Donald Trump embodies the spirit of our age

When Mr Donald Trump spoke at the United Nations last month, the audience laughed at him. It was an unprecedented insult to an American president. But I have an uneasy suspicion that Mr Trump may have the last laugh. The 45th United States president could yet go down as a leader who changed the course of history and embodied the spirit of an age.

Historic figures do not have to be good people, or even particularly intelligent. Mr Trump is a habitual liar, whose administration has set up detention camps for children. Mr Rex Tillerson, his former secretary of state, is reputed to have called the President a "moron". But none of that need stop Mr Trump from being what philosopher Georg Hegel called a "world-historical figure".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Donald Trump embodies the spirit of our age'. Print Edition | Subscribe