The 2016 election was hardly the first time that the U.S. political system alarmed many of the United States’ partners broad. After the election of 1832, the British complained that the United States was governed by “demagogues and non-entities,” and versions of that grievance have been repeated regularly by allied leaders since. Yet this time is different. During the presidency of Donald Trump, the United States’ friends have, for the first time, begun to hedge their bets in clear and consequential ways. A second term for Trump would accelerate such moves, with the result of transforming the international order for good.
Even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, support for the United States had plummeted to historic lows. Over the past six months, Washington has shown both indifference to the magnitude of suffering among its own citizens and sharp-elbowed selfishness in its approach to global cooperation on vaccines, medical supplies, and more—decimating support for both U.S. leadership of a mutually beneficial international order and global aspiration to the American way of life. [Read more]