In years past, especially after the end of World War II, America had a stellar image in the world. Nations and their people looked up to this symbol of freedom and democracy. They respected its government and admired its people. America was often thought of as a role model for all other nations.
How things change. Much of that respect and admiration has eroded in recent times as many of these nations now view America as a nation with an overly aggressive government and a troubled, increasingly violent society. The America that they see today is vastly different from the one that they once knew.
A likely response by a great many Americans to this assessment would be, “Who cares what they think.” They would simply brush off those views as being totally irrelevant. “Who are they to judge us and what we do? After all, we’re still the most powerful nation in the world, we still possess the largest economy, and the U.S. dollar is still the world’s main reserve currency. We are #1.”
That’s a very misguided attitude because it’s critically important for America to restore and maintain a strong, favorable reputation in the world going into the future.
Why is this so important? Well, let’s just say that if America that wants to compete in this complex, extremely competitive global economy, it must have excellent relations with other countries to develop trade agreements that benefit the U.S. and its people, to initiate treaties with other nations, and to attract foreign investment and tourism. In other words, in conducting global commerce, you need the world community of nations to want to do business with you, not to avoid you because of your reputation.
Here’s an article dealing with the reputations of 55 countries’ around the world. The conclusions drawn from numerous other, similar, articles are largely the same.
Countries with the best reputations
- New Zealand
Notice that America is not in the top ten; in fact it was ranked 23rd out of the total of 55 countries. That’s very telling, not good at all, and its evidence of the degree to which its reputation has declined.
Now let’s try to determine why America’s image and reputation are far from what they once were; how and why this has happened.
That respect and admiration that America once received is being steadily eroded largely because of the policies that the U.S. government is pursuing foreign affairs and domestic matters. Many of these same nations and their people look at the America of today and are dismayed by the degree of violence and instability that they see in this country.
There is no question but that the U.S. government has severely damaged this country’s reputation by its overly aggressive military actions around the world, in particular, in the Middle East and South and Central Asia. There is no need to produce the long list of wars, military conflicts, and confrontations that our government has initiated because this is common knowledge and is fully documented.
The world watches as the U.S. military continues to carry on a relentless bombing campaign in Syria which, in the view of many observers, has the chief objective of removing President Assad of that country from power. At the same time it also continues to launch drones that rain down Hellfire missiles on Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. Doing this is, in the eyes of many in the world, is without any justification and is unacceptable.
Here are a couple of more examples of aggressive U.S. foreign policy that adversely impact America’s image and reputation. Not long ago our government involved itself in the internal affairs of Ukraine, placing itself in the middle of a dispute between that country and Russia; it also involved Crimea. Why intervene in these affairs in nations thousands of miles away from America? Why get in the middle of a dispute between these three countries when a large portion of the people of Ukraine and Crimea have close ties with Russia and speak Russian? Let them work out their own problems.
We have also recently seen the movement of a substantial U.S. naval force into the region of the South China Sea. This strategy is called the “Asian Pivot” and is designed to establish a powerful U.S. presence in China’s backyard. Why this encroachment into the territory of China, the country which manufactures the vast majority of America’s consumer products; those that provide immense profits to its corporations? What kind of convoluted foreign policy is that?
Now let’s turn to U.S. domestic matters and how they may be seen by other nations. America, in many respects, is far from possessing the healthy, growing economy it once had. Many of the major U.S. corporations have closely aligned themselves with China, reaped massive profits from that cheap labor, and then have thrown the American worker under the bus.
This has resulted in a loss of millions of jobs, the closing of some 60,000 manufacturing plants, a shrinking middle class, a great loss of consumer purchasing power, a stagnant economy, 47 million people on food stamps, and an equal number living below the poverty line; and all the while, the number of millionaires and billionaires in this country continues to increase. America is literally shooting itself in the foot.
How does this look to the nations of the world? It gives them the impression of a country whose foundations are beginning to crumble.
Violence in the American society, has become commonplace. The nations of the world watch as mass shootings happen time and again, often taking place at schools and colleges and in movie theaters.
In America, it’s extremely easy for someone to obtain numerous forms of firearms, even an assault weapon such as an AK47. The staunch defenders of the 2d Amendment and the powerful NRA don’t even blink an eye when innocent children are gunned down at schools. Nothing is being done to bring this situation under control, the obsession with guns continues unabated. The Congress plainly has no concern over what is happening.
We have seen a militarized police force emerge in this country and have witnessed a stream of disturbing incidents in which police have opened fire and killed an American citizen, most often an African American who had no weapon and posed no imminent threat. This again shows the deep divisions between the police and the community in many areas of this country; and it shows the world a dark side of America.
What about the corrupted political system that exists in America where obstruction and negativity are the order of the day. This is not something that America should be presenting to the world at the same time it is promoting itself as the model of democracy.
Speaking of politics, the world watches in awe as we in America conduct our extremely long and obscenely expensive election process to pick the next president. The debates are endless; they are, for the most part, filled with a great deal of useless narrative and blather coming from political windbags who couldn’t present solutions to this country’s many problems if their lives depended on it.
Not only does this process look like a three-ring circus but recently we’ve seen some of the Republican candidates acting like a bunch of grade school kids arguing and fighting and calling each other nasty names; even referring to and questioning each other’s manhood.
And if that’s not bad enough, now we see Mr. Trump at his finest, continuing to fuel the fires of dissension and hatred and stirring the pot of violent behavior. He has now begun to encourage acts of violence by his supporters against vocal protesters. This is getting real ugly and very dangerous and we could see someone killed when tempers go over the top.
Breaking News: it’s being reported that Trump is warning that riots could well occur if he is denied the GOP nomination during the upcoming convention; that is, if he doesn’t accumulate the number of delegates to cement the nomination during these primaries. This guy is turning out to be a messenger of violence and that’s something that, up to now, has never been a part of this election process.
And the world watches in amazement and disbelief.
Sure, we can totally ignore what these countries and their people think about America and the direction in which this government is taking it. We can totally dismiss their concerns, and remain in a state of denial, but we do so at our own peril. For if we lose their support, respect, and trust, it will be a colossal mistake; one that we will greatly regret.