News & Politics

Trump Is Creating a New World Order — Where China and Russia Will Be Its Leaders

As Trump visits NATO and then Russia, we can't lose sight of how the old world order has been disrupted.

Photo Credit: JStone/Shutterstock

It has become commonplace to describe how we are experiencing dramatic disruptive changes in how we communicate, how we purchase and how we see the world around us. Gone are the chains of bookstores, many newspapers and magazines and many movie theaters. The telex, the fax, the phone booth, all gone. Retail stores and shopping malls are closing in record numbers. Once-powerful media companies are being sold off and dismembered. Our largest taxi companies own no cabs; our largest hotels own no rooms. We no longer use or need travel agents. Welcome to the Age of Disruption.

We are living in a period famously described and anticipated by Joseph Schumpeter’s monumental work, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. In it Schumpeter coined the phrase, “creative destruction.” Schumpeter described it as a process “that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

In Trump, we have a president who is gladly riding the wave of disruption and leading what he obviously views as the destruction of the old world order. In this view, the United States is clinging to a position of solitary dominance through a perceived series of failing multi-nation international alliances like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization that only survive through U.S. taxpayer subsidy.

To Trump, this is a losing hand and does not reflect the real power and political reality of today. He sees China and Russia not as modestly modified former Communist states but as recently emerging capitalist societies. He views this new world not through the prism and norms of traditional diplomacy but being constructed anew through reciprocal trade agreements.

Insufficiently noted in this emerging new world order is the influence of Henry Kissinger. Soon after Trump’s election, Kissinger was interviewed on “Face the Nation” (December 18, 2016). At that time, Kissinger called Trump, “a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen,” and said, “I believe he has the possibility of going down in history as a very considerable president.”

Throughout Trump’s presidency, Kissinger has been a continuing if largely unnoticed presence. As Trump visits NATO and then Russia, it would be good for more of us to realize that the old world order has been in disrupted and the new world order is emerging as a great power alignment of the U.S., China, and Russia. Donald Trump sees himself as the agent of this change. Like it or not, it’s happening while a national media wonder what Michael Cohen had for breakfast.

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Stan Salett has been a policy adviser to the Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton administrations and is the author of The Edge of Politics: Stories from the Civil Rights Movement, the War on Poverty, and the Challenges of School Reform.