If we reach the following highly unpleasant conclusion, what are the implications?
The United States has taken a political turn which, at least for the next four years, will guarantee that it does not play the role of a great power mindful of and willing to protect its own true interests, to support its allies, and to combat its real foes. On the contrary, through inaction or active effort the leadership of America will take counterproductive actions that achieve the opposite result.
And there are certain factors — radical ideological hegemony, a weak economy and growing debt, structural social changes, the weakness and disorganization of the opposition — that may make this situation regarding America’s international behavior and policies a long-term, partly irreversible condition. In other words, we don’t know if America is finished as the world’s leading power, but we do know that it will not have leadership and certainly not leadership in a good direction for a while and perhaps will never fully recover.