The World’s Stake in American Democracy by Richard Haass

The United States, which is distracted and divided at home, will lack the capacity and consensus to exercise leadership on global challenges such as climate change. Without US resources and leadership, the gap between these global challenges and the global response will almost certainly widen.

New York: For more than three-quarters of a century, the United States has played a unique and constructive role in the world. To be sure, there were big mistakes, including the Vietnam War and the Iraq War of 2003, but the United States accepted it more often.

The results speak for themselves. The US entry into World War II marked a decision. Partly because of the American push, the colonial era came quickly if not always ended peacefully. The formation of post-war alliances helped ensure that the Cold War remained cold and ended in conditions consistent with Western interests and values. Many institutions and policies provide the foundation for unprecedented global economic growth and prolongation of life.

But America’s ability to continue to play a large and influential global role is increasingly uncertain. Some of the reasons are not related to the United States, but affect their position as well.

There are new external challenges. The U.S. economy, which was responsible for half the world output after World War II, now produces only a quarter. Military forces are now widely distributed among other countries and groups. Energy and mineral resources, along with production centers on which the United States and other countries depend, are widely distributed. This distribution of power and wealth gives others the ability to resist or resist US influence and force. America’s position in the world is a general priority, but not a domination.

America’s ability to have its own path is further limited by globalization. Whether it is climate change or a virus, the United States cannot prevent itself from the noble consequences of development beyond its borders or create its own solutions. Either loneliness or unilateralism is a viable option.

What may be the most serious threat to global security and stability stems from developments in the United States, from deep political and social divisions that threaten national competitiveness, the ability to formulate and implement consistent policies, and even stability. Of it.

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No doubt some readers will feel a little more than schadenfreude at all in this and accept the hardships of the United States after decades of following the American lead. But such satisfaction will be short-lived, because in a world that is sometimes violent and always global, American difficulties can quickly become theirs. Further decline of American democracy will be used by anti-democratic governments elsewhere to justify and extend oppression to their people. And without a strong US economy, other countries’ economies would grow slower than when their exports were slower.

The weak and unpredictable United States will make effective alliances demand mutual assistance for clarity. Similarly, the enemy will be stronger in the belief that they can act with impunity. The result will be a world of more frequent conflicts, with modern weapons more widespread and more powerful.

Moreover, the United States, which is distracted and divided at home, will lack the capacity and consensus to exercise leadership on global challenges such as climate change. Without US resources and leadership, the gap between these global challenges and the global response will almost certainly widen. No country or group of countries is willing and able to take America’s position on the world stage.

So the question is, will the United States resume soon and look like the country 75 years ago? There are some confirmation signs. US economic and military support for Ukraine is strong. The results of the November 2022 midterm elections make sure that many of the strongest candidates who pose the greatest threat to American democracy are defeated.

But there are also less guaranteed developments. We have just celebrated the second anniversary of January 6, 2021, the invasion of the US Capitol, which is close to the destruction of American democracy. No one can assume that such violent protests will not happen again. And now that the split government has become a reality again, it remains to be seen whether the Democratic president and senate can find common ground with the Republican-led House of Representatives. The first signs are not good because the newly-elected Republicans seem to focus on investigation and deterrence rather than law-making and leadership.

Winston Churchill famously said, “You can always rely on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried something else.” This word is about to be tested. The problem for the whole world is that it will be significantly affected by what is happening in the United States, but with little capacity. Or none to influence the development there. It is an uncomfortable but inevitable fact.

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