The enfeebling of America

Drastically reforming — nay, upending — American policy in even one area would be a major undertaking, requiring a considerable act of statesmanship. Upending them all at the same time without doing significant damage to the country would probably be impossible for anyone — let alone for someone as intellectually and temperamentally ill-suited to the presidency as Donald Trump.

To an observer watching from the outside, the United States during the Trump administration looks very much like an immensely wealthy and powerful country acting to take itself down a few pegs. As pundits have begun to realize, much of what the president is doing won’t be reversible when he’s gone. Point the nose of a passenger jet toward the ground at a sharp enough angle and at a certain point righting the plane becomes impossible — and the crash inevitable.

By elevating Donald Trump to the White House, the United States has opted in favor of its own decline. Historians of the future will need to answer the complicated question of how and why it happened. But that it happened won’t be a matter of much dispute.