The American decision to abandon leadership on the world stage and become self-seeking doesn’t require any others to follow suit.
This time and these circumstances provide opportunities for the emergence of other leader nations with a moral vision that can capture and reorient the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, intellectual property laws, trade agreements and more. If the USA and President Trump need some “me” time — alone — that’s fine. There is no need for the rest of us to follow them off the field. There is also no need for us to plead that they continue as team captain if they are no longer willing to accept the responsibility
The problem for all of us, the problem revealed again (previously by the British Brexit vote), is that our long-standing central image — liberalism — has been overtaken by newer understandings and is no longer workable as we have mythologized it. It was on the edge of being exhausted before it was captured by conservatives acting on behalf of plutocrats. (One of the reasons that Mr. Trump won the recent Presidential election in the U.S.A. is that the common understanding of liberalism is now alienating rather than empowering ordinary citizens.)
As the U.S.A. admits its exhaustion and cedes leadership on the world stage to others, leadership can only be taken up by the nation(s) that offer(s) a compelling new vision of what it means to be community — within a nation and among nations. (As well, this new vision must be advanced in the face of a contrary offering, from Russia, of ever-expanding dysfunction.)
Single statements and actions may hint at a new vision, but in reality, the vision that unleashes opportunity, creativity, and justice will be the culmination of many statements and actions, the result of many voices offering ideas and metaphors, the result of dialogue in which, when we contend, we are reassured to know that we are contending with each other, not against each other.
What new vision do you imagine? Will this be a re-vitalization of liberalism? Will it be a lineal successor to liberalism? Will it be something quite different?
What do you think?