America came into being with the slogan of promoting liberal values. And according to some liberal intellectuals, she manifested it several times in history when the world needed. She promoted values of liberalism in the world, focusing on cooperation and free market economy. And thus, America got the title of the ‘Champion of Liberalism.’ Contrary to their long-held tradition, current policies of the United States of America utterly runs against those values. The United States of America is departing from her liberal manifesto.
Liberalism is all about cooperation in the world among different nations and free market economy. The United States, calling herself a champion of liberalism, emerged a major world power after the cold war. Having a strong yearning for liberalism, the US dramatically changed her course under the leadership of Donald Trump.
The first breach of liberal values came from the American side when International Criminal Court announced that there are ample evidences which demonstrate Israel war crimes in West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. When the news arrived in Israel it received a great backlash. The Israeli premier castigated the move and called it a “scandalous decision”. The Israel’s backlash was followed by her closest ally in the world and the champion of Liberalism, the USA (though, the leader of liberal world has not joined ICC, the liberal institution). The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said that the USA will try every way to prevent the court in Hague from prosecuting Israel for its war crimes. The President of the USA, Donald Trump, attacked ICC court workers and imposed economic and travel sanctions against the workers. Unfortunately, these sanctions came from the champion of liberalism against a major liberal institution. Moreover, Israel’s annexation of Golan heights, which were taken by Israel from Syria back in 1967, was supported and recognized by the champion of liberalism, America. While majority of the states rejected the move. And now Israel is planning to annex 30% of west bank but she is waiting for green signal from America, which might be given after the pandemic. America, despite struggling in the United Nations that Israel might not get sanctioned, is supplying weapons, technology, and aircrafts to the later thus strengthening her strategic partner in the middle east.
Along with that, ICC turned against the war crimes done by the USA and her allies in Afghanistan. The court authorizes the investigation of war crimes done by the USA and her allies in Afghanistan. There are reports that the US and her allies have killed civilians for sport. Unfortunately, that was being done by the liberal nations of the world. While not accepting her villainous role, the US imposed sanctions on the ICC workers to affect the rule of law. Being a responsible superpower, the US must have supported the court investigation rather than interfering in court’s procedures because it is one of the tenets of liberal internationalism that the liberal states must upheld the rule of law. But, unfortunately, the US is doing the opposite. This may give rise to the violations of human rights in other parts of the world by other world actors.
Another blow to the liberal world order came when the President of the USA announced withdrawal from the World Health Organization. The withdrawal will also stop US funding to the liberal organization. The leader of a liberal nation, Trump said that WHO is too inclined towards China therefore it is imperative to leave WHO. This is an unfortunate decision which will have a negative impact on the status of global health. Health analysts opined that this act may result in the resurgence of Polio and Malaria because no funding from the USA will hinder the work of the organization thus decreasing the efficiency. The illiberal move will have an impact on the liberal organization.
Another point of departure from liberalism is the conflict with China. First, it came in the shape of trade war. The USA imposed tariffs on the Chinese goods in retaliation the China also imposed tariffs. The important reason behind starting that war is that the USA has a great current account deficit with relation to China which motivated the former to impose tariffs on the Chinese goods. This was an illiberal move which was immensely criticized by the liberal class worldwide. This move hindered the free market flow and affected the trade between both countries and raised many other issues. According to economic interdependence theorists, two countries that are immensely dependent on each other for their economic well-being will not go to war with each other despite their political differences. But cutting the economic interdependence led to emergence of the hostile relation between the USA and China.
Consequently, in the South China Sea, the USA is showing muscles. This is not an intelligent approach. USA must try to cooperate with the countries that are the stakeholders in the disputed South China Sea to resolve the tensions between the states and create a peaceful region. Contrary to this, the USA deployed two aircraft carriers in the very region to counter Chinese power. In retaliation, Chinese deployed a brigade of aviation forces and warships in the contested Paracel archipelago for maritime drills. It will increase the tension in the region. The USA could have solved the dispute through corporation but according to China, the USA “is the real pusher of militarization in the South China Sea.” This is also a departure from liberalism to offensive realism.
Along with that, the current border dispute between India and China showed a realist behavior of the USA towards that dispute. The confrontation between China and India came when India built a road in Ladakh, along the Line of Actual control. That act angered China and led to clashes between both states which resulted in the deaths of soldiers on the both sides.
The USA was supposed to solve the conflict through cooperation and mediating between both states, but she has a considerable tilt towards India. The Washington officials indicated that US military will stand with India in case of a conflict between India and China which illustrates the bias attitude of US towards the conflict.
The recent confrontation will increase closer security ties between India and the USA. It seems that new cold war is in the making between the USA and China. According to some political analysts, the US might form new alliance in the region to counter Chinese regional hegemony. The new alliance will be comprised of the USA, India, Japan, and Australia.
The contemporary policy of countering China is based on the one of the realist theories that is Thucydides trap. According to this theory, rise of one power is a threat to a status quo power and they will eventually go to the war with each other because a status quo power cannot bear the rise of another power. Rise of China is a threat for America therefore the latter is trying to do her best to counter former. For countering China, America may form an alliance. Despite choosing a liberal way that is cooperation with a rising power for a peaceful world, America is choosing a realist way to counter China. That policy of America may culminate into a war which will unleash a reign of sufferings. This is the clear indication of departure from liberalism on the part of America.
American shift from liberalism will have detrimental effect on the image of the country. If the US only opts for hard power, then on the international scene, her status may be questioned as a leader of the new world order. Because, according to Henry Kissinger, a superpower must have the capability to balance hard power and soft power and must not rely on one kind of power. Therefore, it is imperative for America to continue its old legacy i.e. promoter and defender of liberal values around the world rather than departing from liberal values.