Superpowers have a lot of room for error. Unlike lesser nations, they can shrug off many of the consequences of failed policies. Their weight and influence can compensate for subpar statecraft. But bad policy eventually takes its toll on everyone. And right now, bad policy is taking its toll on the United States.
As U.S. President Donald Trump nears the fourth year of his presidency, he confronts the damage wrought by his own policies almost everywhere. The Trump administration has maneuvered itself into diplomatic cul-de-sacs with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. It has undermined its own efforts to end the war in Afghanistan. The economic damage from Trump’s trade war with China is mounting, and Beijing shows few signs of giving in. At the same time, the president’s laceration of alliances leaves the United States weaker and more isolated.
For three years, Trump has played fast and
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