Hlutverk Bandaríkjanna

Fareed Zakaria, ritsjóri Newsweek skrifar frábæra grein í The New Yorker, sem ég mæli eindregið með. Hann fjallar um áhrif Bandaríkjanna, sem máttugustu þjóðar veraldar, á mjög áhugaverðan hátt. Greinin er löng en hún er þess virði að lesa.

Hann segir meðal annars:

Without this cloak of respectability, America will face a growing hostility around the world. During the Cold War, many nations disliked or disagreed with America—over Vietnam, for example—but they despised the Soviet Union. The enemy of their enemy was, in the end, their friend. But today, with no alternative ideology and no competitors, America stands alone in the world. Everyone else sits in its shadow. This doesn’t mean that other countries will form military alliances against America; that would be pointless. But countries will obstruct American purposes whenever and in whatever way they can, and the pursuit of American interests will have to be undertaken through coercion rather than consensus. Anti-Americanism will become the global language of political protest—the default ideology of opposition—unifying the world’s discontents and malcontents, some of whom, as we have discovered, can be very dangerous.

“It is better to be feared than loved,” Machiavelli wrote. But he was wrong. The Soviet Union was feared by its allies; the United States was loved, or, at least, liked. Look who’s still around. America has transformed the world with its power but also with its ideals. When China’s pro-democracy protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square, they built a makeshift figure that suggested the Statue of Liberty, not an F-16. America remains the universal nation, the country people across the world believe should speak for universal values. Its image may not be as benign as Americans think, but it is, in the end, better than the alternatives. That is what has made America’s awesome power tolerable to the world for so long. The belief that America is different is its ultimate source of strength. If we mobilize all our awesome powers and lose this one, we will have hegemony—but will it be worth having?