As we have just entered a new year, it is now the most opportune time to offer some expectations as to how the year 2017 might unfold in terms of the dynamics of global politics. The first observation to make in this regard is that the allure of nationalism and geopolitical thinking will likely increase. Unlike the expectations of the liberal internationalist and Kantian idealists, we are not on the verge of transcending into a borderless world in which universal principles of secularism, human rights, cosmopolitan morality, unlimited globalization and multiculturalism prevail. The pressure on the liberal world order will intensify as the forces of illiberalism have now been taking hold in many quarters of the world. The rise of Putinism as a political ideology will likely find new followers. Not only the most Kantian political experiment, viz. the European Union, has faced existential crises in recent years, but also the rising powers of the non-western world have contributed to the erosion of liberal internationalist dream through their Westphalian foreign and security policy practices abroad and the stress they put on conservative values, strong nation-state identity, strong leadership and state-led economic development process at home.
The United States appears to offer the latest example of a gradual turn towards a nationalistic and anti-globalist understanding of international relations, as exemplified by the election of Donald Trump as the new American president on the ticket of realism, geopolitical reawakening, mercantilist economic policies, protectionism, anti-globalism and American nativism. Unlike former American presidents Trumps puts an overwhelming emphasis on the preservation of the constitutive values of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans and thinks that the United States has mainly suffered from the post-war era globalization process. Acting in the footsteps of one of the 19th century American presidents, Andrew Jackson, Trump thinks that the so-called American creed is what makes the United States exceptional among all nations and the US would do well not to promote these values to others in the name of making the world safe for democracy. Unless the US takes some extreme measures, such as shielding itself against the infiltration of Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese and others into the pure American society, he avers nothing would be left as truly American. With Trump in presidency, Putin reigning in Russia and other strong nationalist figures at the helm of their countries, one can safely argue that the year 2017 will increasingly witness a return to the factory settings of world politics as they existed prior to the Second World War.