The United ‘Sick Man’ of America (Part 4)
Here are the Four Horsemen Threatening to End America’s Superpower Status
Could America’s superpower days be numbered? The country that defined the 20th century, has shirked responsibility for global leadership, mishandled a global pandemic, and is now experiencing mass unemployment and social instability along racial fault lines. This is Part Four of a five part series that examines the Four Horseman threatening to take down American hegemony and what can be done to reverse course before it is too late. Part 1 can be found here, Part 2, and Part 3 here.
As the world’s head honcho, the simply reality is this: America’s government and its people have become complacent with their position in the world, and unwilling to confront problems at home. This is partly a consequence of the ideological rigidity paralyzing America, the topic of Part 3. Generations of Americans have been raised on the belief that everything in their country is the “best,” whether its their freedoms, education, their wealth, or technology. Few Americans ever question total dominance, and there lies the problem. America is a great country, no doubt, but it far from perfect, and if it wants to remain great, it need not become complacent.
Why is this so dangerous? If America is the “best” at everything, the logic follows, when things do not go well for America or something is wrong with America, it must be the fault of external factors. These external factors can include immigrants (the topic of part 1), other countries, or even international institutions.
Blaming The World
After WW2, the United States built a global system of institutions that benefited the world and projected America’s soft power. But in recent years, America has began to turn against these very institutions it created. No administration has more perfectly embodied this shift than the Trump administration.
When the US failed to prepare for and take countermeasures against the Covid-19 outbreak, the Trump administration blamed the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the WHO having provided ample warning to the the US alongside every other country on Earth. Now, the US has taken the bizarre position of withdrawing from the WHO at a time when global health cooperation is needed most.
When US manufactures lose global market share to overseas competition, the Trump administration has laid blame on the World Trade Organization (WTO), the international body that helps settle trade disputes. This is despite the fact that the US has veto power over the nomination of the WTO judges, and the WTO rules in America’s favor 91% of the time. Under Trump, however, America has decided that the WTO is rigged, and the administration has used its veto power to block new judges, effectively holding the WTO hostage as a functioning international body.
Similarly, the Trump administration has attacked NATO, stating that other NATO member countries “owe” America money for their defense. It is true that America spends far more than other contributing states, but much of that is by choice. It is Congress which allocates far more defense spending than the NATO requirement of 2 percent of GDP. Further, NATO has enacted Article 5, which requires the mutual defense of all member states…once… after the 9/11 terrorist attacks for the defense of the United States.
America is even attacking the UN as being biased against the United States, when in fact the US is one of only five countries on the UN Security Council that has veto power over much of UN actions.
Indeed, it is strange to see a superpower systematically dismantling the very organizations it put in place to perpetuate its power, but that is what is happening. It is a cruel irony that a group of Americans, led by a President that claims that he would make America great again, would turn its back on the institutions that helped make it great. Like an autoimmune disease, these individuals, led by the Trump administration, are attacking the very nation that they are supposed to protect.