Giant panda Mei Lun yawns at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding Wang Qin/Chengdu Economic Daily/VCG via Getty Image

Trump’s Gift to China

In just the past few months, Donald Trump has taken a wrecking ball to the US-led post-war order and many of America's most important alliances. But it is worth remembering that Trump is merely a symptom of a much larger historical realignment that will continue long after he is gone.

BERLIN – It is now clear that the twenty-first century is ushering in a new world order. As uncertainty and instability associated with that process spread around the globe, the West has responded with either timidity or nostalgia for older forms of nationalism that failed in the past and certainly will not work now.

Even to the most inveterate optimist, the G7 summit in Quebec earlier this month was proof that the geopolitical West is breaking up and losing its global significance, and that the great destroyer of that American-created and American-led order is none other than the US president. To be sure, Donald Trump is more a symptom than a cause of the West’s disintegration. But he is accelerating the process dramatically.

The roots of Western malaise can be traced back to the end of the Cold War, when a bipolar world order gave way to economic globalization, allowing for the emergence of new powers such as China. In the ensuing decades, America has apparently come to regard its longstanding alliances as more of a burden than an asset.