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The late British historian Eric Hobsbawm famously called the period between Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in 1914 and the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 the "short 20th century". For Hobsbawm, the end of the Cold War marked a new and distinct era in world affairs.Donald Trump's inauguration as president of the United States represents a definitive break from the past; the long 20th century has now come to a close.Since Trump's election victory, one popular prediction is that the world will revert to 19th-century spheres of influence, with major players such as the U.S., Russia, China, and, yes, Germany, each dominating their respective domains within an increasingly balkanized international system.These trends are precursors to a very different international model that has yet to emerge – one that will be distinct from both the 19th century's "balance of power" and the 20th century's "community of states".Yet, just when this moral order was in a position to be fully realized around the world, it lost its center and began to drift. Free markets and material prosperity, once regarded as means to larger ends, had become ends in themselves. Trump's inauguration marks a new epoch in world history – a new geopolitical "century".
American power without wisdom, a risky road
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