… it is no wonder that the US, for all its massive military power and huge economy, is increasingly becoming an outlier on the international scene. Foreign statesmen both good and bad simply shake their heads in incredulous dismay at the decline of US rationality, prestige and steadiness. But who can avert one’s eyes from a train wreck?
Yet this isn’t new. It’s not as if the US has suddenly turned a corner with this election. US foreign policy has grown ever more isolated from the world and from reality since at least 9/11. Life in this world of denial may even date from the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. That was when the US received what must now be seen as palpably a curse—the transient domination of the entire global scene, when we trumpeted ourselves as the “sole global superpower.” We assumed that such was the new permanent order of the world. We’ve never gotten over it. We’re still trying to maintain that fiction and it’s not working. Trump will find that out painfully soon."Train wreck." "Dumpster fire." Or "the indispensable nation"?
Our domestic political antics exclude us ever further from the ranks of more responsible, sober and clear-sighted states. The rest of the world is simply going to have to go on working around us in damage limitation mode as it has been doing since 9/11. Are we capable of limiting the long-standing damage to ourselves at home? The necessary very heavy lifting seems now almost a bridge too far.
Graham E. Fuller
The Never-Ending Extravaganza
Graham E. Fuller, former senior CIA official