The geostrategic retreat from internationalism by the United States is consistent with a broader political trend, The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson contends:
Summarizing recent survey data [in the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy], researchers Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk conclude: “Citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe have not only grown more critical of their political leaders. Rather, they have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy, and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives.”
“The tools of internationalism — a strong military, strong alliances, strong international institutions, strong support for global development and democracy promotion — have a considerable cost,” Gerson adds.
US vice-president Michael Pence pledged the unwavering support of Washington for Nato, promising to hold Russia to account for its aggression in Ukraine, The Financial Times reports:
His impassioned declaration of US solidarity at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday followed a defense of multilateralism from German chancellor Angela Merkel. In a tub-thumping speech to European allies that invoked the thousands of American war dead on European soil and recalled the neoconservative rhetoric of the George W Bush presidency, Mr Pence said President Donald Trump would “restore the arsenal of democracy”.
Pence sought to reassure European allies with speeches at NATO and the EU that stressed a dedication to the values of freedom and democracy that bind the U.S. with its allies, Politico reports.
“The United States’ commitment to the European Union is steadfast and enduring,” he told the European Council in Brussels on Monday. “We are separated by an ocean, but we are joined by a common heritage, and by a common commitment to freedom, democracy and to the rule of law, and we are confident that bond will endure and grow in the years ahead.”