Research Report

Withdrawing from the International System

John Bruton

John Bruton

Former Prime Minister of Ireland

Looking at the problems presently facing the World Order, I think the first important thing that we must notice is that the relative power of the United States is in decline, and it is no longer able to set the agenda for the world. Indeed, it is choosing not to do so. The United States is opting out of certain international arrangements that it has made (the North American Free Trade Agreement, for example), it is weakening its commitment to the World Trade Organization, and it’s contemplating withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran. Obviously, the biggest threat to the world in the present time is that of nuclear war, and this has always been the most considerable threat to the world since nuclear weapons were invented. This is because nuclear warfare has the capacity to destroy virtually everybody on the planet in a relatively short duration of time. It’s disturbing to see what’s happening in North Korea. And it is also disturbing for the same reasons, to see a diplomatic effort to resolve the problem of nuclear proliferation in the case of Iran, being abandoned - at least by one of the major world powers.

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