The United States loves to say “we’re number 1!” and have otherwise ignorant fans in sports chant “USA USA USA!” America is always the best, always on top. We are god’s chosen people, an exceptional race (even though we’re not a race or ethnicity or anything of the sort, but what does that matter, we make the rules, right?) Who cares what the word thinks, we can bomb them into oblivion anyhow, right? Wrong.
America’s credibility depends highly on soft power, especially in a globalized world. This was understood particularly well in the Civil Rights era, when Administrations of both parties were concerned about the image of the nation abroad and motivated to desegregate probably more out of geopolitical considerations than any deep abiding feelings about equality (We can continue this discussion another time, but that’s always been part of my premise around Civil Rights). An irony being the global international order, which the US now so freely violates was actually an American construct, the product of a generation of intellectual titans in this country.
Soft power is the ability of a nation to influence others through means non-military or really economic either. America’s quality of life really depends on our ability to continue being a global leader advocating moral good – but right now the US looks more a muddled, decentralized, partly-anarchic rogue nation than any global moral leader. For a while now, the US has been looked down upon as an excessively misogynistic and religious society. While the later might be unfair (might being the operative term here), the former is absolutely correct. No western society is quite as sexist as the United States.
The US’ soft power is gone, at least in the developed world, while our economic and military influence begins to wane as well. The slippery slope which began with the stolen election of 2000 confirmed by the SCOTUS, and continued through the Iraq War, Katrina debacle, (mass shooting 1, 2, 3, 4), financial crash of 2008, (mass shooting 5,6,7,8),Trump (mass shooting 9,10,11, 12) and January 6, (mass shooting 12,14,15,16) finally reached a conclusion yesterday with the decision of the SCOTUS to overturn Roe v Wade.
How incredibly against the tide of global trends was the decision? Not only have many religiously-oriented countries like Colombia and the Republic of Ireland recently legalized abortion, but western Europe is basically in unanimity around the issue – on left and right.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s Conservative PM, who has been often compared to Donald Trump (a laughable comparison, but whatever) said this yesterday:
Meanwhile, Johnson’s biggest rival among European leaders, Emmanuel Macron, a centrist politician who was just reelected but also lost his parliamentary majority as the far left surged, said this:
These are historically the US’ two biggest allies, led by two very different men who are at odds with one another regularly. Yet, they agree on something so many in the US think has no consequences beyond our borders.
Make no mistake about it. Sexism and excessive restriction of reproductive freedom completely undermines the US globally. And it further divides the US from the rest of the western alliance. Soon, without a serious course correction, America will be alone, if the nation even keeps whole as it is. Well maybe not alone, since so many tin pot dictators around the world can be sought and bought, but in terms of the west, the US is close to being wound up.