Wrong America

IT DOES not require a research or opinion poll to conclude that America stands isolated from the world today due to the perceived wrong policies being pursued by the Bush Administration.

Yet, this is what a report by a think-tank commissioned by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, citing half a dozen opinion polls from around world: “America’s reputation, standing and influence are at all-time lows, and possibly sinking further”.

In fact, the chance emergence of the unipolar world, past the Soviet rout, had presented immense opportunities for an administration if it had wanted to look positively at things. Admittedly, as the report notes, 9/11 was a turning point.

“Since 9/11, the US has been exporting fear and anger, rather than more traditional values of hope and optimism, it says, adding, so much so, “even traditional allies have questioned whether America is hiding behind the righteousness of its ideals to pursue some other motive”.

The problem was, when the world looked at America for leadership, President Bush put it in the negative mode. In fact, to America’s advantage, the Soviet disintegration had not only spelt the end of the Cold War days, but also wrote the obituary for socialism (or Communism) as a workable socio-economic philosophy. The age of Globalisation reinforced the clout of capitalism as the best option for economic uplift.

However, what was going to be the ‘Age of America’ has turned out to be the age of ‘Hate America’. The Bush Administration squandered a great opportunity for America to lead the world, by making the War on Terror the centre-piece of its foreign policy initiative. Worse, as the administration is fading into his twilight months, the success of this campaign, rather overdrive, is in serious doubt.

Having unwittingly put itself in the role of an usurper, a la Iraq, America lost the goodwill of almost the entire world. And, thanks to Bush, the world looks at America today with suspicion. The damage is done. And, course-correction is called for. Which is why, the report is specific about its call to the next president: “The US must become a smarter power by investing once again in the global good”. It would mean a shift in emphasis from the war on terror to positive engagements — engagements that, all the same, will help further the anti-terror cause indirectly. Sounds worth a try.

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