What impact has President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy had on US global influence? Is Donald Trump America’s number 1 emergency?

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America’s decline and the new world order

The United States’ regional hegemony in world is under threat like never before. For the first time in decades, both allies and rivals are openly questioning America’s staying power in this lately dynamic world.

The acute deluge of doubt over American leadership in Asia has been exacerbated by the country’s both absolute and relative decline in key dimensions of power. Both militarily and economically, China is rapidly chipping away at America’s long-held edge over its rivals.

Meanwhile, the toxic partisanship in Washington D.C., and the dramatic collapse in public confidence in American state institutions, hardly inspires confidence in the wherewithal of American presidents.

US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy

In many ways, President Donald Trump, who is confronting multiple scandals, particularly over alleged Russian electoral intervention in his behalf, is increasingly seen as the harbinger of a precipitous collapse in America’s global standing.

Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, who Donald Trump thought was still among us © AP

As one senior official from an allied nation said this year, “is this how superpowers commit suicide?” Under Trump, America is facing its greatest soft power disaster in recent memory, far outstripping the infamous days of George W. Bush in the aftermath of the Iraq War.

According to the latest Pew Research Center survey, global confidence in American global leadership suffered a dramatic setback, falling from average of 64 percent under former President Barack Obama to just around 22 percent today. The situation is particularly alarming among Asia’s most important allies in Asia. 

Richard Javad Heydarian, Assistant Professor in international affairs and political science, De La Salle University

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