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President Donald Trump arrives at a White House press briefing President Donald Trump arrives to speak about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, May 11, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Will There Be Any Superpower in the Post-COVID Era?

Friday, May 15, 2020

What happens when a superpower is not so super anymore? If you accept the premise that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic impact, most Americans on both the left and the right will come to view U.S. global leadership as “a luxury rather than a necessity,” as Steven Metz put it last week, then what would the post-Pax Americana world order look like?

Most observers think America will step back after COVID-19, and that sounds about right—although it is far from clear whether that would be a few years on the bench, until the U.S. is back on its game, or a permanent reordering. Will China emerge victorious as the world’s autocratic patron while Russia plays global bad cop? Will extremist groups like the Islamic State step into the breach and continue their quest to conquer poorly governed territories? ...

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