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The West’s Final Countdown?

With the US presidential election approaching, no one can say they didn't foresee the possibility of Donald Trump winning a second term – an event that would pose an existential threat to the very idea of "the West." So why are European leaders spending their time squabbling over agriculture subsidies?

BERLIN – The year is still young, but its historical significance is already clear. At least as far as the West is concerned, foreseeable events in the coming months will have an overwhelming and decisive impact on the future. The moment of truth will come on November 3, 2020, when voters in the United States elect the country’s next president.

To be sure, US presidential elections have always been globally important, because they determine who will lead the world’s most powerful country for the next four years. But the stakes are much higher this time. The re-election of President Donald Trump could spell the end of the liberal world order and the system of alliances that America has fostered since the 1940s.

Departing from America’s tradition of global leadership, Trump favors a narrow-minded nationalism, and has shown little restraint in undermining US democracy itself, not least by challenging the separation of powers and other core institutions. Should Trump win in November, he will have a mandate to wreak havoc for another four years. The result will fit the description he offered in his first inaugural address: American carnage.

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