The World Still Watches America

For the 58th time since George Washington headed to New York for his first inauguration, U.S. voters are choosing the president, and agai...


For the 58th time since George Washington headed to New York for his first inauguration, U.S. voters are choosing the president, and again the eyes of the world are firmly fixed on the spectacle.

This is partly because American policy still matters. Will Donald Trump or Joe Biden be strong enough to manage a deteriorating U.S.-China relationship—and smart enough to still preserve the elements of cooperation that benefit both parties? What role will the president play in the global recovery from the pandemic? Will he embrace international institutions like the World Trade Organization and agreements like the Paris climate accords, or will he undermine them? How will he deal with rancorous countries like Russia, Turkey and Iran? Will he side with traditional allies in Europe and the Middle East, or will he look for new relationships in an era of shifting geopolitics? Will he open America’s borders to migrants, or will he try to slam them shut?

Not only U.S. voters care about these issues. So do people around the world whose lives will be directly affected by the choice Americans are making this fall.

The world’s love-hate relationship with the U.S. is about more than military might and policy ideas. For all the talk about decline and the supposed collapse of American soft power, the U.S. remains the unrivaled diva on the global stage—the most arresting figure, if not always the most sympathetic one, whose antics keep all transfixed.

America is the world’s biggest billboard. Nothing that happens here stays here; everything spreads. If Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality spring up in Minnesota, protesters in Lagos, Nigeria, take note. If U.S. rioters start demolishing Confederate memorials, statues of slave traders go into the river in Britain. And if Americans elect a nationalist populist to the presidency, his rhetoric and his ideas will be repeated and sometimes distorted out to the farthest ends of the earth. For good or for bad, the U.S. matters.

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Newsrust: The World Still Watches America
The World Still Watches America
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https://www.newsrust.com/2020/11/the-world-still-watches-america.html
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