Has America’s Political Dysfunction Undermined Its Position as the World’s Remaining Superpower?
When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating, it blamed Washington’s political discord and dysfunction for many of America’s current woes – and it is not alone. Following the debt limit debate and the stock market plunge, Americans are questioning the strength of leadership at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and the ability of the White House and Congress to put partisanship aside for the overall good of the country. China, Russia, and even a number of U.S. allies are questioning whether the United States is a superpower in decline. Has U.S. domestic political and economic dysfunction damaged America’s standing abroad? Is the U.S. a fading superpower?
On August 16, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted a panel discussion examining the impact of the U.S. domestic political discord on America’s foreign policy strength and its overall standing abroad. Panelists included Brookings Senior Fellows Robert Kagan, Fiona Hill, Thomas Mann, Kenneth Lieberthal and Mauricio Cárdenas. Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, moderated the discussion.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.
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[The recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee report on Russian meddling] is a thorough and comprehensive view of Russia’s decades-long political warfare against the West. The lesson learned from Europe, which has borne the brunt of Russian attacks, is that Russia can be deterred but that requires leadership. For that reason, this report would have sent a much stronger message to the Trump administration if it had Republican support. As is, it is an urgent warning and a call to action, but it may fall on deaf ears.
It’s the first time, maybe in history, key advisers have gone into the administration to stop the president, not to enable him.