A Tortoise File

Goodbye America

First published
Monday 8 June 2020

Last updated
Saturday 14 November 2020

Why this story?

More than 6 million people around the world have been infected and 370,000 have died from Covid-19, a health emergency and an economic crisis of global proportions. But where were the leaders?

Since World War Two, America has had the resources, the sense of mission and a claim to moral authority to lead. But the pandemic has highlighted something that has been telegraphed since Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017; the long era of American leadership has passed.

The ‘America First’ isolationist cry of his first moments as president was followed by a concerted attempt to undermine global agreements and institutions, from Nato to G7, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation.

This week, the G7 summit was supposed to have been held at Camp David. It is postponed. The world needs direction and collaboration, but there is a vacuum. The UN and EU are stumbling and key countries – Russia, China and the US – reject cooperation except on their own terms.

Today, we look at the way a ‘Trump First’ policy, with eyes only for securing a second term in November’s presidential election, led the US to undermine global efforts to deal with Covid-19 and exposed the way America has abdicated from global leadership. David Taylor, editor

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