“The Shaming of America,” reads the cover of this week’s Economist, by no means a liberal publication. The Economist, speaking for what I believe is much of the European public has stated “Mr. Bush’s personal weakness is shaming,” and stating “ he will go the way of his father, limping wounded into retirement.
What’s apparent is America’s “soft power,” as Joseph Nye of Harvard University calls it is shot. Through they years while America may have appeared bullying and inflexible on the world stage, our enemies accorded us a certain respect and credibility. After, all America got it right, or so they thought. Following the debacle of Katrina the whole world now knows the shocking reality about America- a sharp racial divide, an elite media and government that cares less about the South than other regions of the country, the lack of critical infrastructure, a media intimidated by Rupert Murdoch that rather than critically reporting the Bush administrations failures, tries to lay the blame on Democrats in Louisiana. The day after Katrina our President was vacationing in the same place as I was- San Diego, and was equally if not more disconnected from the reality of the ruin that lay on America’s Gulf Coast as I was. Even more troubling was the reaction of America’s most visible African-American, Condeleeza Rice, who liberated years ago from the rural poor South, obviously lost all connection with her native area and instead of reaching out to the victims took in a Broadway play instead.
“Soft Power,” as Nye discusses is America’s real weapon. The ability to use the credibility of the United States as an egalitarian society, and a Democracy to affect change in dangerous parts of the world. Thanks to an ineffectual national media that is a lapdog for the Bush agenda, the American public fails to realize the depths to which Katrina coming on the heels of continued trouble in Iraq American prestige abroad is falling. With an renewed vigor in Europe and an emerging China, India and Russia, we as Americans better hope George W. Bush either changes soon, or the next administration be it a Republican or democratic one changes things quickly and very publicly. Otherwise the 21st Century, could be the reverse of the 20th- the Century of American Decline.
Providing Unique Commentary and Insight into Politics, History and Society since 2005
- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.