To speak of liberal order is to speak also of American primacy, with the former depending on the exercise of the latter. Multiple orders collided and met the limits of their reach and power.
First, I offer a way of thinking about liberal internationalism. The hallmarks of liberal internationalism -- openness and rule-based relations enshrined in institutions such as the United Nations and norms such as multilateralism -- could give way to a more contested and fragmented system of blocs, spheres of influence, mercantilist networks, and regional rivalries.
There is a better, non-Trumpian critique to be made of a failing foreign policy consensus, and on behalf of an alternative order based on a wiser combination of restraint, deterrence, and power sharing.
Critics once accused neoconservatives of violating the principles of liberal order with their bellicose unilateralism, by agitating for preventive war in Iraq in March without an explicit UN mandate, and by justifying torture.
Could the United States and China lead a concert of powers that share the costs of the unparalleled US conventional power-projection capabilities, using them to pursue shared goals? This possibility prompts several interesting questions: What are the mechanisms for change in regional orders given the likelihood of a continuing world order?
In the United States, the focal point of this eschatology is the presidency of Donald Trump. Beyond the theoretical questions about the sources and role of legitimacy and authority that I mentioned when discussing the essays in the first part of this book, there are two other questions on which this volume prompts further reflection.