The U.S, the end of an era | OP-ED
Analysts around the world are asking the same question: how much longer will this power last?
It is a fact that the United States is falling, both as a power and as a reference. Everyone discusses and analyzes how it is falling, how much time it has left and who will succeed it. The Economist is currently working on a special with personalities reflecting on that fact, from Gordon Brown or Noam Chomsky, to writer Arundhati Roy.
They, and many more, ponder the geopolitical, military, economic, cultural, resource, influence.... and even health and environmental ramifications. In their analyses, some are more pessimistic than others.
The most measured say that change will not happen overnight, and that we are experiencing a “declinist” sensation that comes in waves, as happened with the Soviet Union and the launch of Sputnik, the Vietnam War, the oil crisis of 1973, the growth of Japan and now China.
For the crudest, these crises were different and in a different world. The U.S. no longer has the internal and external muscle to deal with them. Also, how many times do we have to be reminded of #BlackLivesMatter, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and now Border Patrol Agents chasing Haitians on horseback. And what about the deep internal division on issues like racism, immigration, abortion and education.
The U.S. lost its leading role between Palestine and Israel
If there have been problems at home, things have been worse on the outside. The U.S. lost its leading role between Palestine and Israel, entered and left Iraq badly and was humiliated in Afghanistan. Headaches remain in Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen...
Tom McTague, in a lengthy analysis in The Atlantic, says the U.S. is like the Kardashians.... “living its life under the open gaze of a gawking global public: its comings and goings, its flaws and contradictions, for all to see. Today... suffering a sort of full-scale breakdown; what made that family great is apparently no longer enough to prevent its decline.”
Who will take the baton? According to the Lowy Institute, which measures dozens of metrics, China is already ahead of the U.S. in economic resources, future resources, economic relations and diplomatic influence.
Still, there could be a power vacuum for a while, as Britain, France and Germany look like orphans without the U.S., and China is far from being a cultural influence for the West, let alone an example to follow with its stubborn authoritarianism and human rights violations.