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Joe Biden's world order

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By Shlomo Ben-Ami

TEL AVIV ― In less than four years, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has achieved what, historically, only devastating wars had done: recast the global order. With his isolationism, wannabe authoritarianism, and sheer capriciousness, Trump gleefully took a sledgehammer to the international institutions and multilateral organizations his predecessors had built from the ashes of World War II and maintained ever since. What now?

Many hope that, when President-elect Joe Biden takes over, liberal international arrangements can be salvaged, and even renewed. That would certainly be desirable. Unfortunately, it is an unrealistic hope. A post-Trump order appears to be more about a return to the inter-bloc competition of 1945 than to post-Cold War liberal euphoria.

For starters, the Biden administration will be consumed by the daunting tasks of healing the domestic wounds that Trump has inflicted and correcting America's critical weaknesses, laid bare by the pandemic. The U.S.' recovery from the most divisive presidency in its history will be neither quick nor painless. Reforming America is a prerequisite to restoring its capacity for global leadership.

Even if Biden's administration had infinite capacity, there would be no turning back the clock. The status quo ante sprang from a kind of post-Cold War euphoria, animated by the belief that Western liberal democracy had secured a definitive victory over the rest, and the world had reached, in Francis Fukuyama's famous formulation, the "end of history."

In the 1990s and 2000s, when the United States was the world's unrivaled economic, military, and diplomatic power, the logic of liberal........

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