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A world without the White House

August 20, 2018 at 4:18 pm

I said in an earlier article that Trump has put the world through a tough training course in preparation for a post-American domination world after the US diplomatic withdrawal in Obama’s two terms and Trump’s unpredictable behaviour towards his allies and enemies. We have begun to see international political features that are not necessarily headed or dominated by Washington, and although the US remains the largest military force with the greatest influence in the international community, its position and impact today is quite different from that of the 1990s, when no crisis in the world could be solved except through the White House’s gates.

In a telephone conversation between Macron and Erdogan, the French president expressed France’s continued support for Turkey and its interest in Ankara’s stability. Of course, this is only an exploitation of the crisis between Ankara and Washington, which Trump instigated for no apparent reason, as France, which aspires to regain its global position, does not mind expressing a position contrary to that of Washington in this case and others to strengthen its image as a solid ally.

On the other hand, coordination between Turkey and Russia in various files has increased, and Qatar, which has a close relationship with Washington, is giving direct support to the Turkish economy, emphasising the strategic relationship between the two parties. In light of all this, the White House seems indifferent, or at least partially silent, because Washington is no longer as diplomatically fit as it was in the past after the State Department sustained consecutive blows. However, most important is the Trump administration’s ignorance of what its actions mean on the ground in terms of US international presence.

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Washington’s traditional allies in Europe and Asia are today among those who are now designing alternative projects to an alliance with Washington and among those trying to weather the storm as they wait for a more rational administration. However, what lurks in the depths is more dangerous than what is on the surface, as there has been an on-going American decline in the international arena for about a decade, and despite the fact that the demise of the American domination has its benefits, it requires a deep look into what the re-formation of the international order will result in. This includes new forces, shifting alliances, and consecutive crises that will have a similar effect as the shift of tectonic plates has on the Earth’s crust. The world will have to experience a diplomatic and political earthquake and limited and large military conflicts as part of the path towards American regression.

Of course, this will not happen in a few days, but it is clear that the American regression has reached a stage where it cannot be stopped. Even if a future administration succeeds in delaying the American decline, it will not be able to reverse the current tide. Therefore, we have found increased attempts to spread in areas of American influence, as China, Russia, France and other powers are making every effort to present themselves as strategic alternatives to the various regional powers and countries involved in crises. The Trump administration’s irresponsible actions provide ample fuel for these efforts. Today, countries that relied heavily on Washington’s support, such as South Korea, have started to work towards providing alternatives either by forming new alliances or taking initiative and dealing with the various crises.

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Washington’s allies today are suffering across the world. This suffering will produce a new realm when the world decides it is able to ignore the White House when shaping an international position. Washington’s approval still remains essential to dealing with many crises internationally, but the world is closer than ever to ignoring Washington under an administration that does not know how to preserve its strategic gains. The president of the White House is traditionally referred to as the “Leader of the Free World”, but will the world be freed of its leader?

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 20 August 2018

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.