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America’s Political Crisis and the Way Forward

The world’s environmental, social, and security problems are now so complex and interconnected that only strong cooperation within and across regions will suffice to manage them. To achieve it, US President-elect Joe Biden’s success in healing a deeply divided America will be essential.

NEW YORK – Owing to America’s disproportionate military, financial, and technological power, the breakdown of rational politics in the United States is the most dangerous fact for the world today. And while President Donald Trump’s recent election defeat is a necessary step toward restoring sanity to American politics, it is only the first of many that will be required to stop the downward slide of the US and convince the rest of the world that the country no longer poses a threat to itself or others.

There are two urgent challenges facing America and the world in the wake of the US election. First, President-elect Joe Biden must take on the long uphill struggle to restore some measure of domestic political stability. Second, other regions of the world should forge their own paths of global cooperation, rather than waiting in vain for the US to return to global leadership.

America’s Rationality Crisis

The profound crisis of US politics has been starkly demonstrated in two ways this year. First, the federal government failed utterly to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic – or even to try. As 2020 draws to a close, the daily rate of new cases is approaching 200,000, far exceeding the previous peaks in April and July. During the week of November 15-21, the US had nearly 1.2 million newly confirmed cases, while China, America’s putative Great Power rival, had just 86 newly confirmed cases, despite having more than four times the US population.

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