The standing of the USA in the world

I've come across this quote - the source is unimportant, as quotes like this exist almost everywhere:

[The U.S.'s] status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees.

That's the understatement of the month.

I scratched on the surface of this problem some months ago, but this time I cannot resist to show the great dimension of the problem.

A short list of what happened in the past ten years:

1) two questionable presidential elections (which would have had different outcomes under many European election laws)

2) great influence of lobbyists on national policy

3) unquestioned support for Israel

4) lying into the face of the whole world about Iraq's WMD

5) a war of aggression

6) installation of an Iraqi puppet government

7) occupation of Iraq

8) installation of an Afghani puppet government

9) occupation of Afghanistan (questionable for some people)

10) kidnap of free persons in Europe and elsewhere

11) torture

12) mis-treatment of prisoners as neither criminals nor POW

13) capital punishment

14) extremely high percentage of own citizens in jail

15) exertion of undue pressure on small countries

16) one-sided cancellation of arms control treaties

17) supporting dictators in exchange for their assistance

18) UN charter-violating threats to Iran

19) mis-use of IAEA to suppress Iraq before 2003 (It's impossible to refute a wrong allegation that something exists.)

20) strangling Iraq pre-2003 by keeping the sanctions active long after almost all other nations wanted to loosen them; civilians suffering

21) repeated withholding of payments to UN

22) repeated bad-mouthing of respected UN institutions

23) repeated misuse of veto rights in UN security council

24) repeatedly expressed lack of respect even for important allied nations (France, Germany)

25) disrespectful behavior to Russia

26) too much defense expenditures (half of global expenditures on military!)

27) asking even travelers from allied nations for fingerprints

28) extreme collection of data on European air travelers (in addition to fingerprints)

29) spying European corporations and private communications for years

30) exploitation of NATO for auxiliary troops, in fact degrading the national security of allies

31) undue pressure on North Korea, heating up the tensions there against the will of South Korea's government

32) unjustified bombing of a civilian goods factory in Sudan

33) heating up the Somalian civil war by inviting/supporting Ethiopia into the war (and a subsequent comeback of chaos)

34) huge arms sales into the Arabian crisis region (multiple sides)

35) wrong allegations against Iran concerning arms deliveries to Iraqi resistance

36) bombs on civilians in Afghanistan

37) bombs on allied troops in Afghanistan

38) backing the Saudi regime - although most 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi-Arabia and SA is the origin of Wahabbism - the radical school of Islam that is AQ's foundation

39) strong support for corrupt and undemocratic Arabian regimes in general

40) creation of an ideology-driven war on extreme Islam in general

41) export of a financial economy crisis driven by incredible greed and financial incompetence

42) an influential national TV station that's so biased that even people on other continents know about it

43) refusal to co-operate on disarmament or anti-global warming treaties

44) straining the environment and global raw material supply with wasteful behavior

My 40% American readers will likely beg to differ on these points. Well, bad news; it's by definition completely irrelevant what Americans think about these points. The rest of the world counts.
Better news; many people outside of the USA would beg to differ as well, and create shorter/longer/different lists. The problem here is; even a much shorter list would be too much for "moral leadership".

The USA needs to understand that it is at a very low level of respect and influence right now.

The expression of the belief that it deserves great respect and leadership will only hurt the USA among many relevant partner nations.

U.S. diplomats and foreign politicians should imagine that they represent for example Poland. That's about the correct moral and respect level right now.
Forget about "superpower", "leadership" or "moral superiority". The USA needs to redeem oneself first.

Sven Ortmann

Today's news in Germany; an Afghan-German visited his family in Afghanistan, went shopping and got caught by U.S. forces. Weeks later the Red Cross told his relatives what happened. The German intelligence service BND has apparently already interrogated him and considers him as harmless and not suspicious. The German government is apparently trying to free him since weeks... that's No.45 (but might be considered as a combination of 10 and 12).


  1. Your comments are quite cogent. I know several Americans who would agree with every point. I'm going to have to start reading this blog more often.

  2. Hmm...FYI:

    "Screw the World! Riot in Denver!"



    [...] As for the rest of the world and what they think of us, you know, there's nothing that frustrates me more than to hear that.[...]What part of the world do we want approval from? Do we want approval from the Europeans who have gone so damn wussy that they cannot -- they could not if they had to -- mount a military defense of themselves if they were attacked? Not even with NATO, because it has been allowed to lapse. Is it those people that we want the approval from? Do we want approval from people like Robert Mugabe? Do we want approval from some of the warlords and terrorists of Al-Qaeda? Who in the world do we want approval from? Do we want approval from Hamas, like Jimmy Carter does? We have the approval of our allies. We have the approval of the UK. We have the approval of the Australians. Do we want the approval of the Chinese? Do we want the approval of Kim Jong Il.

    Who do we want to love us? What is this?
    I guarantee you: You live your life this way as an individual, and you are forever going to be confused and unhappy because you will be embarking on something that's impossible, and that is, A, to make everybody like you; and, B, respect you. This is something that has to be earned, particularly on the side of respect -- and respect is earned with strength. Nobody is going to respect you if they figure out you're doing whatever you have to do to get their approval. They're going to laugh at you! They're going to think you're a weak-kneed wuss. So the hell with that! We do, hopefully, the right thing for the sake of this country. We're the only ones in charge of our affairs.[...]

    Don't know about you, but as an American, I find myself in full agreement with that host.

    Oh,btw, here's a blog you should check out:

    "Davids Medienkritik-Online"

  3. The USA wouldn't even have had access to Afghanistan for Taleban hunting without foreign support & consent. That's how much the USA can do on its own.
    Allies and friends mean power - the USA had plenty, and is about to drive them away. Let's hope for improvements in 2009.

    And shall I really take someone seriously who believes that Europe cannot defend itself?
    Two nuclear powers, several medium-sized and well-respected armies & air forces, five medium-sized modern navies...Europe can defeat Russia, Israel and all Arabs (=all nearby powers) at once if necessary.
    He discredited himself by claiming nonsense.

    Americans sometimes misunderstand lack of aggressiveness with lack of readiness for defense.
    The present possible adversaries are no problem for Europe's military power - future challengers might be a problem.

  4. You have provided a list of the standard falsehoods of the anti-America Left. Some of the comments are irrelevant, the most important ones are untrue.

    And no, it doesn't matter what Americans OR the world thinks, it matters what is [i]true[/i]. If the world believes the items on this list, the world believes a lie.

    There is [i]no[/i] evidence that America lied about WMDs, for example. We turned out to be wrong, but that isn't the same thing, and the person most responsible for the counter-claim, Joseph Wilson, is now known to have been lying about his core claims.

    Likewise, the US [i]cannot[/i] misuse our UN veto power, by definition. The veto power eists to serve the national interest of the powers that founded the UN. The UN was [i]designed[/i] to be subservient to, and harmless to, the Big Five.

  5. If the list is the work of the "anti-America Left", then we can expect lots of troubles for the U.S., as I am not left by European standards at all. I listed what I remembered in a few minutes, without additional research and without using "left" sources.

    And Powell claimed to have strong evidence about Iraqi WMD that he didn't have at all. That's a lie, not a mistake.

    And no, not what some individual perceives as truth counts, but what the almost six billion other people believe.
    They act according to their perception of the world, not by anything else.