(Current History) The Trump administration sought to erode confidence in the international system, which it regarded as an affront to national sovereignty. The COVID-19 pandemic, by raising collective awareness of the need for global cooperation, may help to restore that confidence and encourage renewed commitment to multilateralism. Public opinion polls show that people around the world have greater confidence in global institutions like the World Health Organization than in national leaders like Donald Trump or Xi Jinping. The United States will continue to be an indispensable partner after Trump, but the international order will rest on a stronger footing if Washington is no longer expected to be the prime mover and contributes instead as one among equals.
Both as a candidate and as an elected leader, US President Donald Trump repeatedly asserted that his main foreign policy goals were to shrink the United States’ role abroad and to put “America first.” These goals should be understood as part of a much broader aim to dismantle the liberal international order that the United States has helped build and maintain since World War II. […]
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