Recently, the British media published a thought-provoking cartoon: the erect American Statue of Liberty monument, gone. Instead, the torch and the Declaration of Independence, which symbolize light and freedom, are put aside, and Lady Liberty sits on the base of the monument, contemplating.
The British publication, "The Economist", has explained the cartoon in its news story, "Unhappy America": "Now the United States, normally the world’s most self-confident place, is glum. Eight out of ten Americans think their country is heading in the wrong direction." Compared to China, India and other developing countries, the American-style capitalism is performing poorly, a fact Americans find painful to accept. Now the world is becoming even more multipolar, still the United States continues to size up the strength of its opponents, especially countries like China, in order to find “scapegoats” for their own failure. America itself is not sure of "what it needs to change, and what it needs to accept," which causes Americans to panic. It starts to harm itself on domestic policy and hurts its allies and partners with its foreign policy. In such circumstances, the "happy America" is nowhere to be found. An "unhappy America" seems to make more sense.
A recent book review from one of the United States' own mainstream newspapers, The New York Times, seems to provide another very good interpretation. Ted Widmer, who used to write speeches for President Clinton, recently published a new book called Ark of the Liberties: America and the World. The book gives an overview of U.S. foreign policy and the ideas that hastened them. It focuses on how the United States does very harmful things in the name of "promoting freedom" which is a problem because “sparks and light are already in painfully short supply”. On the issue of the Iraq war, the author angrily blames the Bush administration's foreign policy failures for allowing the United States to "seriously deviate from the noblest traditions of foreign policy." The Book Review especially reminded readers to pay attention to the unforgettable last sentence of the book, which is the perfect concluding remark: "Re-reading the Declaration of Independence may be an uncomfortable experience in the 21st cenury for in a certain late afternoon light it can read like a declaration against ourselves (the United States).” Indeed this statement is either impressive or thought-provoking; it gives the perfect answer for why the Statue of Liberty is glumly contemplating.