I am often asked how long it will take to repair the damage done by the current administration to the US’s global standing. Certainly, the country cannot undo the experience of being represented by Mr Trump. Just as a herd of elephants leaves behind traces of its passage, so will the Trump team.
Mr Biden, if elected, will inherit a country diminished by his predecessor’s search for “greatness” in all the wrong places. The new president’s task will be daunting: to reassure allies; reassert leadership on climate change and world health; forge effective coalitions to check the ambitions of China, Russia and Iran; and re-establish the US’s identity as a champion of democracy.
Are Mr Biden and his team up to the job? With help from those who still wish the US well, the answer is surely yes. Will they have the chance? That depends on how US citizens have come to view the purpose and character of their nation. Does their vision bear any resemblance to the confident, outward-looking country that welcomed my family to its shores in 1948? Or has time so narrowed the popular perspective and muddied our capacity to discern truth from lies that the US I fell in love with has faded into history? For better or worse, we will soon know the answer.