The approaching milestone may pack a more visceral punch than dry fractions tend to deliver. This Sunday, on the chilling assumption that he gets re-elected in 2020, Donald Trump will be exactly one sixth of the way through his presidency.
Taking in the state of the Middle East and wider geopolitical relations after 16 of his potential 96 months, the dilemma for leaders of other major global powers seems plain. Do they wait him out, hoping he serves only the one term (or that Robert Mueller and/or all the Filets-O-Fish finish him off sooner); but praying that, if he does make it through two, enough remnants of the established world order will survive him to allow it to be rebuilt? Or, acknowledging the extreme danger presented by the void where (for better or worse) the Pax Americana existed for over 70 years, do they try to fill it?
Whether it’s dead or frozen in cryogenic stasis, there is now no American leadership of the free world for the first time since Pearl Harbour. The four-step abrogation process began with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord, speeded up with his floating of pernicious trade tariffs and gathered more pace with his reneging on the Iranian nuclear deal. It concluded this week with his relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.