The “post-Brexit” movement that’s been gathering momentum in the UK and the US in recent weeks has its roots in the post-war era of American political movements.
This “post–9/11 era of politics” was marked by a sharp shift in the balance of power between the US and its allies.
The post-9/13 era, however, was marked in a more subtle way.
After the second World War, America’s alliances with allies like Britain, France and Italy began to erode.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US shifted its strategic focus from the Middle East to Europe.
In doing so, it abandoned a key principle that had been central to US foreign policy since World War II.
This was the principle of collective security.
In the late 1940s, American presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan declared that the United States could never allow the Soviet empire to expand into Europe.
At the time, the Cold War was raging, and the Soviet bloc was threatening to overrun the Western democracies.
America’s allies in Europe were also worried that Soviet expansion would create a domino effect that would destabilise the entire continent.
The United States needed allies to counter this threat, and so it turned to its allies in the region to help counter Soviet expansion.
The result of this strategy was the emergence of a post-colonial “postcolonial” international order in the late 1950s.
This order, however weak, was the result of a sustained commitment by the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy to the principle that a single global superpower was the guarantor of the security of the entire world.
As Britain and France withdrew from the EU, this global order collapsed.
The US, however was able to maintain its pre-eminence in the world for decades by relying on its traditional allies in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
As this world order disintegrated, the American political and military elites began to question whether they could maintain their position as the sole global superpower.
The answer, of course, was no.
This failure to maintain hegemony was reflected in the American response to the crisis.
President Trump, in his inaugural address, declared that he was “a leader for all of us”.
While this statement was aimed at addressing the needs of the American people, it also expressed the belief that America was not the sole superpower.
Instead, the world was at war.
In his speech, Trump made clear that he would continue to be “a champion of peace, freedom and prosperity for all”.
He then made clear his determination to be the “strongest and most decisive president to be elected in our lifetimes”.
The Trump era is a period of unprecedented change in American foreign policy.
This change was driven in large part by the post–9-11 era.
In that era, America made its position clear.
The Bush administration’s strategy was to shift the world away from the threat of Soviet expansion and towards the threat posed by the rise of China.
This strategy was not a “postmodern” strategy.
It was a Cold War-style strategy of containment and containment without a war to justify it.
This Cold War approach was not popular with the American public, but it worked.
The American public was fed up with the endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
In order to keep America from losing its global status, the Bush administration had to continue to build alliances with its traditional adversaries in the Middle Eastern and Asian states.
It used its global authority to exert economic pressure on its enemies in Asia and Africa.
In this context, America became the world’s preeminent power.
But this strategy, however effective, was unsustainable.
It led to the emergence, in the wake of the collapse in the Soviet union, of a more post-Soviet world order, which in turn led to a breakdown in US hegemony.
This post-Cold War era of US foreign strategy was marked not only by a shift in US foreign and military policies, but also by the failure of the US to remain the world leader.
While the US was able, in part, to maintain a global hegemony, it failed to maintain the same leadership status that had defined the post‐9-12 period.
The failure of US leadership in the global arena is well known.
But it is equally apparent that, despite the rise and fall of US power, the post‑9-10 era of global leadership was marked.
For this reason, it is time to recognise that post-World War II international politics has been a moment of deep crisis for the American ruling class.
We need to stop pretending that post–World War Two politics was just a continuation of post–Cold War politics.
We have to recognise the importance of the globalisation of the postwar era.
The rise of the internet has opened up an unprecedented opportunity for US global power to flourish.
The economic and political hegemony that the post war era gave the US has been undermined.
The growth of the