• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:14am
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.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



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 !
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.
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?




SCMP.com Account