Just recently, Brazil elected its new President and I read an American news website running a story headlined – “Brazil elects Trump-like candidate”. For someone like me who knows a few Brazilians this news was not a surprise. The chances of Bolsonaro getting elected were real and many Brazilians I knew saw it coming. I don’t know much about Brazil – but from what I’ve heard he and Donald Trump do have a few things in common. Both of them don’t like to be spoken at by a woman, both have this habit opening their mouth before thinking twice and most importantly both are shrewd when it comes to using popular narratives to guide themselves into power. However, what struck me the most was the headline that news website ran – and how most Americans have this innate tendency to see things through an America-only lens. For instance, why is that Bolsonaro is ‘Brazil’s Trump’ and not the other way around? Perhaps, this American-centrism has something to do with the fact that ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US has been the only dominant superpower – dominating the world order and dictating on its own terms. But this is slowly changing now as the events of the past few years have reflected, and this change has repercussions that permeate far beyond America’s own territorial bounds. In the field of political economy, there is a there is half-baked theory called ‘Hegemonic Stability Theory’. It’s still called a theory, but some academics have treated this as almost a truism in the past few decades. According to Hegemonic Stability Theory, the international political and economic system is most stable and congenial to progress when there is only one dominant country that wields asymmetrical level of power compared to all the rest. This contestation is rather amusing, given in the past few decades when US was the only dominant power, the world has been far from stable. Having said that, there is some value to the Hegemonic Stability Theory. Why is that Bolsonaro is ‘Brazil’s Trump’ and not the other way around? Perhaps, this American-centrism has something to do with the fact that ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US has been the only dominant superpower – dominating the world order and dictating on its own terms. But this is slowly changing now as the events of the past few years have reflected, and this change has repercussions that permeate far beyond America’s own territorial bounds One of the most conspicuous aspects of Donald Trump’s tenure has been his administration’s lack of enthusiasm for international and transnational organizations that America has traditionally led. The administration wants no part of the Paris agreement on climate change, keeps bashing NATO, moans about how America taxpayer money is spent on international development and so forth. The examples are countless, and the trend is clear. This gives rise to the question about the causes of this inward shift by America. Why this sudden apathy towards the international order? Honestly speaking, this shift is not that sudden after all. For those who study international political economy and other related fields, the shift was in the making for a long time. The growing threat of China and the proliferation of multinational corporation to cheaper and more technically skilled economies means that the US doesn’t enjoy the same level of dominance that it once did. Also, what seems is that the Chinese model of exerting control over other countries through market mechanisms is by the looks of it superior to the model that the US implements – one that combines economic dominance with active military ventures in the developing world. It is out of this very insecurity that I feel this new attitude of an inward-looking America comes from. For now, behind the clad of political rhetoric and news media – the once all-powerful American empire is on the wane. What it means for the rest of the world is not clear. Perhaps, in its decline the American empire will spit out its last bits of fire – something that only carries dangerous implications for the stability of the international order and the rest of the world. The writer is Graduate Student at Cornell University. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, November 3rd 2018.