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Welcome to the Post-American World

With Donald Trump in the White House, the age of American global leadership is over. On the matter of America’s role in the world, Trump has practiced what he preached during his election campaign – and, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, he is practicing it with a vengeance.

STOCKHOLM – The first global crisis of the post-American era is here. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will shape the world for years to come.

For the better part of a century, the United States has always come forward during times of crisis to exercise some sort of leadership. Sometimes, this contribution has been mostly welcomed; other times, it has not been. And the results have not always turned out as planned. But the basic American instinct to lead was there. For better or worse, the rest of the world had grown accustomed to it.

With Donald Trump in the White House, the age of American leadership is over. Already during Barack Obama’s presidency, the US was scaling back its global commitments, in recognition of the fact that it did not have the resources to tackle every problem. But even if the US was sometimes “leading from behind,” it was still leading.

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