American Leadership Imperiled—for the Moment

The mob that stormed the US Capitol yesterday shattered more than windows.
It shattered America’s sense of self, its avowed civility, and its democratic process. A country that claims global leadership was humbled by a mob incited by the US president and intent on glorifying itself—a selfie insurrection.
What does it mean for global health? How can a country that cannot effect a peaceful transfer of presidential power, a country that has persistently instituted systemic racism, that has allowed COVID-19 to claim more lives than any other (361,297 so far), that has cruelly separated children from their parents at its borders, that has cut ties with the WHO—how can this country presume to lead global health?
The answer is it can’t. At least for the next 13 days. The current administration’s America first posture weakened essential ties with other nations and diluted American leadership in global health and many other areas.
But America has always offered a new beginning, a fresh start. The incoming administration promises a new approach, a reengagement with the world community, less swagger and more collaboration.
Yesterday’s insurrection was a warning to Americans about the dangers of extremism. It was also the darkest moment before the dawn.—Brian W. Simpson, editor-in-chief

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