The world is watching. Europeans, as others around the globe, have reacted in horror at scenes of a pro-Trump mob storming Washington D.C., guns being drawn in the House Chamber, and lawmakers being ordered to evacuate through underground tunnels or shelter-in-place. Four people have died during the riot. Facebook and Twitter have, in an unprecedented move, temporarily locked Donald Trump out of his accounts for inciting violence.
The US President is supposed to be the “Leader of the Free World”. If so, perhaps it’s time the free world stopped looking to the US for leadership? How else can Europe interpret the fact that the USA cannot successfully organise a peaceful democratic hand-over but as a sign of American decline? Coming amidst such a shambolic response to the coronavirus pandemic, the reputation of the United States has undoubtedly suffered among its partners.
Despite it all, the US and EU remain allies. Despite the chaos unfolding across the Atlantic, President Ursula von der Leyen has affirmed on Twitter she believes in the “strength of US institutions and democracy”. It’s true that America and Europe share core values, including a belief in democracy. Yet fundamental to democracy is the notion that the loser accepts defeat and concedes peacefully. By this measure, Donald Trump has failed.
Is America in decline? Can the US live up to the image of democracy and freedom it wants to project to the rest of the world if it can’t even guarantee a peaceful transition of power on its own soil? Has American influence peaked under Donald Trump? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!