This has been necessary, and, despite Trump’s limited discernible results, Washington is finally talking seriously about taking on Beijing.
Additionally, Trump’s neglect toward the EU gave Brussels the impetus necessary for major reform. After the multiple crises of the 2010’s, the EU is finally utilising its common economic power through common borrowing.
Some say a “Hamiltonian moment”, others are sceptical, but all agree it is step forward for Brussels to borrow on its members behalf on capital markets.
Trump showed the US would not be willing to support the EU financially, forcing Europe toward fiscal integration. Europe is now taking common defence more seriously, with talks of an EU Army and NATO integration more serious than previously. Trump’s negligence may help Brussel’s emboldening.
Trump promised and failed to withdraw from Afghanistan but made some progress with regards to a peace deal with the Taliban. Signing this deal on the week of 9/11 was foolish and offensive but these diplomatic efforts must be realised. These efforts predated Trump but his administration has continued them, showing Republicans and Democrats want out. The Abraham accords and other Israeli diplomatic recognitions also help America’s strongest ally in the region.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is mixed: on the one hand Russia was cheating and the treaty needs updating, particularly including China and a global conversation about reducing nuclear proliferation.
On the other, it is unclear how this will be achieved.
However, Trump’s withdrawals and negligence in other places is inexcusable. Trump’s attempts to get a deal with Pyongyang through threatening and then cosying up to were as dangerous as they were fruitless.
Trump’s distain for the American alliance with South Korea and Japan has led to the relationship between the two to worsen alongside their trilateral military agreements.
The withdrawal from the World Health Organisation in the middle of a global pandemic is also somewhat insane, as was withdrawing from the Paris Climate accord.
Both these were bad for the planet’s future, people’s lives, and America’s image abroad.
However, these actions have ensured major polluters such as China have increased their efforts.
Some of Trump’s actions are just disgusting.
The lack of action over the Uighur genocide in China alongside Trump’s general disregard for Human Rights and democracy promotion is horrifying. A realist approach does not excuse allowing genocide.
Some will argue Trump’s abandoning of Human Rights allowed the US to deal closely with North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia; Trump’s close relations with these nation’s respective leaders has produced nothing and no changes in their respective action toward South Korea, Xinjiang or Yemen.
Trump sacrificed American values in pursuit of his own deluded dealmaker-mantra.
Standing with dictators and strongmen rather than democratic allies means the Biden Administration must rebuild nation’s confidence in America, a steep task.
It will be painful but familiar to watch a democratic administration clean up and apologise for their republican predecessor’s mistakes.
With Biden, an optimist would say the 2020s will be more co-operative and multi-lateral due to Trump’s legacy the 2010s crisis’.
In the 2020s, climate change will worsen, necessitating multilateralism between nations and the global north and south, while hopefully COVID-19 has shown working together is better than working alone.
As the detente following the Cuban Missile Crisis shows, sometimes an extreme event and or leader is useful for perspective and rapprochement after-the-fact.