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World's Message to America: Lead, Follow or Just Get out of the Way

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Future historians will likely view America as a nation that reached its peak in the late 1990's and then, after the turn of the century, seemingly lost its it's once unique skills and abilities to truly lead the world. Today's leaders in the U.S. government would greatly dispute that contention but the nations of the world would fully agree with it; they are watching as it happens.

Many signs point to the fact that this nation and its government have forfeited any claim of being the true leader of the world. You can only be a leader if those who you claim as followers grant you that distinction. And there is no question that America is no longer seen in that light. The admiration and respect that most of these nations once had for America has now been replaced by a rapidly growing sense of suspicion and mistrust.

How many of the other 168 countries of the world still think that America is the leader of this world? If a poll were taken, with each of these countries having one vote to either approve or disapprove of the U.S. government's policies and actions, what do you think would be the result? If it were a secret vote in which the identities of these nations would be protected, I'd venture to say that the resulting very low approval rating would be a staggering blow to this nation's ego.

How many countries now see America as a nation controlled by a convoluted government; how many even consider America on the road to becoming a world pariah? The list of nations that think this way is growing by leaps and bounds. And if we search for reasons why America is now held in such low esteem and, very often, open contempt, the list would be extremely long; and it would be crystal clear that this country and its agenda of aggressive behavior toward other nations would be the primary reason; there is no doubt that this government brought this condition upon itself because of its great disrespect for international laws and often unacceptable behavior within the world community.

But wait just a minute; maybe this kind of assessment is too rash and unfair and maybe there should be a more in-depth examination of this issue: That sounds reasonable enough so let's examine the characteristics of a leader and determine if America still should retain that distinction. Let's start with honesty, integrity, vision, strength with compassion, inspirational, respect for others, consistency, and trustworthiness; one which is unique, possesses skills that others don't have, is admired, respected and others feel really good about following.

Do the leaders of this government, especially the president, honestly believe that these nations view America in that light? If they do then they are deluding themselves because the only thing that these other countries respect is American military power and only because they are fearful of the consequences that could follow if they incur the wrath of those who possess that power and are always ready to use it.

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But do these leaders of our country really care what anyone thinks? Who cares what the nations of the world think and whether they approve of this country? Doesn't the world need America a lot more than America needs it? Here's an interesting article from Asian Times by its Middle East and Asian expert, Pepe Escobar. It illustrates just how the leadership of the world is beginning to change; and how Russia and China are emerging as future leaders.

For many decades the world blindly followed the U.S. largely because they viewed it as a strong, stable nation that seemed to be headed in the right direction. They tended to ignore its increasing aggressive military policies. That era is now coming to an end as a growing number of these nations now see America a country weighed down by a government that seems to have lost its way and can't seem to recapture its sense of purpose and direction.

There is no better example of the decline in America's power and influence than in the Middle East in which any number of this country's staunchest supporters and allies have now become so disillusioned by its conflicted actions and policies that they are making new alliances to protect their interests. Here is an article that indicates that many of these Middle East countries are jumping off what they consider to be a sinking ship.

These nations see China becoming the #1 economic power in the not too distant future. They are watching the evolvement of BRICS, the economic partnership that is made up of the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. This powerful consortium seems to be destined to become the world's economic superpower of the future. It poses a great threat to the continuation of the U.S. dollar as the main reserve currency of the world as these nations are rapidly increasing the use of their own currencies in mutual trade.

How did this rising tide of disapproval of America evolve? No doubt whatsoever that it had its beginnings during the tenure of the massively incompetent Bush/Cheney administration and its totally misguided invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. And, when it seemed like things might change for the better then in came Mr. Obama whose foreign polity has been weak, conflicting, without direction, and, in fact, greatly tarnished by his relentless use of drones.

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The world looks at America and thinks, "What kind of country spies on its own citizens; what kind of country spies on its allies, their people and leaders, maintains a Guantanamo prison, has used torture against military detainees, and has leaders, who in their quest for more and more power, undermine their own country's Constitution?

I really think that this NSA spying debacle will turn out to be the point at which world opinion against America greatly escalated; that, for many of these nations who have had all they can take of the bullying and America's constant interference in their internal affairs, it was the last straw.

Many of them see America as a nation that has allowed itself to become controlled by Corporatism, with an out of control system of capitalism that is based on greed, corruption, deceit and obscene profits. So many of these countries are, no doubt, scratching their national heads and thinking, "Is this the same America that once led the world?" Or, "What in the world has happened to this once highly respected and admired nation?" More and more of these nations have begun to realize that they do not need or want America as their leader; they are bonding together in many different forms of alliances with objectives and new initiatives that will make them ever stronger and more independent.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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