Three reading recommendations:
1) American exceptionalism. Joseph S. Nye jr. , father of the soft power idea, is thinking in his contribution “American Exceptionalism in the Age of Trump” how the USA can regain its position internationally and restore trust. The emphasis is on the United States as a global supplier of international public goods from health systems to the environment as the USA tried before to be a global supplier for international security (which Rusian strategist Karaganov now proposed for Russia after the NATO model) and international democracy. However, China also is doing this and that is not exceptional, but just a reaction. The question is if the USA always should be so exceptional, but Nye tries to stick to US exceptionalism as the USA otherwise wouldn´t be a real soft power beyond the declining hard power:
2) Good analysis of the German and European dillemas if the Sino-American conflict escalates, how you should position yourself. The US threat to withdraw US troops from Germany now also falls under it and is gentle foreplay:
3) Good analysis by Carnegie of the power struggle within the Assad family and the impact of the Caesar Act, which provides for sanctions against Syria. According to the author, the Alevites will not give up their loyalty to Assad, but the economic collapse is conceivable, including the flight of capital. I doubt whether an overthrow of Assad would be favorable, because the secular-democratic opposition is marginalized and the civil war could flare up again, and perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamists might take over. It is questionable whether this would help the West and Israel. In addition, Erdogan could then be encouraged to advance further in Syria and expand his neo-Ottoman empire, insofar as he was not initially directed against Greece. However, the already eroded West seems to like Islamists in power in Syria and a pan-Islamic Neo-Ottoman empire in order to get Assad and the Russian military bases out of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.