The American economy went through almost ten years of a wrenching economic stagnation.  At the start of 2018 it looked as though the American economy was finally expanding nicely and broadly. Then President Trump decided to throw a wrench into the global economy by enacting stiff tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. In addition, he decided to chide China and Europe about their “unfair” trade practices and for cheating the US on trade. He insulted Canada’s prime minister and the leaders of the EU and the UK. He badly injured the country’s relationships with its allies. There are discussions among the European allies that they may need to go their separate ways and forget about the US.

The development comes at a time when NATO members including the US are about to meet for their annual summit. Considering President Trump’s behavior among his allies at the recently concluded G7 Summit, it is entirely possible that he will make good on his threat of leaving NATO, a threat he made the first time he met the allies earlier this year. Just what that will do to America’s global relationships and to global peace remains to be seen. Most likely it will not be good.

The President’s efforts to cozy up to Russia’s Putin are widely expected to accelerate and should result in a meeting of the two shortly. Economically the effort will do little for the US since US trade with Russia is modest by any standard. It will, however, mean a further decline in US market indicators, which have been declining for some time now. It’s going to be difficult for the stock market to go to new highs with all that has transpired.   It’s more likely the decline will begin to accelerate in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Regarding “Quo vadis America” it’s the Latin translation for “Where are you going, America”  Quo Vadis is also the title of a book about the end of the Roman empire after Nero. The parallel with the US or the Pax Americana is clear.  Many pundits that I have been following are saying that Donald Trump may be last to be President during an era in which America was the world leader.