Events

The End of U.S. Leadership: Is America Increasingly Irrelevant?

DUNGAN-Nicholas

If we have to think about America’s supremacy decline as an ongoing process, we will need to consider two dates from which this erosion of American influence started. The first one is the 9th of November 1989, the fall of the Berlin’s Wall; the second is the terrorist attack of 09/11. But why are these two dates determining the lessening of America? As long as mere politics is concerned, Obama’s doctrines have been a response to this two dates, aiming at the withdrawn of American participation on foreign affairs. In fact, as himself stated “Just because we have the best hammer, this does not mean that everything is a nail”. Therefore, his policies expressed the belief that there’s the need for America to act more like a model for the world to follow rather than forcibly imposing it abroad. But this “lack of intervention”, as some would call it, determined for other countries to fill the voids left by the United States. Therefore, the US is the creator of its own competitors. The other issue it is internal, and concerns its domestic problems. It could be said that before there was a general interest, common to the whole nation. Even considering the racial divide, the huge gap regarding wealth among citizens, etc… there was still unity. But after the Reagan Revolution America ended up with putting emphasis to individualism and private interests, disregarding completely public goods, such as health care, primary education and infrastructure. Therefore, Obama’s doctrines, that even if well intentioned, are leaving voids for others to fill and are not understood by the average American, who has been accustomed to more Jacksonian policies; together with the general internal problems, are making America willpower abroad weaker. The fact that someone like Donal Trump is running it is the expression of how bad things have got. He is obviously not the answer, but it is understandable why he is so appealing in this historical context, when the lessing of America’s soft power abroad is increasing. Obviously, America’s decline is not going to happen anytime soon, and the US will maintain their supremacy for many years to come. Yet, Europe needs to wake up to the fact that it cannot rely on America as it used to. The burden is going to be on the next French leader, to restore the EU as the defender of the humanitarian western values, but it is difficult to pinpoint any candidate fit for this role. The question is whether the EU has what it takes to pick up the responsibility to become the western’s values leader now that the US will not always be there to back it up.

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