Niall Ferguson is the rare historian who manages to come up with some real original analysis. He’s teaching at Harvard now, and is hardly a provocateur like the Saker, who I have referenced earlier. When he speaks, he deserves a listen.
A couple weeks after the election he wrote a piece for The American Interest called “Donald Trump’s New World Order.” If you’re looking for some thoughtful discussion of where Trump may be heading, it’s worth a look. He imagines a Trump foreign policy based on the world view of Henry Kissinger. He understands Kissinger better than anyone, since he’s doing an authorized “warts and all” biography of him, the first volume of which came out in 2015.
Using a little imagination, he sees the possibility of a new Triple Entente for the 21st Century, consisting of the United States, Russia and China. Taking a back seat in this new world order would be Western Europe, Iran, Turkey and most of the rest of the world.
I’ve made my opinion clear on this blog about my prediction, or hope, rather, of a Russian-American alliance. It has to be founded on a neutral and federal Ukraine. Ferguson agrees, and goes further. Rather than form a common front against the Chinese, Russia and the U.S. should reach a mutual understanding with them. Apparently the border disputes between Russia and China have been taken care of, so these two countries don’t really have anything to fight about. And we don’t have anything to fight about with either one of them. China is going to have to back off in the South China Sea. They’re no match for the United States Navy, and they know it. We take our right to freedom of the seas very seriously, as we’ve proven. That’s what propelled us into WW I. We will not allow China, or anyone else in the world, to cut us off from the world’s trade routes. The Chinese aren’t crazy, and this problem can be negotiated.
The world order would revert to the what it was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, and Ferguson recommends TR as a role model for Trump. He believed in legitimate spheres of influence and maintaining a balance of power. With the three greatest powers in the world — the U.S., China and Russia — cooperating with one another, the threat of radical Islam, anathema to them all, could be eradicated quickly.
As a side note, isn’t it curious that Chinese President Xi is being portrayed by the media as some sort of benevolent force in the world, as opposed to the monster Putin? There is more repression, and less freedom, in China than in Russia, so why does Xi get a pass? Maybe bringing Xi in on the Trump/Putin bromance will make it more palatable to the Trump haters.
Of course, the spheres of influence and the balance of powers In TR’s time failed to prevent World War One, so maybe we should try something else? Sorry, been there and done that. The United Nations, or any other international body, is not the answer. The way to avoid war is through the cooperation of the great powers of the world, and there’s absolutely no reason it can’t happen. And I think it will. There will be the problem of trade with China to be resolved, and that may take years to accomplish. But as the European Union dissolves, and a Russian-American relationship flowers, the path to lasting world peace lies with the Bear, the Dragon, and the Eagle.