US failing to handle own business weakens its power

By Mu Lu Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/17 20:28:41

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

In a recent interview with the CBS News program 60 Minutes, former US president Barack Obama said the US is in "what some people call truth decay." 

Obama noted, "I think our adversaries have seen us weakened, not just as a consequence of this election, but over the last several years. We have these cleavages in the body politic that they're convinced they can exploit."

What Obama said can represent the thinking of many US elites. The US decline has been more than obvious, which has not only led to a mess in the US but also brought disaster to the rest of the world. The US failure in the COVID-19 fight is proof. 

The US decline didn't start recently. Some Americans still blame a certain party or president for their country's weakened power and fading international influence - this proves that the US still hasn't found the real cause of its problems.

The US decline is an inevitable outcome of the structural problems the country has had over the years. If these long-standing problems cannot be completely uprooted, the decline of the US will continue to be irreversible. Nonetheless, Obama is troubled that adversaries have seen the US weakened instead of spending more time and energy on figuring out a way to fix the problems. Such mentality of US elites will push the US decline further. 

The US does have an adversary, and it is the US itself. But American elites often overlook that. In the past, the US, relying on its strength, has created contradictions around the world to shift people's attention, so it managed to cover up the accumulated unsolved problems. However, the US trick of playing a hegemon no longer works. The world has been on a fast lane of development while the increasingly conservative US is being caught up and even surpassed by others. 

In addition to the systematic structure that is too rigid to be reformed, the US is now saddled with financial burdens as well as racial and class conflicts that see rare, if any, hope of a solution. Under such a heavy burden, the US is barely able to conceal its fatigue, let alone participate in international competition. The failure in the epidemic fight has put these problems under a microscope. The rest of world has thus focused on how the US - deemed the "beacon of democracy" - is running down. 

As time goes on, US problems will be more obvious and severe. The disputes between the two parties and their wrangling of the distribution of benefits will always hold back this country from effectively handling its own problems and conducting necessary reforms. The Trump administration's "final madness" against China weighs on only GOP's political interests. It will make Democrats be more like tinkers even when they take power - the Democratic Party being able to fix the mess left by Trump is already the most optimist prediction of many observers.

The American elites who always have their voices heard and the silent ordinary American people are fundamentally different in their thoughts and pursuits. Such division has become more and more irreparable due to intense political struggles in the US. The American elites who pursue their interests and moral superiority are getting farther and farther away from the vast majority of the ordinary American people. As a result, there comes the systemic failure.

The farce of the 2020 US presidential election is still going on. The more lively this soap opera is, the more it proves that the decline of the US is attributed to itself. It's time for the American elites to wake up and take a good look at the US and the world. They should be aware that lingering in the fantasy where the US is still the world's overwhelming "lord" and act on this illusion is dangerous to their country.


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