The Trumping of international law and democratic institutions

In the past, presidents used the potency of the American liberal democratic ideal to rally like-minded nations and to rein in and chasten the world’s miscreants. The liberty and justice rhetoric appealed to and generated hope among peoples suffering under autocracy and oppression. The ideal inspired and could be leveraged for influence. While US society was never perfect, American leaders always claimed to be progressively moving towards its ideal and that was the basis of US claims for world leadership.

But under President Trump, the important institutions of constitutional democracy and international law have recently suffered serious damage. The long-term prospects for peace and stability have been undercut as a result.

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