Home Contact Us  

US & South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5081, 13 July 2016

Eagle Eye

US: “Losing Respect” Abroad
Chintamani Mahapatra
Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Professor, School of International Studies, JNU, & Columnist, IPCS

The qualified deterioration of the US’ global influence has been debated for long, but the US leadership seems worried that the country is fast losing respect in the world as well. Of course, when some Americans keep repeating that the US possesses the most powerful military in the world, it does not create respect, but fear. Respect is inspired by one’s economic performance, political ideals and cooperative social fabric.
The economic performance of the US is anything but spectacular. It has been experiencing the Great Recession for the last seven years. The unemployment rate is high and is more than the government statistics suggest. Leaders across the political divide complain about jobs travelling abroad and promise to create more jobs for their citizens. According to reports, about seven million people out of 62 million in the age group of 25-54 are neither employed nor looking for employment. The opportunity cost of two million people in US prisons is not common knowledge, but it is real. 

This problem has a spill-over effect on social stability as well. It is extremely difficult and increasingly so for someone who has been arrested or convicted to get a job in any company. That means the prisoners in the US, highest among the developed countries, will remain jobless for the rest of their lives. They will, in other words, be passengers in the revolving door connecting prisons with the streets.
Significantly, African-Americans constitute the largest section of the prison population, disproportionate to their numbers in the census figures. During the last several months the killing of African-Americans in the streets of the US by policemen has generated a deep sense of insecurity among the people and resentment among minority communities. The assassination of five white policemen in Dallas and its repercussion across US cities reflect anger, frustration and insecurity in the society. 
This has in turn infected the political space in the US. Several leaders belonging to various political parties have expressed diverse opinions on the Dallas incident. Some have expressed sympathy with the police department, some have called for serious investigation and some have even spoken about the need for reforms in the system. While President Barack Obama opines that the situation is not as bad as it was during the 1960s, presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party Donald Trump sees a deep racial divide in the society. Everyone, nevertheless, calls for national unity and living the American dream. 
The current US social and economic scene, however, does not inspire the international community. American ideals and treatment of minority communities is not reflected in the present state of race relations, and nor does the existing state of the US economy encourage other countries to follow. The days of the Washington Consensus as an economic model are over.
On the other hand, the Chinese economic performance has certainly brought international respect and admiration to that country. Generally speaking, US’loss cannot be China’s gain and vice versa. But the evolving Sino-US Cold Confrontation negates that general proposition. China has undoubtedly gained admiration abroad in recent decades, especially around the time the US began to lose it.
The 9/11 terrorist attack on the US, harmful fallout of the US invasion of Iraq and then their exit, inability of the US and NATO forces to bring order to Afghanistan after fifteen years of intervention and the mishandling of the Arab Spring culminating in the rise of the Islamic State (IS) have all been perceived as US’ weaknesses. 

In the meantime, Russia’s geopolitical gains in Eurasia and China’s awe-inspiring assertiveness in the East and South China Seas have certainly made these countries less popular and more feared, but the regional countries, particularly the victims of Russian and Chinese muscle flexing, have little expectation from the US except loud lip service. The US is neither in a position to confront Russia except in imposing token or mild sanctions, nor in preventing China from reclaiming islands and militarising some of those in the South China Sea. 

The respect that the US commands from various allies and strategic partners is in serious danger of further erosion. These allies expect the US to protect their interests from being allegedly infringed upon by regional powers, such as Russia and China. But the complex interdependence in the international system has tied US’ hands from behind. The US has deeper economic cooperation with China, and Russia has expansive energy and economic cooperation with US’European allies to the extent that makes it difficult for the NATO members to play the same tune with Washington on critical issues. 

Thus, foreign policy intricacies, domestic, social and political divides, and the economic recession pose serious challenges to the US position in the world. In addition, the Donald Trump phenomenon appears to have frightened its allies around the globe.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Testing the Trump-Modi Partnership

India-US: Convergences and Divergences

100 Days in Office: The Trump Administration

Forecast 2017: India-US Strategic Partnership

Paradigm Shift or Business As Usual: Trump’s China Policy

American Turbulence: Global Ramifications

Trump's Nuclear Policy: Global Implications

Critical Challenges to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership

India and the US: Inching Towards an Informal Alliance

Need the World Worry over Trump's Foreign Policy?

Implications of Modi’s US Visit

Forecast 2016: Difficult Days Ahead for Washington

India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet

Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?

Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response

Obama Administration: Re-engaging India

US in South Asia: Declining Influence

US Foreign Policy: Rehashing Old Stances

US’ Frantic Effort to Make the Rebalancing Strategy Work

US, Ukraine and the End of Unipolarity

US-China Cold Confrontation: New Paradigm of Asian Security

US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?

Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow

Pakistan’s Role in War against Terrorism: Costs and Benefits

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.