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U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, shakes hands with Emmanuel Macron, France's president in Brussels. Photo: Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg via Getty Images

CFR President Richard Haass tells me that the title of his book a year ago, "A World in Disarray," actually understated the situation. Haass is out this week with a paperback edition that includes a new, nine-page Afterword: "Things have become even worse that I had imagined. Disarray is greater than expected."

One highlight: The Trump administration is a significant cause of increased disarray in the world: "Trump is the first post-WWII president to view the burdens of world leadership as outweighing the benefits. The United States has changed from the principal preserver of order to a principal disrupter."

Other key points Haass added for this edition:

  • How this came about is unprecedented: "History suggests great powers and the international orders they are associated with inevitably fade.""[S]ome powers exhaust themselves through overreach abroad, underinvestment at home, or a mixture.""For some other powers, their privileged position is usurped by the emergence of one or more new stronger powers."[T]he United States has now introduced a third means by which a major power forfeits international advantage. It is abdication, the voluntary relinquishing of power and responsibility."
  • "America First was not well received by American allies."
  • "There is no alternative great power willing and able to step in and assume what has been the U.S. role. China is often suggested, but its leadership is focused mostly on consolidating domestic order and maintaining artificially high rates of economic growth, lest there be popular unrest.""There is no other candidate…The cold truth is that the alternative to a U.S.–led international order is less international order."
  • Go deeper.
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Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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