Walter Russell Mead has written a very pithy column on the state of world affairs and the U.S. role in them.
China, Russia and Germany have decided how to handle President Trump through November. Berlin will ignore him; Moscow and Beijing will take advantage of U.S. distraction.
. . . The problem isn’t only that Russia, China and Germany don’t see much point in trying to reach agreements with the current president. They likely believe that the triple threat of the pandemic, economic crash and civil unrest in the U.S. will promote an American withdrawal from global issues no matter who wins in November.
For the “Little Americans,” the people who believe that U.S. leadership around the world is an unbearable tax on the American people, part of a scam by which Americans are cheated and chiseled, this is very good news, indeed. It is just what they asked for.
For the people who believe that a U.S.-led world order is preferable to a Beijing-led world order, well . . .
Whatever happens in the election, the U.S. administration next year will face a problem even more daunting than the intellectual challenge of crafting a national strategy for an increasingly dangerous time. It will have to convince the world that this time, America really means what its president says.
That is going to be a tough sale to make, irrespective of how the election turns out.
Why should Berlin or Moscow or Beijing take Washington’s commitments seriously? Washington doesn’t.