Trump reminds prickly allies why they liked US leadership

Countries with historic qualms about US power are going through a chastening education in life without it

Our favourite memories are actually memories of memories. Each time we recall an event or an era, another coat of varnish goes on until the original is romanticised out of all recognition. And so a relationship that was fractious at the time slowly turns into the defining love of our life.

Nothing has gained more from this mental alchemy than the world before 2016. The rules-based order, as it was seldom known back then, is now remembered as an airtight fraternity of like-minded nations, tragically gone to seed. It has become a prelapsarian Eden.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline 'Trump reminds prickly allies why they liked US leadership'. Print Edition | Subscribe