The 59th Annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference
Coming Apart: The Fate of the Rules-based Order
April 9-11, 2019
Out of a ruined world in 1945, with fascism crushed in Europe and imperialism defeated in Asia, a new order emerged in which refugees were resettled, shattered societies were rebuilt, the United Nations was created, NATO was formed, currencies were stabilized, trade was opened and economies were integrated. During seven decades of peace, countries in Europe, Asia and North America prospered as never before in their histories. There was no great power war.
Today, refugees are fenced out, not resettled. Wrecked societies are abandoned and fall prey to groups like ISIS. The United Nations is ignored. NATO is battered. Trade wars are launched. Pacts on nuclear weapons and on the climate are undercut. In the West, Britain defects from Europe while the continent, which had achieved a common currency and erased its internal borders, again sees neo-Nazis march. In the East, Russia invades its neighbors while China fortifies distant islands. Great power war is a growing possibility.
It took a US-sponsored, rules-based order to mend the war-ruined world. That order is coming apart. What will follow?
Established in 1960, the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference brings together more than 150 undergraduate students from the United States and over a dozen foreign countries every year for three days of critical discussions, lectures, informal exchanges, and social events.