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What Once Was Is No More; America Has Forfeited Its Role As The Leader Of The Free World

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America , which for decades was the acknowledged leader of the free world, can no longer lay claim to that title. That era is now at an end. While the U.S. is still seen as the world's greatest military power, it no longer possesses the special attributes that are essential to command that prestigious position as the leader of the Western world. While some may still mistakenly refer to America in that vein, that no longer reflects reality.

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To be a leader, especially the leader of nations, calls for special and unique qualities that others do not possess. A leader inspires, is a visionary that sees creative solutions and new directions; a good leader has an exemplary character, is trustworthy, and knows how to resolve differences; is committed to excellence, commands respect and, in turn respects others.

Above all, a leader of nations must lead by example. And that is exactly the main reason why America can no longer be seriously considered as the leader of the free world. Let's put it this way; based on witnessing the actions and behavior of America, especially after the turn of the century, the nations of the free world seem to be coming to the realization that their goals and objectives and those of America's are no longer the same.

These nations see America as a nation in a state of decline, with a government and a political system that has become dysfunctional and no longer has the will to address and solve its most critical problems. They see a nation that is obsessed and addicted to war and the expansion of a military empire. They watch as the U.S. government and its leaders fail to take appropriate actions as the most important foundations of their nation continue to deteriorate.

Those who follow look to a leader that exhibits strength and stability whose objectives generally match their own. Do these nations, supposedly friends and allies of America, see that strength and stability, do they see a commonness of purpose of objectives? Is America a nation that is leading by example, producing achievements that these nations would wish to emulate?

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To answer that question, let's take a look at some of the elements that form the major foundations of America and then make an assessment of America's qualities of leadership.

*National Safety and Security -- there is no doubt that the U.S. has the most powerful military force in the world, bar none. In fact, it has become so massive that its annual budget dwarfs that of its major allies combined. No other nation in the entire world has any significant military presence in any other part of the world; no other nation since World War II has been involved in a succession of unnecessary wars as has the U.S.

Yes, America has tremendous military power and is not hesitant to use it, but the exercise of that power comes at such a high cost that it is the primary reason for why this nation has so many critical areas of domestic need that are being totally ignored and remain unfunded. This is not an example of real leadership; this is proof of a blind addiction and obsession with an agenda of war above all else.

*Failing Educational System -- what could be more important than a nation's commitment to maintain a world class system of education to assure its future growth and development. America has failed to assign a necessary high priority on education to produce the best and brightest individuals with the abilities to lead it into the future. That's not leadership; that is a national disgrace.

World rankings show many of the industrialized nations of the world far ahead of America in every facet of academics. In math and science America, once the world leader, has badly regressed and countries that outrank it now include Finland, Korea, Japan, Denmark, Czech Republic, Iceland and numerous others. How pathetic is that?

*Corrupted Financial System -- it is out of control; it caused the great recession of 2008 because once effective rules and regulations had been eliminated by the Congress over several decades. This condition continues to represent a grave danger to the stability of America as the masters of Wall Street are allowed free rein to use their agenda of deceitful and fraudulent practices to prey on the people of this nation. While these financial manipulators game the system in every way this government continues to look the other way.

In the three years since the recession began in 2008 not one of the many fraudsters that "occupy Wall Street" has been brought to justice by President's Obama's virtually non-existent justice Department.

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*Governmental Gridlock - And while we're making these assessments of America's qualities of leadership we must include our government, from the sitting president to both parties of the Congress. There are no world rankings of the effectiveness of governments but if there were America would have to be near the bottom; isn't that exactly what the people of America are saying when polled? These representatives of the people could address and come up with solutions to every one of America's most critical problems through effective leadership and legislation; but they choose to remain in a state of political dementia.

*The Disappearing Manufacturing Sector -- manufacturing used to be the dominant force in America but Corporate America's obsession with maximizing profits, no matter the harm it causes, is destroying the consumer-driven economy, the engine that fuels GDP. The service sector in the U.S. currently represents 75% of GDP while manufacturing has declined to less than 20%. Contrast this with China whose manufacturing represents 47% of GDP while service is at 43%. Is it any wonder that the world's number one economy, the U.S., is in a state of continuing decline while that of China is rapidly growing?

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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