How often do we hear references to the notion that we live in a rules‐based global trading system? Addressing the World Economic Forum at Davos in January 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May praised liberalism, free trade, and globalization as the forces that underpin the rules‐based international system that is key to our global prosperity and security (Martin 2017). Chinese President Xi Jinping likewise extolled the virtues of a rules‐based economic order at Davos, winning widespread praise for defending free trade and globalization (Fidler, Chen, and Wei 2017).
But could someone please explain: What exactly are those rules? Because if we are going to invoke the sentimentality of Bretton Woods by suggesting that the world has remained true to its precepts, we are ignoring geopolitical reality. Moreover, we are denying the warped economic consequences of global trade conducted in the absence of orderly currency arrangements. We have not had a rules‐based international monetary system since President Nixon ended the Bretton Woods agreement in August 1971. Today there are compelling reasonspolitical, economic, and strategicfor President Trump to initiate the establishment of a new international monetary system.