In response to a blog piece I had posted recently regarding Hillary Clinton and the challenges she faces as Secretary of State, a friend of mine, and fellow blogger, posted a comment reminding me of the loss of stature of the Unites States on the world stage. He accurately pointed out that America’s economic standing was not what it was eight years ago and that this will affect its global diplomatic efforts. And I believe that this is indeed true.
For years now, the world has witnessed emergent nations become economic and technological powers. The European Union, China and India come to mind. It is rational to assume that these great population centers, with their overabundance of human resources, should ascend the hierarchy of global influence and power.
Many point to the Bush administration’s diplomatic failings through out the world. The handling of the military actions in Iraq, its poor management of NATO, the inability to effectively engage Russia, Iran and North Korea, its utter contempt for the United Nations, have all but isolated the U.S. from the rest of the world. While the world expected a humbler and more strategically intelligent America after 9/11, the Bush administration became the Corleone family and became the global bully. Yet, in spite of this, its greatest diplomatic failing may be the great economic meltdown. Losing its economic strength has diminished America’s leadership position in the world.
Imperial empires do not last for eternity and it appears that the U.S. must now sit at the international table as a partner and not as the omnipotent host. And that may not be a bad thing. Having the U.S. work constructively with other nations at eye level can assure higher levels of cooperation a new collaborative approach to solving the planet’s gravest issues. Unfortunately, being the world’s greatest debtor nation does not assure cooperation from any of the emergent powers.
The irony of this whole decline is that its catalyst was the far fetched notions of the so-called Project for the New American Century, where American hegemony and dominance was promoted on a global level. Nothing has done more damage to the United States and the world as a whole than the PNAC. The rogue and deluded ideologues that advocated this philosophy, many of whom served as senior members in the Bush administration, are directly responsible for the United States’ deteriorating economic, diplomatic and moral standing within the international community. The only entities to benefit from this ideology were the U.S. energy and defense contracting sectors much to the detriment of the rest of the world. Its incessant preoccupation with military might with little regard to the economic consequences has bankrupted the nation and has jeopordized national security.
Now that a new administration is ready to assume power in the U.S. one can only hope that this country will begin to reintegrate itself into the international community. Doing so will lead to mutual prosperity and respect. Failure to do so will only lead the U.S. down a path of continued weakening and possible demise.