I will argue that any pre-2016 confidence, certainty and surety most people felt or appeared to have had, with regards to their own well being and that of the affairs of the wider world, have now declined in 2018 - brought to wrought, by stark political events and actions.
The decline in confidence and certainty as to the best human condition has been fueled by a now larger threat of a nuclear arms race, a United States (US) initiated trade war, Washington's seeming unprecedented retraction from the principles upon which the Republic was founded, a widening isolation, Russian meddling, the continuation of wars in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, the statelessness of Rohingya and Kurdish peoples, Brexit, the rise of the far right in Europe, ripening Asian conflicts and African and Latin American dictatorships.
Above all, I submit that Donald Trump's administration has sparked most of today's uncertainty along with Russian meddling.
Under past governments in the US, democracy resonated from the halls of the US Capitol to transcend the whole world with hopes of justice, equality, opportunity and freedom. The bright beacon of liberty that shone from the US lighted the political thoughts and aspirations of tens of millions of people across the globe. But that said democracy appears flawed today especially expressed in the treatment and policies pertaining to immigrants.
Isolationist rhetoric and actions along with threats to unhinge signed pacts with other nations and partners from the Trump administration, has hastened a rising dawn of an uncertain era. From trade and environmental agreements to military cooperation with others, uncertainty on the part of the US, is the present climate. The confidence and respect the US received under prior presidents has been eroded.
Even if all other things considered were waived, then a still deeper uncertainty arises from a brewing trade war with China that Trump has initiated. No one disputes a US trade deficit with China - a simple supply and demand reality. But US concerns per intellectual property matters are maybe best solved through rational negotiations and not via a trade war, which is a bad thing and not a good thing, as Trump has suggested. Consumers will be hurt and the global economy that has been robust could go into a free fall.
Instead of caving to US demands as Trump hoped, China yesterday fired back with tariffs on US products, including precious pork and wine, in response to Trump's imposed tariffs on Chinese products, thus affirming a rising dawn of an uncertain era with no telling of what tomorrow will bring.