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President Donald Trump watches as Cuban violinist Joe Raedle/Getty Images

An American Political Tragedy

From Reaganomics to Obamacare, US policies have often overpromised and underperformed. Donald Trump's presidency is the culmination of this trend – one that can be reversed only with a major realignment of US political parties.

BERLIN – US President Donald Trump’s nearly eight months in office have been characterized by a series of disturbing political developments. But Trump is not entirely to blame. His presidency is just the latest act in a long-running political tragedy.

From a foreign-policy perspective, the problem began in the 1990s, when the United States squandered the post-Cold War peace dividend. With regard to domestic policy, the failures began even earlier: from Reaganomics in the 1980s to Obamacare in the 2010s, major policies have often overpromised and underperformed, while failing to address underlying problems.

Of course, US politicians are rarely short on lofty rhetoric – from Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign to Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can” slogan to Donald Trump’s “America First” refrain. And, beginning with John F. Kennedy, presidents have likened the US to a “city upon a hill” – an example to the rest of the world.

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