Donald Trump just threw away 100 years of American leadership. China couldn’t have asked sweeter deal: they’re in charge now, and probably will be for the next 100 years. The United States, in spite of our massive military power, has become an also-ran when it comes to world opinion, leadership, respect, and economic power.

Here’s the real story from the New York Times: Trump Hands the Chinese a Gift: The Chance for Global Leadership. Among the key points from the article:

“In pulling out of the Paris climate accord, Mr. Trump has created a vacuum of global leadership that presents ripe opportunities to allies and adversaries alike to reorder the world’s power structure.”

“The announcement came only days after he declined to give his NATO allies a forceful reaffirmation of America’s commitment … and a few months after he abandoned a trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that was designed to put the United States at the center of a trade group that would compete with … China’s fast-growing economic might.”

“Even before Mr. Trump’s announcement, President Xi Jinping had figured out how to embrace the rhetoric, if not the substance, of global leadership.”

Unless you’re 100 years old, you don’t remember the time when America was just a backwater former British colony. Big, yes. Lots of people, sure. But before World War One, America just wasn’t important on the world political scene. European leaders simply didn’t ask for our opinions. We were “over there.” The President rode a streetcar to work. Washington was a sleepy town that nobody cared much about.

WWI changed all of that: the United States’ industrial might, strong political leadership, and moral resolve, catapulted the USA to superpower status, much to our and the world’s surprise, and we’ve stayed that way ever since. Our military power and economic might were important, but it was really our democratic and ethical ideals that earned respect, even though we often failed to live up to those ideals.

Now Donald Trump has thrown that 100-year history to the dogs. It’s a damned shame. George W. Bush started the trend with his idiotic war on Iraq, but Barack Obama pulled us back from that brink and gave us respectability again. Now Donald Trump is the proverbial bull in the china shop, wrecking everything in sight. Or maybe more like a petulant child in the china shop. At least the bull is ignorant and has no idea of the destruction he’s causing. Trump is doing this on purpose.

He is already the worst president in American history, but apparently he wants to reinforce this achievement. He’s succeeding.

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