Around the globe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for
decades represented the gold standard for air safety — a
regulator whose decisions, particularly on American-made aircraft,
boosted the confidence of plane travelers in New York, Miami and
Los Angeles, as well as London, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing.
Yet since Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff
— the second 737 Max to go down in less than five months —
foreign observers have watched Washington’s handling of the
crisis with mounting alarm. Critics at home and abroad are
blaming, at best, erratic decision-making and, at worst, domestic
commercial interests, for what many of them decry as a flawed
U.S. reaction. […]
The outcome, critics say, has undermined American credibility as
the pacesetter for global aircraft standards, while potentially
ushering in an era in which international regulators —
particularly those in China and Europe — assert growing clout.
The global response now stands in contrast to 2013, when foreign
aviation authorities largely followed the U.S. lead in dealing
with a rash of battery problems that led to the temporary
grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
For all his bluster to the contrary, Trump is ceding global leadership to China and the EU.