The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the level of dysfunction between the United States and China. Both were unwilling or unable to cooperate on the most pressing challenge to the world today, and this places middle powers such as Japan in an increasingly abstruse position of navigating an international environment in which the main pillars of stability are in disarray at best or imploding at worse.
On the U.S. side, we have seen the Trump administration flounder with the COVID-19 death toll surpassing 140,000, the politicization of the virus’s origin, and an absence of leadership to marshal the collective resources of friends and allies of the U.S. to combat the spread of the virus.
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