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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The United States is no longer driving the conversation on some of the biggest issues facing the world, both short- and long-term. Instead, foreign nations are making the decisions.

Why it matters: America is losing its position as the global arbiter for international norms — from airline safety to online privacy to the response to climate change. It's a trend that predates President Trump, but it's accelerating now — and it makes Americans beholden to the decisions of foreigners.

Driving the news: The Boeing 737 MAX wasn't grounded last week because the U.S. took the lead. It was because the EU, China, and many other countries acted first, rattled by two plane crashes under similar circumstances.

  • The U.S. response "undermined American credibility as the pacesetter for global aircraft standards, while potentially ushering in an era in which international regulators — particularly those in China and Europe — assert growing clout," as the Washington Post put it.

And the U.S. is having trouble persuading other countries to follow its lead — especially on the Trump administration's efforts to block Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications equipment from being used in 5G.

  • Global trust in U.S. leadership is near record lows, according to Gallup; 31% of people worldwide surveyed last year said they approve of U.S. leadership, lower than Germany and China.

So on some of most consequential issues that will shape the world this century, the U.S. is taking a back seat, like privacy, foreign investment, climate and finance.

Our thought bubble, via a sentiment Axios World editor David Lawler says he's hearing more often: When countries take action around the world, their first thought used to be, "What will Washington think?" China's goal is to make them think about Beijing just as quickly, if not before.

The bottom line from Eurasia Group and GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer (punctuation his):

this didn’t start with trump (remember obama’s "assad must go" and "russia must leave ukraine"), but it's sped up dramatically with his america first-style unilateralism, weakening us-led institutions that had already been eroding through neglect. the geopolitical balance in the world is changing fast; american perceptions of those changes, not so much.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

55 mins ago - Health

America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The race to figure out just how dangerous the Omicron variant is will likely be a global effort, but some experts are skeptical that the U.S. will play a dominant role.

Why it matters: The CDC has repeatedly come under fire for inadequate data collection throughout the pandemic — and figuring out how to respond to Omicron requires a lot of data that doesn't currently exist.

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.