• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 11:31am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 June, 2013, 4:22am

The world has lost its fear of the US

Is it better for a statesman to be loved or feared? This is one of many questions that Machiavelli posted and answered in The Prince. He concluded it was best to be both, but if you must pick one, always work to inspire fear.

But of course leaders often have no choice in the matter. Barack Obama has proved to be one of those leaders.

Like dogs that bark a lot but have no bite, the angrier Washington's rhetoric directed at Hong Kong, the mainland and Russia over Edward Snowden, the more impotent the Americans have shown themselves to be.

So White House spokesman Jay Carney has waxed indignant.

"This was a deliberate choice by the [Hong Kong] government to release a fugitive, despite a valid arrest warrant," Carney said. "And that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship."

US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened that Russia would have to deal with the consequences of not helping to detain Snowden. "There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences," he said.

Such harsh words from Washington might have made many countries tremble not too long ago. Not any more.

Obama is still popular abroad. Just witness the enthusiastic response he drew from the crowd at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin last week. Alas, he is not and never was feared.

So much for his statement as a presidential candidate in 2008 that he would gain respect for America and restore its standing!

The US remains the world's only superpower. Even if China catches up economically, it will still take decades for its military to match that of the US, if ever. But the relative decline of US influence and power is unquestioned. US Republicans' criticism of America's loss of global standing under Obama may be self-serving, but it is not wrong. His refusal to intervene in Syria is further evidence of the ever-shrinking role of the US as the world's policeman.

When even tiny Hong Kong, with its long-standing history of legal enforcement with the US, thumbed its nose at Washington by claiming a technicality for not honouring its extradition request, you know the game is up.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
up to now,basically this Big Brother has lost any respect (if it still has) from the world,including her allies such as the European Union countries led by France and Germany and now even Japan and S.Korea have expressed their dissatisfaction against their being monitored by Uncle Sam. Of course,Europe is under the cybersurveillance of the Sunset Empire--the UK while the embassies in Washington and the headquarters of the European Union and Japan and S.Korea are bugged and hacked by Uncle Sam himself who employs millions of men for these tasks----spying on others including their own citizens day and night,around the clock to get data and information before targetting its preys on the excuse of so-called national interest only !
the headlines should be ...The world has lost its RESPECT of the US...
hard times !
maybe the age of the World Cop has finally come to the last chapter.If we consider the world is in the form of a global village in which everyone is equal. To maintain a harmonious relationship,no secret monitoring should be allowed and so do the existence of a cop ! Right ?
Good article. the u.s. has play the world's policeman too long.
After less than quarter of a century, cybertechnology has turned from gluing adoration to incomprehension with fear among the general public. Perhaps it was our total foolishness in trusting there is privacy in cyberworld. Just as basic as human desire to get what is forbidden, people will snoop. Countries do it for security. Corporations do it for profits. All of these motives seem to be unstoppable. I think it is fair to argue all countries spy people within and beyond their border. In fact, the world’s jarring silence on the US government being caught in doing so testifies snooping on others is as common as it is easy on the cyberworld. Hacking is really not difficult I believe. Perhaps in the next quarter of a century or much less, hacking could be a common computer game for anyone interested in. Hacking will not be solely carry out by a few computer nerds. I don’t look forward such a day to arrive. I fear among many issues that I would be burdened by the need to use judgment on all information I receive that it won’t be actually a misinformation – counter espionage? Again, it is not only fear of the US. But fear of every country and everyone.
So, the US should plan for Snowden to perish in an unavoidable plane/car/bus/train accident in the near future? Or better yet assassinate him? Maybe respect by following some vague notion of the law , justice, and protocol is better. I think the US is following the correct course of action, given the situation.
hard times !
Bravo ! Now even our tiny Hong Kong dares say 'no ! ' to the No.1 superpower in the world for technical errors in her documents sent here to have her most-wanted man arrested or so-called provisionally arrested,waiting for extradition.
Alex, This case shows that Hong Kong Chinese are just lap dogs of Beijing. You have no freedom and can only do what Beijing says. China is a greater threat to Hong Kong's freedom of expression than the U.S., and you know it, but you'll never write about that because you lack the guts to do that. With people like you writing commentaries, the South China Morning Post is looking more and more like the China Daily or The Global Times. No wonder so many people don't read the newspaper anymore.
So if we are unwilling to bow down and bark like you to your american and british masters we are lap dogs of beijing.
I fear some poodle's feeling have seriousily been hurt lately. What havent Uncle Sam and its head lapdog England given you a bone to chew on lately?
hard times !
you yourself is the lap dog of the American imperialist ! it is for sure.Just look into the mirror to check it carefully. A lap dog of the Big Brother who acts like the Mafia boss !




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