The superpower status which America has enjoyed over the last decades, not without reason, as well as the declaration that it’s an exceptional nation that by default has more rights than anyone else, couldn’t help but lead to anything other than a logical, yet not-so-pleasant result: The American — and first and foremost globalist — elite have forgotten how to negotiate with other players.

Now the situation has changed, and the state of affairs demands serious self-reflection of the one-time key “global policeman” and, in essence, a return to the classroom for a conventional university seminar titled “World Diplomacy on Equal Terms.”

It’s probably unpleasant and painful not just for the elite themselves, but also for ordinary Americans, who have been supporting them all the while and to whom everything was explained long ago, to realize both who’s in charge and why they have the right to violate all the conceivable rules of the game in the international arena.

But it’s the only valid course for the future formation of relations with our country, which, even if no longer a superpower in the world, is nevertheless a great power with which one may and must reckon. Otherwise, with each passing year, the U.S. will sustain ever greater financial and political losses, as well as losses to its image.

In fairness, it should be noted that Donald Trump’s team is well aware of this. At least the public statements that we’re hearing today, from the need for friendship with Russia to an America that’s “not so innocent” in response to journalists’ accusations against Russia’s leadership, allow one to draw just such a conclusion.

I’ll say, at first, that there’s nothing surprising about the fact that the White House, and the forces whose interests it represented before the new president came to power, forgot how to converse on equal terms.

It’s a historically objective consequence of Russia’s weakness in the first decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union — we began really and truly to lift our head even later — when the structure of the bipolar world suddenly collapsed and nothing in principle could emerge to replace it so quickly.

And it’s a consequence of compelling Europe’s political elite to assist unquestioningly in all matters that Washington considered important. Here, you have the longstanding practice of using so-called soft power and pushing the “financial drug” of many organizations — from those living off international “non-governmental” non-profit grants to sports associations.

Of course, we mustn’t forget the total surveillance of heads of state, politicians and business leaders carried out by the National Security Agency. (Has it stopped, and if so, only along these lines?)

You see, who on earth is there for us to converse with on equal terms? The leader of some European country? So what do we have on him in his file (thanks, NSA)? Aww, there’s nothing concrete on him? No matter. We’ll ask those we’ve had a folder on for a long time to put pressure on him.

By the way, did you ever stop to think about why the European countries that were friends with Russia suddenly turned their backs on us and began to trip us up at every step? The situation in Ukraine? Why, they wouldn’t give a damn about the interests of Ukraine or its leadership, much less one that came to power at the end of a bayonet, if relations with Russia were at stake.

Then why? Because the White House’s arguments turned out to be very strong. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if banal kompromat and blackmail were involved.*

As you can imagine, living under such an arrangement, it would be extremely difficult not to forget how to engage in dialogue on equal terms and not proceed according to a format described as: “Washington said it’s necessary, and the European Union responded, ‘Yes, sir.’”

At some point, however, the situation began to change dramatically; yet the American elite, in the absence of anyone with comparable financial, organizational or propagandistic resources, either slept through it or simply ignored it, relying on their power.

Suddenly it turned out that Russia had risen from the ruins of the 1990s and, unwilling to close its eyes to the infringement of its own interests, began to organize with interested countries a parallel intergovernmental formation (BRICS, EAEU, and others) that could not be controlled from the White House.**

Suddenly it turned out that the propaganda machine — just like, as a matter of fact, soft power — which until recently had been working properly, stopped having its former effect.

Suddenly it turned out that the heavy-handed use of force and the support time and again of so-called moderate opposition and democratic opposition have led to results far from those that were expected.

Where are the thriving democracies, which were declared to be the goal not long ago, today? In Iraq, in Syria, in Libya? Not so much. It’s become obvious that replacing full-fledged international dialogue with a diktat of liberty and military operations is absolutely ineffective in a changing world.

Of course, how could we avoid economics? And here, based on the forecasts, the U.S. is losing and will continue to lose ground. Once again, it’s absolutely logical.

As if it weren’t enough that China is close behind, now other countries are starting to catch up. According to “The World in 2050” report presented by analysts from the consulting agency PricewaterhouseCoopers, economic dominance will shift from the “Big Seven” (Group of 7, comprising representatives of the major industrial nations, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States) to the “seven emerging countries” (E7).

Thus, India will overtake the U.S. in terms of gross domestic product by 2040, while in 2050, the U.S. will end up in third place, with China remaining the world’s largest economy. Japan will drop from fourth place to eighth place, and Germany from fifth place to ninth. Brazil and Indonesia will take their places. Russia will be in sixth place, yet at the same time it will be the top economy in Europe due to Germany losing its position.

Now how, against this background, can the U.S. remain the most exceptional nation and stay a superpower? It can’t.

The world is changing, and that means the pattern of behavior of the still-strongest player in the international arena should change too.

No, of course, in theory the U.S. might even go so far as to provoke yet another global military stir with the aim of maintaining dominance.

Only, in the 21st century, it can’t end well for anyone. And in this sense, one would like to believe in the wisdom of America’s new leadership, which, I think, understands full well that peace is a whole lot better than any war.

*Editor’s note: In Russian politics, “kompromat” refers to compromising materials about a politician or other public figure used to create negative publicity for blackmail, or to ensure loyalty.

**Editor’s note: BRICS is an acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. EAEU stands for the Eurasian Economic Union, an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia.