Yes, there is much to be said in principle for an international order based on explicit rules; and yes, those rules should favor free trade over protectionism. But if in practice your liberal international order has the consequence that China overtakes you, first economically and then strategically, there is probably something wrong with it.As people are saying on twitter:
The key to the Trump presidency is that it holds out probably the last opportunity the United States has to stop or at least slow China’s ascendancy. And, while it may not be intellectually very satisfying, Trump’s approach to the problem, which is to assert American power in unpredictable and disruptive ways, may in fact be the only viable option left.
Yes, once upon a time, conservative intellectuals valued, well, intellectualism. Now they're reduced to cheering the opposite because "that'll show them."
But the best analysis of how Ferguson has dumbed himself down is a Krugman thread, which you can read here.