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America just finished a snarling, bitterly divisive election, and we're all puzzling over how to interpret the results. U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, heads for Paris this weekend to commemorate the armistice of what historian Margaret MacMillan has called "the war that ended peace". I asked some of my historian friends to reflect on the lessons of 1918 for our postelection America. They cited some common themes: the fragility of the world order, then and now; the big, sometimes disastrous outcomes that can begin with small events at the margins; the moral hubris that dooms inflexible leaders to failure; and the humility that allows great leaders to see events through the eyes of adversaries, and thereby avert disaster.Trump in his first two years unfortunately has played the role of divider-in-chief.Trump's uncompromising style, presidential historian Evan Thomas observes, is weirdly similar to that of Woodrow Wilson, an idealistic Democratic president.Thomas notes that Trump isn't alone in regarding his political opponents as bad people.
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