Commentary: America's biggest challenges come from within

(Xinhua) 16:34, August 20, 2021

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- In an analysis published in 2010, U.S. historian Alfred W. McCoy predicted that the demise of the United States as a global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagined. "In 2025, just 15 years from now," he wrote, the American century "could all be over except for the shouting."

McCoy's argument might have sounded a bit far-fetched then, but with a terrible U.S. COVID-19 response and messy pull-out from Afghanistan 11 years later, America's decaying reputation has become a common topic of discussion throughout the world.

Polls by various organizations find that America's global influence is indeed on the decline. The United States' wayward foreign policy has even worried many of its allies.

While Washington tends to blame others for its own problems, the cause of this decline of U.S. influence actually comes from the inside. In other words, America's worst enemy is America itself.

Washington has been countering the trend of peace and development of our times by indulging in dreams of hegemony, with a foreign policy characterized by power politics. The United States has launched one war after another and exported color revolutions around the world, seriously threatening global security. Under the guise of "democracy" and "human rights," the United States has brutally interfered in the internal affairs of other countries.

The United States has grown increasingly anxious about a rising China challenging it on the world stage. The country and its media -- oblivious to their own double standards -- fabricate lies to demonize the Asian country and pressure other nations to do the same.

Each country pursues its own foreign policy interests. But Washington has taken that pursuit to a whole new level by relentlessly violating the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual trust in international exchanges. It believes in bullying other countries, insists on building walls, and wantonly imposes sanctions on other countries.

The United States preaches "decoupling," claiming that only by cutting off economic ties with certain countries can its national security be ensured. It steps up technology blockades and suppression, and openly boycott the products and technologies of other countries.

But the blockades and decoupling are backfiring and hurting U.S. enterprises while eliminated much-need jobs at home. Such foolish moves force the country to miss out on huge foreign markets and future growth opportunities.

Washington has been trying to impose so-called "rules" and "order" on the world, with a blatant disregard for justice and fairness. As COVID-19 rages around the world, the United States scrambles to hoard vaccines that far exceed its own needs, pursuing vaccine nationalism amid global shortages.

On human rights, the United States suffers from serious systemic racism, yet condescendingly harps on the human rights conditions of other countries. Not to mention its horrendous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its failure to contain the spread of the disease has resulted in over 625,000 lives lost, the highest death toll in the world.

Furthermore, the United States conducted extensive internet surveillance and phone tapping around the world, even spying on its own allies, thus seriously eroding its ability to be trusted.

Along with its diminishing reputation, America's global influence is in decline. An article carried by German business newspaper Handelsblatt said U.S. presidents have likened the country to a "city upon a hill" -- an example to the rest of the world. "Yet it is hard to remember the last time the U.S. produced a policy that could serve as a model for others to emulate," it said.

According to a recent report from the University of Denver and the Atlantic Council, America's global influence has stagnated over the last three decades. One major reason is the country's shift toward protectionism under its "America First" doctrine.

As many scholars have pointed out, the biggest challenges to the United States come from within the country itself. Domestic maladies like social segregation, political polarization and system rigidity all are cutting deep into the foundation of the American system.

In the face of declining global influence and intensified domestic crises, the United States must face up to its own problems, not fabricate excuses. Shifting blame and shirking responsibility will only further discredit itself and accelerate the decline of America's international image. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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