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The Slippery Slope of Isolationism: The Need for Allies in Military Operations

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America has had allies since before the country was a legitimate, legally recognized nation. In nearly every major conflict the United States has undertaken, they have been joined alongside fellow nations and governments, holding similar views and desiring similar goals. Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, the U.S. has taken on a more internationalist role than ever before and become the prominent world power. With the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump, America’s internationalist stance has increased, becoming far more isolationist and seemingly abandoning our allies abroad, much to the worry of his own staff. America, especially now with threats from foreign terrorists, cybercriminals, and human security matters, is in dire need of allies and needs to have a strong coalition of countries that are each masters within their own domains and are capable of supporting the United States when it is necessary to the safety of the globe. Increased relationships with those who have only tangentially been our allies too, built upon making deals that are mutually beneficial and negotiating so that both nations get something in return, is immensely important to the conduct of an effective foreign policy and to becoming a strong nation.

To better illuminate my point, I will be exploring two conflicts in which a coalition force comprised of, in some cases delicately, assembled alliances significantly changed the outcome of a given situation, the American Revolutionary War against the British Empire from 1775 to 1783 and the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995.

The American Revolution

The American Revolutionary War is a well-researched event in American history, arguably being the most significant military conflict in the history of the nation and one that the average American is most familiar with. While revolutionary sentiments within America were well-founded since the first English settlers arrived, the actual war began in response to, “colonial opposition to British attempts to impose greater control over the colonies and to make them repay the crown for its defense of them primarily during the French and Indian War”. This more overt control (coming in the form of tax acts, physical troop emplacements, etc.) by the British Empire eventually led to skirmishes with civilians and failed diplomatic efforts before escalating into full-scale war in April of 1775 at Lexington and Concord. Because the American rebels would be going up against the largest and, at the time, most advanced military force in the globe, they needed allies to support their overall combat and combat support units. In enemies of the British Empire, they found allies in the French and Spanish powers, longtime adversaries of the British.

In 1778, “the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce” resulted in a partnership between the United States and the French Republic and provided, “provisions the U.S. commissioners had originally requested [a full alliance], but also included a clause forbidding either country to make a separate peace with Britain, as well as a secret clause allowing for Spain, or other European powers, to enter into the alliance. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce promoted trade between the United States and France and recognized the United States as an independent nation,” along with, “provid[ing] supplies, arms and ammunition, uniforms, and, most importantly, troops and naval support to the beleaguered Continental Army”. These treaties, “greatly facilitated U.S. independence…The French fleet proceeded to challenge British control of North American waters and, together with troops and arms, proved an indispensable asset in the revolutionaries’ victory at the Siege of Yorktown, which ended the war”. By the war’s end in 1783, the French had provided the United States with over 1 billion livres (roughly $ 240 billion USD in 2020) in direct financial aid along with fighting on land and sea.

The French were not the only ones to provide aid and support to the United States in their time of need. The Spanish Empire provided aid to the U.S. in a very similar format to their French counterparts, doing so in conjunction with the French at certain points. In 1776, prior to a formal declaration of war against Great Britain in 1779, Spain sent, “one million livres tournois [through a] Franco-Spanish dummy corporation”. From 1776 to 1778, Spain again sent, “7,944,806 reales” to the United States as a form of financial aid. Spain’s Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez, assisted in the fighting from a military standpoint, allowing, “shipments of weapons, medicine and fabric for military uniforms to be sent to the Continental Army via the Mississippi…[and attacking] British West Florida, winning it back for his king and indirectly benefiting the Americans by forcing the British to fight on two fronts”. Throughout the war, both in a covert and overt capacity, prior to a formal Spanish declaration of war against the British Empire, Galvez aided the Americans by providing arms, cloth, medicine, financial aid, and manpower to assist in gaining territories and assisting American forts and bases.

Having allies in this instance allowed the United States the support it needed (militarily, economically, politically) to overcome the British. Had the French not utilized their own navies to fight against the British, then the United States would never have truly been able to attack the British in a naval capacity. Had the Spanish not engaged the British in the Caribbean with their naval power or assisted in rooting the British out of Florida, then America would have had to deal with another front which would have extended supply lines and forced the Americans to overcome the treacherous swamps of Florida. As well, the financial aid the French and Spanish provided to the U.S. was undeniably beneficial in that America could utilize weaponry on par with British armaments and engage the British on more familiar fronts and leave more difficult campaigns (that of Florida and naval campaigns) to their allies. America’s allies of British and Spain greatly assisted in the gaining of American independence and, without their assistance, it is debatable if America would have been able to attain their independence from the Empire.

The Bosnian War

Examining a more recent conflict, the Bosnian War of 1992 to 1995 is a prime example of how allied power can change the outcome of a conflict and is an essential part of a successful military campaign.

The Bosnian War began over decades old animosities dating back to the First World War, animosities built upon ethnocentrism and Islamophobia (for the most part, these were ideas promulgated by domestic leaders with Yugoslav countries). These were exacerbated in the 1940s by Soviet style economic, social, and political developments (which included the initial abolition of Muslim traditions before the government became more accepting of these traditions and ethnicity as a whole in the 1960s) and these tensions continued with “escalating political and economic crises,” which in turn powered nationalistic tendencies which divided themselves along ethnic lines, the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. Due to the aforementioned developments and tensions, domestic political leaders who desired to become more influential in their respective districts, states, and countries and hold more overall power, “endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda…[exploiting] a growing wave of Serbian nationalism in order to strengthen centralized rule in the SFRY [Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]”. The end result of this tension resulted in the Serbs breaking away from the Croats and Muslims within Bosnia-Herzegovina who desired to split away from Yugoslavia and form their own country; atrocities became commonplace and war crimes were committed by both regular army units under control of the government and paramilitary, militia-type forces. It was obvious that something needed to be done to halt these abhorrent criminal actions.

Despite the fact that U.S. and the UN took an obscenely long time to react to such atrocities, “NATO [under U.S. command] intervened in August and September 1995 with air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets, while allied Bosniak and Croat forces launched a simultaneous offensive in western Bosnia”. This aerial bombardment effectively brought the bloodshed to an end and, while Bosnia is still a country with sharp divides and is not the most stable politically, the loss of more Muslim and Bosnian Croat life was prevented.

The usage of an alliance in this instance, a coalition via NATO of countries like the U.S., Germany, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, France and various other countries from Europe and Asia, did force the genocide, atrocities, and the war itself to a halt. Without a robust force comprised of like-minded nations, had the force calling for such a bombardment been a single lone country (say the United States), then it would have been easy to ignore. However, due to the United States’ persistence in gathering a coalition force and in response to massacres like Srebrenica which could not be ignored, the war was brought to an end solely due to the fact that a coalition force had been created under the banner of an international organization. Having allies can change the outcome of a situation and, in this instance, the United States was right to intervene with a coalition force and prevent bloodshed, instead of doing so purely with their own land and air forces as it would raise questions about the intentions of the operation.

Conclusion

The United States of America, quite simply, does still need allies, especially in this current era. Allies are a beneficial tool in fostering domestic support as the public at large can view the inclusion of nations (like Germany, the United Kingdom, France, etc.) in a task force or military endeavor as a sign that other countries agree with the consensus that the goal of an operation is an essential one that will bring about conditions in line with America’s stated goals.

In an article for The National Interest, the Latvian Ambassador to the United States voices his opinion on the War in Afghanistan, citing that alliances are essential to succeeding in the nation. He writes, “it is smart to invest in NATO members participating in the Afghan War. All NATO member states, including Latvia, are real contributors to the Afghan effort…It goes without saying that NATO is the most trusted, well-tested instrument of the transatlantic partnership. Today there is a broad consensus in Washington that the United States needs allies and partners abroad…I am confident that mutual support is the only credible political option for defence of our homelands, values and vital interests”.

The Ambassador’s mentioning of a “broad consensus in Washington” is also correct.

DefenseOne reported in the fall of last year that, “69 percent of Americans support an active role for the United States. It is among the largest percentages recorded since polling began in 1974. Close to two thirds of Americans — including Republicans and Democrats — disagree with the direction of U.S. foreign policy… Three-quarters of all Americans, or 74 percent, believe that preserving U.S. military alliances with other countries helps make the U.S. safer… all-time-high percentages of Democrats (86%) and Republicans (62%) say NATO remains essential to U.S. security. Nearly eight in ten Americans (78%) believe that Washington should maintain or increase its commitment to the transatlantic alliance”.

The article continues to note that most in the American public believe that the strategic alliances the U.S. has made with countries like South Korea, Germany, and Japan are important to protecting U.S. national security interests. Most Americans understand that alliances are beneficial to protecting our own national security, improving our defenses, allowing the ability for more intelligence to be gathered, for more diplomatic avenues to be opened, for interventions in foreign countries to be made easier, and for less home troops on the ground to be involved in combat activities.

Some of this was covered and expanded upon in an article from The Hill written by Joseph Collins, a former U.S. Army Colonel and the Director of the Center for Complex Operations of the National Defense University. He writes, “First, allies add to U.S. power…our NATO allies and partners provided 44 percent of the coalition troops in Afghanistan… Second, allies add to the legitimacy of U.S. policy. When the United States is backed by over 50 nations, it creates a critical mass for security decisions and coalitions in international organizations… Third, allies and coalition partners contribute a rarely noted asset to U.S. operations: geography. In any conflict in the world, the United States normally has open access to the territory, harbors, airfields, bases and material assistance of more than 50 countries… Fourth, the global nature of U.S. alliances and partnerships presents our major adversaries with a problem…Our committed allies number in the many dozens and theirs are as rare as hen’s teeth… This basic fact enhances deterrence, especially when day-to-day defense and diplomatic relations enhance the credibility of the implicit threat from existing forces. Finally, alliances accelerate information and intelligence sharing… Alliances help to tear down firewalls between nations as well as between the bureaucracies inside of them”.

America having allies has worked well for the country in the past. During our own revolution, military, financial, and physical aid from France and Spain both allowed the revolution to succeed and for the nation itself to be created. American support in the Bosnian War allowed more atrocities to be averted and for the U.S. to stand on solid ground in an unequivocal stance by having the backing of multiple allied countries. There is an abundance of other examples in which allies with America have played a role in changing the outcome of a conflict or outright resolving conflicts; another example of this was the almost global backing of the United States in their decision to invade Iraq during the First Gulf War was an extreme show of force and a clear sign that this aggression would not be tolerated (though actual, physical combat was not dissuaded due to Saddam’s intentions). America’s alliances allow the U.S. to have a much stronger position to negotiate and maneuver from, to gain access to more information, the ability to negotiate from a larger diplomatic standing, and have broad support to pressure countries into diplomatic methods without physical violence.

To quote former Marine Corps General and Secretary of Defense James Mattis from an article in DefenseOne, “Nations with allies thrive, and nations without them die”.

Alan Cunningham is a graduate of Norwich University's Master of Arts in International Relations program. He is currently working as an AP U.S. History Teacher in San Antonio, but intends to join the U.S. Navy as an Officer in the Summer of 2022. He has been accepted to a PhD in History program with the University of Birmingham in the UK. He has been published in the Jurist, the U.S. Army War College's War Room, Security Magazine, and the Asia-Pacific Security Magazine, in addition to many others.

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Review of indo pacific strategy of the United States

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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:

  1. Free and open indo pacific.
  2. Building connections in the region and beyond.
  3. Prosperity of the indo pacific region
  4. Security of indo pacific region
  5. 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.

Way forward:

The US is looking forward to work in strengthen and work in these zones which are as:

  1. They are driving and working more resources to the indo pacific and are determined to more transnational and individual based interactions.
  2. Leading indo-pacific economic framework
  3. Reinforcing deterrence
  4. Strengthening unified ASEAN.
  5. Supporting India’s regional leadership.
  6. Deliver on QUAD.
  7. Work on US- Japan-ROK cooperation.
  8. Firm to partner to work on resilience in the pacific islands.
  9. Supporting good governance and accountability in this region.
  10. Supporting open, secure and more trustworthy technologies in this region.

Conclusion:

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.”

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America’s Exceptionalism in Mass-Shooting and Its Culture of Rugged Individualism

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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.      

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American Democracy Remains Under Peril

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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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