- John W. YoungJohn W. YoungProfessor of International History, The University of Nottingham, UK
- and John KentJohn KentEmeritus Professor, London School of Economics & Political Science
This chapter examines significant challenges to the status quo in the West. President Obama’s domestic success was the extension of health care, while the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis resulted in heavy electoral losses for the Democrats in 2010. Nevertheless, he secured a second term in 2012 after some foreign policy successes, including arms reduction with Russia and the death of Osama bin Laden. Ultimately, Obama’s preference for diplomacy over force allowed Russia and Iran to fill the vacuum in Syria. Donald Trump became the oldest US president following the 2016 election. Controversially, he challenged conventional wisdom on climate change, free trade, and NATO, while sympathising with Brexit and Vladimir Putin. The aftermath of the 2008 crash, the failure of neo-liberalism, UK austerity, and Eurozone instability are examined in the second section. The chapter concludes with the reasons for the Brexit referendum, the result, and its consequences.