Strongmen rush to remake the world order as Trump faces potential election defeat

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Protesters against the new national security law gesture with five fingers, signifying the “Five demands – not one less” on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July. 1, 2020. Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of its handover to China in 1997, and just one day after China enacted a national security law that cracks down on protests in the territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

This past week, on US President Donald Trump’s watch Russia and China have effectively re-aligned the coming world order. They didn’t do it together, but both took advantage of uncertainty and unpredictability that Trump has helped create.

Riot police are seen in front of a burning road block during a protest against the new national security law on July 1, 2020, in Hong Kong.

It’s far from clear that the next US President will be able to roll back the consequences of this week, which leave both Presidents Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Xi Jinping in Beijing more decisively in control of their own countries and more able to act assertively.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin extends a Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on June 24, 2020.

In other words, Trump has made an indelible mark on the world — and it may not be for the good.

is no coincidence that Putin and Xi have cemented their grip on cherished goals, as the clock runs down on Trump’s first, and possibly only, term in office.

This past week, in a referendum on constitutional revisions so predictable that copies were on sale before the vote, Putin has effectively been made President for life, as Xi has moved equally ruthlessly, taking control of Hong Kong through a new national security law, while telling US allies Canada, Australia and the UK to keep out of China’s internal affairs.

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