The last time we blew up the international system, it took two World Wars, a Cold War, and a Great Depression before we were able to get it back to where it’d been in 1913. With any luck, it won’t require quite as much this time around.
That, make no mistake, is what Donald Trump’s election might mean. I say “might,” because we really don’t know what he’ll do in office. He’s gone back and forth and back again on almost every issue. But if he’s serious about jailing his political rivals, about cracking down on the free press, about potentially abandoning our allies, about encouraging them to get nuclear weapons of their own, and about ripping up free trade agreements, then the liberal international order that has bequeathed us a relative Pax Americana the past 70 years will be no more. It’ll be the end of the end of history.