the creation of the US favored orders, but now these regimes don't serve the US 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: There is an element of truth to this view.  However, as I stated earlier, the assault on the post-World War II international liberal order started long before Trump assumed the US presidency.  In fact, President Nixon's assault on the Bretton Woods economic order in the early 1970s was the first major arrow that was directed to the heart of the liberal world order.  In other words, as early as the 1970s, Washington had come to the conclusion that the liberal world order that had served its interests so well was no longer able to guarantee its continuing global hegemony.

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