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The World Is Watching

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There’s some skepticism around the world about the effectiveness of the US political system:

When I asked the European ambassador to talk to me about America’s deepening partisan divide, I expected a polite brushoff at best. Foreign diplomats are usually loath to discuss domestic U.S. politics.

Instead, the ambassador unloaded for an hour, warning that America’s poisonous politics are hurting its security, its economy, its friends and its standing as a pillar of democracy and global stability.

The U.S. is a “fat buffalo trying to take a nap” as hungry wolves approach, the envoy mused. “I can hear those Champagne bottle corks popping in Moscow — like it’s Christmas every fucking day.”

This isn’t partisanship per se; rather, it’s the collapse of the GOP as a collective capable of generating coherent policy.

They remember how, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many Republicans downplayed concerns about the far-right fringe in their party that questioned what was then solid, bipartisan support. Now, as the debate over the aid unfolds, it seems the far-right is calling the shots.

There’s a growing sense among foreign diplomats that moral or national security arguments — about defending a country unjustly invaded, deterring Russia, preventing a bigger war in Europe and safeguarding democracy — don’t work on the American far-right.

They don’t care about democracy because they’re fucking authoritarians who would prefer to end democracy at home and are at best indifferent to its continuation abroad. But in some ways it’s worse than that; twenty years ago a Republican administration could generate (horrible) foreign policy and actual manage to follow that (horrible) policy in a means-ends fashion. That’s not the case of the current GOP, whether at the legislative or executive level, and it portends a truly dreadful set of outcomes if Trump manages to return to the White House.

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