Many analyses point to Trump's behavior on the world stage – bullying and racketeering more reminiscent of a mafioso than a statesman – as a personal character flaw. We argue that, while this behavior was shocking in how unvarnished it was, Trump marks the culmination of a decades-long trend that shifted US foreign policy from a regime of “legitimate protection” in the mid-twentieth century to a “protection racket” by the turn of the twenty-first. While the temperaments of successive presidents have mattered, the problems facing the United States and its role in the world are not attributable to personalities but are fundamentally structural, in large part stemming from the contradictions of US attempts to cling to preeminence in the face of a changing global distribution of power. The inability of successive US administrations – Trump and Biden included – to break out of the mindset of US primacy has resulted in a situation of “domination without hegemony” in which the United States plays an increasingly dysfunctional role in the world. This dynamic has plunged the world into a period of systemic chaos analogous to the first half of the twentieth century.
Payne, C.R. and Silver, B.J. (2022), "Domination Without Hegemony and the Limits of US World Power", Young, K.A., Schwartz, M. and Lachmann, R. (Ed.) Trump and the Deeper Crisis (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 159-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920220000039009
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