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Why this crisis will boost America

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty

It might be a “tasteless thing to argue”, but America “will be the ultimate ‘winner’ of the Ukrainian crisis”, says Janan Ganesh in the FT. With European Nato members like Germany finally pledging to fulfil their defence spending requirements, Europe could end up “less of a drain” on America. This would free up the US for its turn to Asia – where, thanks to the potential costs being spelled out by the West’s recent sanctions on Russia, China now looks less likely to invade Taiwan.

It’s a reminder of what the “debacle” in Afghanistan obscured: “the underlying strength of America’s place in the world”, in economic might and natural resources – and, most importantly, “the unpopularity of its rivals”. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, we have a glimpse of the alternative to a US-led world: an “autocratic axis” of Beijing and Moscow calling the shots, where strongmen have free reign. Even countries trying to hedge their bets between the West and the autocrats, like Israel and India, “are having to squirm and consider the reputational cost”. It’s far harder to be cynical about the US, as many were during the Iraq War, when a “plausible usurper” now lurks in the wings. And America need only be better than the alternative “to be very attractive indeed”.