Ivo Daalder, who served under the Obama administration as the ambassador to NATO and who now is the President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, visited Occidental on April 6, 2017. He lectured at the college's McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, arguing that the liberal world order we know so well is likely coming to an end.
Mr. Daalder provided historical context to today's world order. It has evolved since World War I, but is founded in the cooperation of the world's major powers. Collective economics, politics, and security has minimized war and global poverty, generated democratic states, and brought attention to human rights through international law. The key to the success, Daalder contests, has been America's leadership. Now the liberal world order is in decline.
But, even years before President Trump took the Oval Office, the world order was challenged from three angles: rising populism and nationalism in the West from "below;" rising revisionist powers, like China and Russia, from "without;" and increased doubts about the capacities of United States leadership from "within." Today, this intermestic dynamic is amplified and the effects are more sensitively felt.
Mr. Daalder is pessimistic about the future. He indicated the importance of France's upcoming election. He predicted if Marine Le Pen wins in France, the EU is certain to disintegrate. Equally startling, he said that "change creates change" and that there is no turning back. If the world order is lost, it will be gone. Nevertheless, alternatives may emerge. As an advocate of NATO, Mr. Daalder is optimistic that the Trump administration could create a foreign policy that would benefit United States interests. Although dissolving the liberal world order is a detriment to the world, an alternative, such as an economic and security-focused pivot towards Europe and Asia, would bring positive outcomes.
Mr. Daalder's last visit to Occidental was during the George W. Bush administration. His visit last week was sponsored by the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs and the Kahane United Nations Program at Occidental College. The lecture can be viewed in its entirety through this link.