I have held for years now that the damage brought about by the reign of George W. Bush can most clearly be measured by our (the United States’) diminished standing in the world. This stretches will beyond the war in Iraq. Put plainly, while he has pursued a course of unilateralism bordering on the isolationist, the rest of the world has figured out it can get by just fine—and maybe even better—without us.
I see dozens of examples of this each and every day. The one at the link below simply casts the situation in usably clear relief. Everyone’s doing business with each other—Brazil, China, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada—while we sit in the corner. Even regarding projects which would clearly be of benefit to us.
But here’s the catch: what could we do about it we wanted to?? We have very little influence and even less money. Our coffers have been bled dry by inept management and the pursuit of a pointless war. And while we’re talking, it’s no coincidence that China has $10 billion to simply throw at something, anything it chooses really (instead of, oh, trying to save what’s left of life here in the good ol’ homeland).
They got it from us.