The Great Recession caused not just a great loss of wealth for many people around the world, but led to political shifts which have steadily gained power in the decade since the recession. With increasingly right-wing governments in power in numerous influential states, we are seeing fundamental challenges to the networks of global governance and the international strategies which have defined the history of international cooperation in the post-WWII era. These challenges to the global framework of agreements reflects the ways in which national decisions can affect international politics, this time in ways which threaten to disrupt the basis of those politics.
Conservative American politics has always included a strange blend of isolationism and militarism which has generally created a distrust of the use of “soft power” and international agreements. With the election of Donald Trump, whose politics seem built as much on being anti-Obama as on any ideology, these Republican tendencies have been given substantial reign. It should be no surprise, then, that the United States is reneging on the Paris Accords and a host of other international agreements. This variability in executive policy makes it difficult to rely on the United States as a partner in international agreements, weakening the foundations of future accords, to say nothing of the open opposition evinced by Trump to trade agreements, treaties, and other underpinnings of the liberal world order. Without a change in national politics, the United States will cease to be a key actor in international politics.