Analysts have pointed out that the 20-year war in Afghanistan has shown that the United States has failed to use force to solve the problem. They remind me of an Italian politician who, once the US invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001, said on TV that the White House was right to bomb that country in order to avoid women having to wear the burqa. To advocate indiscriminate violence in order to wipe out another – albeit targeted – violence is immoral and criminal.
The United States has had four failures and one success in dollars, which we will gradually examine in this article.
The situation in Afghanistan is still evolving. Its future development remains to be seen, but it is certain that the United States has failed completely.
We will examine, however, all the great failures the United States has experienced ranging from the military failure evidenced by the squalid retreat, to the collapse of American diplomacy and its discredited international reputation. As long as the United States does not change its hegemonic strategy, it will experience ever more failures in the future.
As the Americans hastily fled Kabul, the Western model led by them was once again hit hard. This has also highlighted the fact that every time the EU Member States bow to the orders of the White House and the Pentagon, they later have no other way but to apologise with nauseating whining and whimpers about human rights and welcoming the more fortunate people who have the money to flee.
Who does not remember the boat people? They were the wealthy South Vietnamese leaving Saigon as US helicopters rushed out of the country and the said boat people were rescued and taken care especially by France. On August 17, the US Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued a report stating that despite the huge investment and the heavy losses over the past two decades, due to a lack of understanding of Afghan politics and culture, and deliberately ignoring the Afghans’ will, the United States in Afghanistan has pursued and cherished an illusion “doomed to failure from the start”.
According to some observers, this 140-page report was written long before the United States hastily withdrew from Afghanistan and reveals in detail why the USA has invested so much in Afghanistan over the past two decades but ultimately failed.
The report points out that the policies of successive US governments have ignored the current situation in Afghanistan and the Afghan people’s will, and have tried to forcefully impose a development model that was seriously out of touch with reality in Afghanistan. That policy was doomed to failure from the start. According to the report, many US officials said that the United States had always “lacked the most basic understanding” of Afghanistan. The United States “did not know what to do there”, but despite the warnings of conscientious US experts, it failed to influence the previous Administrations that emphasised and bragged about their supposed successes there.
The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, pointed out in the report that US politicians were “very ignorant” about Afghanistan at the highest strategic level and often tried to “repress and remove the real Afghanistan” by applying the vision of their own Americanized “imaginary Afghanistan” and by behaving in a way that created reasons for conflict with the local population.
Sopko also stated that there were severe problems of corruption and waste of resources in the system on which the United States relied to operate in the country: many reconstruction projects in Afghanistan cost a lot of money but in the end remained inevitably unfinished.
The report also points out that over the past two decades the United States has been unable to successfully establish a sustainable operating model in Afghanistan while, with the hasty withdrawal, even the few fragile results achieved are destined to be wiped out.
Some commentators believe that the failure of the so-called US “Afghan model” has wiped away the false illusion of strength and prosperity that the USA has maintained through its grandiose soft power.
The rhetoric is always the same. We must treat the rogue countries as we did during World War II with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and militarist Japan. We must bomb and massacre them so that democracy may be established and they will become good.
It is a mistake to equate Germany, Italy and Japan with the Muslim countries of the Near and Middle East: the former already had democratic-bourgeois-liberal representative traditions. With the Meiji Restoration (1866-1869), Japan itself – while aiming at emancipating the country from Western powers – promoted a reform process inspired by Western state systems which, especially thanks to the contribution of Itō Hirobumi (1841-1909), culminated in the adoption of the Meiji Constitution, the first Constitution in the modern sense in Asia. My close friend and great Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gianni De Michelis – who, unlike the current Foreign Minister, did not go to the seaside during times of crisis – used to say that every problem of a State should be solved according to the will of its people and not with the coming of violent and beastly warmongers.
Ultimately, the United States launched the war in Afghanistan in the name of the fight against terrorism, but what did it achieve? Over the past twenty years, terrorist organisations in Afghanistan have multiplied. In the last two decades, thousands and thousands of Afghans have been killed or wounded under ‘friendly’ fire from the United States and its allies, and over ten million people have been displaced.
The war in Afghanistan has caused an average loss of 300 million US dollars per day for twenty years, costing over 2,260 billion US dollars. In addition to the countless deaths.
As of April 2021, there have been 47,245 civilian casualties; 66,000 Afghan soldiers and policemen dead; 51,191 deaths of the Taliban and other opponents, who, reading the Western press, seem to be immortal because they are the bad guys.
The US army suffered 2,448 casualties and 3,846 US mercenaries and foreign fighters died. The victims from other NATO Member States were 1,144. 444 aid workers and 72 journalists also died. All this has severely curtailed the country’s economic and social development.
Facts have shown once again that US military intervention and power policy since the 1950s have been unpopular and have ultimately failed.
A foreign model cannot be rigidly imposed on a country with a completely different history, culture and national conditions, as if its people were breeding chickens turning into lions over time. Solving problems with power and military means only increases problems not for the United States – which has seen its war industry flourish and thrive again over the last twenty years – but for the EU Member States, especially with the impending refugee and Covid-19 problems.
Whether it is Korea, Vietnam, the Latin American countries (Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, etc.), Iraq, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan, we have seen that wherever the US armed forces intervene, there remains unrest and division, broken families and devastation.
Probably even President Biden has realised it, as in a recent speech he has said he would not make the mistake of investing too much energy in other countries’ civil wars and reshaping other countries through endless military intervention.
Hopefully, the United States can seriously reflect on its policy of military intervention and violence at all times, and stop its unbridled interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of democracy and human rights, as well as stop undermining the peace and stability of other countries and regions. All this just to benefit its own war industry, the only one that has emerged successfully from the Afghan bloodshed.
With a view to sustaining its arms production, the United States has experienced four failures: a national political failure (its own citizens who died for nothing); a military one (the defeat); an international political failure (its allies’ bitterness and disappointment), and a severe international reputational damage (foreign citizens killed for imperialistic reasons and disregard for its allies – nothing to do with the Don Milani-style propagandistic slogan I care).
US wasp elites often take it for granted that US democracy is the way to prosperity and to solve all society’s ills. After the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001, the United States had the ambition to make Afghanistan a ‘model democratic country’, with the emergence of parties and movements, as well as the acceptance of Western negative values and the demolition of the manifestations of God. Instead, not only did it fail to unite all the ethnic groups, but it did intensify the contradictions within the Afghan elites, whom the USA itself had financed and trained (including the Taliban) when it came to repelling the Soviets from 1979 to 1991.
Looking back at the 20 years of war in Afghanistan, as well as to the chaos left in Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries, an increasing number of people is realising that the USA is far from being the ‘great country’ it bragged to be. It is often a destructive force: the “peace” they hope for is first of all taken away from peoples. The “democratic model” that its own soft power sells is reduced to a Munk-style mask for military intervention and power policy.
Buried under the “beacon of human rights” is the dark history of people in other countries, abused and killed by the war industry, as well as the painful daily lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians tortured by the flames of war, who are now seeking refuge in Europe, as walls are being erected in the USA to drive neighbouring Mexico away.
According to some reports, seven regiments of Afghan government forces have completely lost their combat effectiveness, and all troops have turned over their weapons and equipment to the Taliban. The Taliban have posted on the social networks pictures and videos of the rich trophies seized from several former US military bases. The Taliban are a force that represents the country and this is the reason why, at a certain point, the embarrassment of many Afghan soldiers in fighting compatriots in the pay of foreigners has become unbearable.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan was like the flight from Saigon: helicopters hovered uncertainly and overloaded in the air; the Embassy officials lowered the flag, burned confidential documents and the USA continued to send more soldiers to help with the evacuation: a film we have already seen. The hasty escape drew huge criticism from all quarters.
No matter how the US government hides and justifies the catastrophic policy of troop withdrawal. Not only has it drawn criticism in the USA itself, but it has also caused an unprecedented decline in the US international image and reputation. A protest was organised outside the White House on August 15 last. The protesters were Afghans with US citizenship and they showed their anger to protest against the government’s deception. That anger was also expressed by former US soldiers who had participated in the war in Afghanistan and sympathised with their fellow citizens of Afghan origin.
The world sees very clearly how the USA treats its allies in Afghanistan. Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said in an interview: “For twenty years, NATO and the USA have been training political forces in Afghanistan. Now they are shifting responsibility to the Afghan political leadership that they themselves have nurtured and educated”.
Hussein Haqqani, former Pakistani Ambassador to the USA, said: “The White House’s abandonment of the Afghan government will make many US allies reconsider their commitments vis-à-vis the United States”. A clear warning from one of Washington’s most important allies in the region, already prepared to recognise the new Taliban government.
This kind of diplomatic failure will not only affect President Biden’s already weak and uncertain Administration, but will also seriously damage the US credibility in the world.
The humiliating troop withdrawal drew criticism not only from US politicians, but also from US media. CNN ironically stated that the Biden Administration’s troop withdrawal and failure not only showed its mismanagement, but also revealed that “the US vision of building a functioning country is illusory”. Local politicians themselves call the USA in Afghanistan the biggest foreign policy failure in decades. What is the reason for the US failure in Afghanistan?
On August 17 last, the President of a NATO ally, the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, said in an exclusive interview: “I had already criticised the withdrawal at the NATO Summit held in London a year ago and now at the NATO Summit held in Brussels. I was looking Trump and Biden in the eye, telling them it was cowardice. I think that, by leaving Afghanistan, the USA has lost the prestige of a global leader and NATO itself has raised doubts about the legitimacy of its existence”. Would an Italian be able to say such things? Cowardice has no positive effects. Quite the reverse. It gives the Taliban unprecedented opportunities.
The lack of international credibility makes allies aware of not having to negotiate and accept US diktats, but of only having to take care of themselves and their foreign policy.
After coming to power, President Biden’s Administration announced “The USA is back on the international stage”, thus declaring to the world that multilateralism would regain its place. Nevertheless, on the issue of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration did not negotiate with its allies (Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, etc.), but decided and created the fait accompli and forced the others to follow its own withdrawal. Many Afghans who had worked for the United States were abandoned. The New York Times reported that this meant “the end of the US era” and was “another blow to the US image and reputation abroad”.
Before the fall of Saigon (April 30, 1975), South Vietnam’s President Nguyen Van Thieu had denounced the USA for betraying his country, as “inhuman, untrustworthy and irresponsible”. The same is now taking place in Afghanistan. The USA just wants to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. As French defence analyst François Heisbourg commented: “The idea that the USA is unreliable will become more deeply entrenched because of Afghanistan.” We believe that if the USA does not learn from Afghanistan as well, it will record ever more failures.
According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Survey published on August 9, 2021, when asked whether they support or oppose the decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, 70% of American respondents support it and 29% oppose it.
“The Stars and Stripes“, the Defence Department’s daily newspaper, published on August 16 last, ran a headline on its front page: “It’s over: the West’s 20-year experiment in transforming Afghanistan is over“. The end of this flirtation is shocking. Afghanistan has been thrown away as an iniquity by the USA, and its future direction remains to be seen. But whatever the way forward for Afghanistan, the USA will never be able to erase its extremely shameful history.
To conclude, let us take a quick look at the international relations of the former Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1996-2001), ruled by the Taliban. It was fully recognised by three US allies, namely Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as by the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (1994-2000) and the uncertain Turkmenistan.
Who do you think will recognise the resurrected Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan today? In my opinion the most loyal US friends in the Near and Middle East and many others, since the Taliban – at least in these forty-two years that have elapsed since the Soviet invasion – have proved to be the strongest and the most solid. In international relations, facts count, not speeches to become an MP or Senator and win the votes of gullible people.
Review of indo pacific strategy of the United States
President Biden strategy is based on, “Free and open indo pacific enduring and flourishing world ahead.”-President Biden statement on QUAD summit on September 24,2021
Indo pacific is the home of the United states so they have really acute policies in this region. The united states have announced the Indo pacific strategy and the role of US in the coming 21st century for the betterment of the indo pacific and its stability and how can they work for this region and how they can utilize this region for the better cause of the world. The united states alliances system has deeply helped the world and they have tried their best to support and spread the agenda of the liberalism regarding open market, free and openness, connectedness, prosperity of the world, security of the world with respect to traditional and nontraditional security dynamics of the world which includes climate green security and they also tend to reflect on the post pandemic world order.
Since the united states is in the indo pacific region itself. This region geographically touches its coast from pacific to Indian coast and economically is the emerging yet emerged dominating hub of 2/3rd economy of the world and seven major militaries of the world. It also owns and supports $900 billion foreign direct investments and even it supports 300 million jobs by US. For US this regions stability is really crucial and important. Any damage to this region is considered as a threat to US itself and for US the stability of this region is really crucial and important as this region provide opportunities and making it a hegemon of the world and also thus increases risks for US either. This region got more important to US after world war2 and after end of the cold war and even in during presidency of president George Bush and also in the trumps era and also in the presidency of the president Biden.
Since president Biden is focused to invest more in every corner of the world keeping it engaged and integrated focusing from the northeast Asia to southeast Asia and from north to south including indo pacific. Since he stated that,
“We will focus in every corner of the region, from northeast Asia to southeast Asia including south Asia to Oceania and pacific islands.”
this defines the importance and utility of this region to the US.
Indo pacific strategy is based on 5 principles that motivates US to work on. These are The indo pacific strategy Is based on:
- Free and open indo pacific.
- Building connections in the region and beyond.
- Prosperity of the indo pacific region
- Security of indo pacific region
- Building regional resilience in the 21st century
Advance a free and open indo pacific:
It is in the vital interests of the us to advance a free and open indo pacific region and they are working to advance this home region where government can make their own choices and become consistent under the obligation of international law. They are working hard to enforce democratic type of government in this region and enforcing democratic institutions and establishing a vibrant civil society and press free society. They are also trying hard to expose corruptions and drive reforms. They are also trying hard to make the regions skies and seas according to international law and are trying hard to achieve major advance technologies like cyber space and internet.
Build connections within and beyond region:
It is believed that free and open indo pacific can be achieved only if we build connections within and beyond the indo pacific region through economy, trade and organizations and institutions etc. since US is making adaptability through alliance system and through trade. Well US is looking forward to deepen its treaty alliances with japan, Thailand, Philippines and republic of Korea and looking forward to strengthen its relations with India, Taiwan, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam and pacific islands. They are also empowering QUAD and ASEAN states. US is also supporting India to achieve the race of regional hegemony. US is also expanding its diplomatic presence in the indo pacific zones and expanding it in a futile way.
Drive indo pacific prosperity:
The indo pacific is the home of Americans and so their prosperity is linked with the stability and prosperity of indo pacific regions. The real fact behind the investments to encourage innovation, strengthen economic competitiveness, produce good-paying jobs, rebuild supply chains, and expand economic opportunities for middle-class families almost for 1.5 billion people in the Indo-Pacific that will join the global middle class this decade. We will drive Indo-Pacific prosperity. The indo pacific regions can get prosperous by developing new trade and environmental traditions and by stabilizing traditional and nontraditional paradigms and domains in this region. Also by governing the digital economies and by introducing new digital framework in this region. US is introducing advance and resilient and more secure supply chains that are more diverse and predictable and open to the new world and new technologies. US is thriving hard to make investments and decarburizations and clean energy. They are tend to promote free and fair and open trade and investment through APEC which means Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation’s.
Bolster Indo- pacific security:
US has maintained its militia in this indo-pacific region for more than 75 years to maintain the security of this region and has kept its defense in this region to keep its security, stability and peace secure. The United States is extending and modernizing and enhancing its capabilities to defend their interest and to deter aggression in this region. US is bolstering this region and deterring the aggression and coercion by advancing integrated deterrence and deepening cooperation and enhancing integration with their allies and partners. US is also maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan strait and they are really about it. US is also innovating to operate rapidly in evolving threats of environment, cyber and other traditional and nontraditional domains of this domain. United states is determined to strengthen its extended deterrence and coordination with Japanese allies and Korean peninsula. They are looking forward to deliver on AUKUS. US is also working with congress to fund the pacific deterrence initiative and maritime initiative.
Build regional resilience in 21st century to transitional threats:
The indo pacific major challenge is climate security and glacier melting’s which is leading to consistent rise in sea levels. Similarly, covid is also inflicting a painful and is also an economic troll across the region. This region is also vulnerable to natural disasters, recourse scarcity, internal threats and major governance challenges so US is firm to build the resilience to 21st century transitional threats by working its allies and partners to develop 2030 and 2050 targets, strategies and plans and policies by limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius. They are also firm to reduce regional vulnerabilities and its impact of climate change and environmental degradations and also working on health security after COVID-19 pandemic and its mass destruction in this zone.
The US is looking forward to work in strengthen and work in these zones which are as:
- They are driving and working more resources to the indo pacific and are determined to more transnational and individual based interactions.
- Leading indo-pacific economic framework
- Reinforcing deterrence
- Strengthening unified ASEAN.
- Supporting India’s regional leadership.
- Deliver on QUAD.
- Work on US- Japan-ROK cooperation.
- Firm to partner to work on resilience in the pacific islands.
- Supporting good governance and accountability in this region.
- Supporting open, secure and more trustworthy technologies in this region.
US have entered significant time of Americans international strategy after the world war that their ambitions, goals and policies have become clearer in this region. The US will ascend to our authority charge on discretion, security, financial aspects, environment, pandemic reaction, and innovation. The Indo-Pacific’s future relies upon our decisions of United States and US strategies. “The US role in this region must be effective and enduring than ever for this region and the world.”
America’s Exceptionalism in Mass-Shooting and Its Culture of Rugged Individualism
Amid an unrelenting surge of gun massacres, many have wondered why the United States- the world’s leading country in mass shootings over the last century, is more prone to mass shootings than any other country. Gun violence, though, is prevalent in many parts of the world, for instance in most parts of Latin America. But in America, no form of violence is seen as more uniquely American than public mass shootings by “lone-wolf” gunmen. According to Gun Violence Archive, 39 mass shootings have already taken place across the country in just the first three weeks of 2023. Last year the country witnessed around 647 cases of mass shooting with the consequence of more than 44,000 death tolls due to gun violence overall.
Like its political establishment, American public discourse has long firmly been divided over what causes this epidemic. The critics of this national sickness focus their fire on the second amendment of the American constitution and the nefarious political influence of the National Rifles Association (NRF). But here comes down to the question: will a mere constitutional amendment and the neutralization of special interest groups like the NRF lead to the solution to the endemic prevalence of lone-wolf mass shootings? The answer is: not likely, as the problem is deeply rooted in America’s culture itself: the culture of rugged individualism built on its deep-seated historical myth.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, rugged individualism is defined as “the combination of individualism and anti-statism … a prominent feature of American culture with deep roots in the country’s history of frontier settlement.” While individualism, as noted, may be conducive to innovation and resource mobilization, it can also undermine collective action, with potentially adverse social consequences. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was seen how America’s rugged individualistic mindset fomented by its frontier culture hampered the state responses to the pandemic, with many Americans having defied mandatory mask-wearing and vaccination programs.
Likewise, the gun is a great emblem and lethal offspring of American individualism. The nation has long valorized masculine heroes –violent frontiersmen or Hollywoodized American Archetype “White Loners” – who impose their will on the community’s enemies with violence. Added to that deep-seated historical ideal and cultural sickness are the deteriorating trend in kinship traditions and ever-declining “rational mobility”- a condition that helps establish bonds of support beyond immediate families on the basis of socially engaging emotions such as empathy warmth, trust, affection, etc.
Self-serving politicians and gun advocates often ridiculously propose giving more arms into the hands of “the good guys” to thwart “the bad guys with guns.” The Americans’ dire wishes for gun possession, however, stem less from their sense of personal or communal security rather more from an egocentric individualistic cultural reasoning that lacks the prioritization of collective communal safety. The unshakeable emotional and individualistic values Americans attach to guns frequently override concerns about the nation’s collective health and safety.
The exercise of unfettered individualism is also seen in many parts of the western world, like in Europe; but nowhere in the world is this so infested by historical myth and pathological strains as in America- what the prominent criminologist Adam Lankford called “the uniquely American quality.” And where the United States is stunningly divergent from the rest of the world is the confluence of individualistic culture and the easiest access to guns. In no other part of the world gun access and rugged individualistic culture interact in the same way.
Although many European countries share the same cultural forces that produce aggrieved social outcasts. But those countries erect formidable hurdles on the way of purchasing guns legally that are quite unheard of in the United States: longer waiting periods, higher insurance costs, full-blown psychiatric evaluations, gun safety courses, etc. Resultantly, the country has more weapons than people: one in three adults possesses at least one firearm, and almost one in two adults resides in a home with a firearm.
But the prevalence of guns alone does not account for U.S. exceptionalism in mass shootings. For example, like the United States, much of Latin America is saturated with firearms but, despite high rates of gun violence, mass shootings there by a “lone wolf” gunman are exceedingly rare. And experts pointed to the cultural difference as a powerful factor playing out in creating a huge disparity in the number of mass shooting cases between the two regions.
In America, ever-increasing personal and economic struggles combined with the inherent state structural tension and identity crisis continue to produce aggrieved social outcasts. On top of this, the ever-exacerbating political climate plagued by partisan divide, racial toxicity, and xenophobic bigotry has also been influencing socially and politically aggrieved outcasts, due to the absence of alternative social redressing mechanisms, to seek recourse by resorting to mass violence. Here, rugged individualism works in creating the very roots of virile fantasy to violence, a toxic political milieu in fueling grievances, and finally easy access to guns in triggering off those grievances in the form of mass shooting.
American Democracy Remains Under Peril
The democratic system of government in the United States underwent an unprecedented test two years ago when supporters of President Donald Trump attempted to reverse his election loss—some through illegal schemes, others through a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. American democracy has started to function better and its prospects have improved since that moment in history.
Extreme election deniers suffered defeats in crucial swing states like Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2022 elections, which were successfully performed. The riots that attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the role that former US President Donald J. Trump played in inciting them were thoroughly documented by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol. Elections for president were held peacefully in Colombia while candidates with questionable commitments to democracy were rejected in Brazil and France.
The most powerful authoritarian governments in the world are currently having difficulties. The idea of a resurgent Moscow was dispelled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s disastrously planned and carried out war in Ukraine. China’s attempt to overtake the United States as the world’s greatest economy and most powerful nation has failed due to President Xi Jinping’s poor mismanagement of the COVID-19 outbreak. Xi’s domestic popularity has been further weakened by China’s real estate boom, a 20 percent young unemployment rate, a politically motivated crackdown on the private sector, and soaring local government debt.
However, despite their diminished power, Beijing and Moscow continue to constitute a significant threat to democracy. They will need to disparage other forms of administration and criticize their democratic rivals more and more as their domestic issues get worse. Beijing and Moscow are launching a campaign of deception that targets and amplifies the vulnerability of American democracy as a result of this. Russia and China both, This propaganda campaign tries to delegitimize Western-style democracy in order to quell calls for democratic reforms. In the long run, it aims to establish a new, fragmented international order that prioritizes “national sovereignty” over human rights. It also aims to oust and support friendly governments, as well as combat the growing perception that cooperating with Beijing and Moscow has negative effects on local citizens.
Because Western democracies are weak, Beijing and Moscow are supported in this endeavour. Trump keeps questioning the validity of the 2020 election, and he might soon be charged with a crime. Gridlock, partisan investigations and impeachment attempts, as well as cynical new initiatives to erode rather than restore confidence in the American voting system, may well dominate Capitol Hill for the next two years. Conspiracy theories and misinformation continue to abound on social media, and corporate content moderation attempts have fallen short. With the quick development of generative AI software, which can create deep fakes in which famous personalities appear to be talking and doing things they never said or did, the assault on reality is likely to get exponentially worse. For the two superpowers of disinformation in the world, China and Russia, all of this is a blessing. The propaganda is more effective the more reliable the content.
The decline of democracy in the US aids in the delegitimization of democracy by Beijing and Moscow. American democracy must be strengthened at home if it is to once again serve as a model that may inspire others. The fight for global soft power can only be won by Washington at that point.
Both domestic and foreign security issues are raised by the state of the American democracy. Principal authoritarian rivals of the United States, China and Russia, have taken advantage of (and made worse) America’s democratic divides and struggles in the race for world leadership. In order to recover the upper hand, the United States must simultaneously strengthen its own democracy and raise its profile as an advocate for democracy abroad. The democratic movement needs to attack.
A significant investment in American soft power will be needed for this. Public diplomacy spending in the United States peaked at $2.5 billion in 1994 (inflation-adjusted) and nearly surpassed that amount in 2010 and 2011. However, since then, as new problems have emerged, American efforts have remained unchanged, with total expenditures only amounting to $2.23 billion in 2020.
Washington must reenter the struggle for international soft power in a way that upholds American ideals. It must convey the truth in ways that appeal to and influence people around the world. The objective must be to advance democratic values, concepts, and movements in addition to effectively combating misinformation with the truth. Multiple trustworthy streams of information are required to combat misinformation and report the truth that autocracies repress. Additionally, they must be independent; even though the US government may give them financial support, they must run without editorial oversight. They will appear independent, which they are, in this manner.
One option would be to change the Voice of America to resemble the British Broadcasting Corporation more closely. Its goal should be to serve as a role model for the values of the American democratic experiment by offering completely unbiased news on all nations, including the United States. Truth, independence, and expertise in reporting are necessary, but they are not sufficient to win the information battle. A decentralised, pluralistic web of high-quality media is also necessary. In autocracies, local media are ideally situated to collect and distribute evidence of corruption,
Serious policy mistakes and violations of human rights. In order to report the news and provide critical commentary in the absence of media freedom, the United States and its democratic allies must elevate and strengthen the underfunded local media. Funding for public interest media will be needed in the billions of dollars, much of which should go through the nongovernmental International Fund for Public Interest Media (including media operating in exile). The fund is a nonpartisan alliance of multinational foundations that can provide funding for regional independent media while preserving their independence.
Together with its democratic allies, Washington should explore fresh geopolitical and technological avenues for assisting closed regimes to overcome Internet censorship and social media surveillance. Autocracies will be less stable when those living in them have easier access to unbiased information and more secure means of communication with one another. In order to prevent autocracies from seizing control of international Internet standards and protocols, democracies must engage in active and coordinated diplomacy. The biggest flagrantly false and dangerous content must be removed. Social media companies must also take more action to combat the malicious manipulation of their platforms by foreign governments. And by tightening social media regulation, the US and other democracies should support these initiatives. TikTok should be removed from American devices as a first step.
But the democracy in America is not secure. The last Congress failed to pass legislation aimed at reducing the influence of money, strengthening and expanding voting rights, ending gerrymandering, ensuring ethical standards for elected officials, and enhancing election security, and there is little chance that it will succeed in the following one. Even worse, numerous states have taken action to limit voting rights and make it more challenging for minorities to cast ballots. Most concerning, several state legislatures with Republican control, led by North Carolina, are attempting to construct a doctrine of “independent state legislatures,” which would allow these bodies to rig election results and even draw partisan gerrymandered voting districts.without being subject to judicial, executive, or redistricting commission oversight. If domestic politics in the United Nations turn into a collection of one-party states, the country will be unable to confront autocracies on a global scale. The revival of American democracy and domestic achievement will be key to countering autocratic deception.
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