When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order | Mark Medish

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Mike Pompeo and John Bolton have led the charge against multilateralism, but they should be careful: might can win on a given day, but it will never make right

The high water mark of multilateralism is probably behind us. In a speech late last year, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made approving reference to a “self-help world” in defense of Donald Trump’s “America first” policy. It’s hardly a new idea. As Thucydides said: “The strong do what they can; the weak do what they must.”

Related: Trump’s Iran summit shows just how far he is from the rest of the west | Simon Tisdall

The US asked Canada to detain a top Chinese telecom executive for alleged sanctions violations.

China retaliated by arresting a number of Canadian citizens on various charges.

Russia arrested an American in apparent reprisal for a spying prosecution of a Russian in the US.

The torture and assassination of US–based journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives in Turkey.

The abduction of the Chinese head of Interpol, a multilateral legal cooperation agency based in France, by Chinese authorities.

The biological attack in the UK on the Skripal family by Russian operatives resulting in death and grave injury.

Mark Medish is the president of The Messina Group, a consultancy, and served at the the White House and US treasury under former president Bill Clinton

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