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Rohinton P. Medhora, president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont., describes the "leader of the free world" moniker as "neither fair nor appropriate" – but that, he says, has been the case since well before Trump took office.

"It's been some time since the U.S. was, in its foreign policy, a champion of liberty and democratic values the way the mythology holds," he said via telephone.

Medhora argues that the formation of the European Union and the rise of China knocked the U.S. down from its peak dominance of global affairs long before Trump's election.

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