On the heels of World War II, America, with its economic and military superiority, became the global policeman and took up the role of a superpower. It intervened in other countries through countless means and acted in morally dubious ways, enabling it to gain at the expense of others. Through an ever-growing mentality of global hegemony, America ordered other countries around at will, teaching and preaching, even boldly intervening with its military and antagonizing others all over the world. However, a failure to take note of its decaying institutions and continuous overspending finally unleashed a financial epidemic. Due to skyrocketing debts, a contracting economy, high unemployment and strong resentment toward the government, Washington can no longer stomach its many desires. Not only does America want to withdraw from Afghanistan quickly, but it is also staking its hope on the Taliban’s “good will” for it to negotiate and collaborate on establishing “democracy.” These factors all indicate that a U.S.-led world is now in the past.

According to Western media outlets, Afghanistan’s government, America's poster child, not only lacks democracy and prosperity, but has also become the world’s most corrupt regime. Driven to despair, U.S. forces could only begrudgingly hope for a peaceful settlement with their old nemesis, the Taliban. They hope that negotiation will lead to reconciliation, allowing U.S. forces to leave Afghanistan with dignity. Holding peace negotiations with the Taliban is a humiliating decision that Obama had to make as a last resort after running out of options. With a pullout from Afghanistan imminent, contact between America and the Taliban has been further redoubled. The U.S. demands that the Taliban renounce the use of force, recognize Afghanistan’s government and respect its constitution and sever all ties with al-Qaida. All of this explains one thing: The contest between U.S. forces and the Taliban has made clear who the victor and loser are.

‘Pivot to the Asia-Pacific’ Is All Empty Talk

A majority of people believe that it is wishful thinking that negotiations between U.S. forces and the Taliban will succeed. America’s pullout is still some time away, yet the Taliban has already openly declared a “spring offense,” in which Afghanistan will face an onslaught of more brutal fighting. On one hand, Obama is rushing to have troops leave Afghanistan, but on the other, he is also making his pivot to Asia loud and clear. Yet due to the economy’s anemic recovery, partisan gridlock and his inability to allocate more resources, his pivot to Asia is still just hot air. The White House is simply incapable of backing rhetoric with the money to realize its plans. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and countries like India and Australia have all read Washington’s mind and are merely paying lip service to the White House. Asian-Pacific nations are not the only ones downbeat about America returning to the region. The EU and other Western countries are pessimistic in their assessments as well and consider the U.S. to be neglecting them.

The Defense News reports that some British members of parliament have recently called on Downing Street to studiously consider if it should retain its policy of close engagement with the U.S. The Australian media also revealed that the country’s training facility sanctioned for America’s use was prominently asserted by the latter to be a military base, thereby forcing Washington’s ulterior motives into the open. Australia’s former prime minister publicly criticized America for overestimating its capability to pivot to the region, all the while oblivious to its economic mess which in due course would come back to haunt it. ASEAN countries have come to recognize China for several consecutive years as the bloc’s biggest trading partner; the country has become the missing link for economic growth among ASEAN member nations. Truth be told, the best that the White House could do after school shootings and financial crises was merely to trade barbs, as it can no longer adequately deal with its own pressing problems.

America’s Ability to Attract Talent Markedly Recedes

According to The New York Times, financial difficulties among the majority of American colleges have noticeably lowered their ability to attract the best talent. A country without the power to attract talent while aggressively promoting its agenda of American-style democracy worldwide is bound to be dismissed. At a time of peace and prosperity during the last century, California’s budget for education was the pride of its governors; allocations for education then were double the budget for public security. Facing economic crises, however, the state government cannot help but now rely on selling off its recreational facilities to survive. As the number of criminals in America rapidly increases, California’s budget allocation for prisons has doubled educational expenditures. The Sept. 11 attacks dragged America into two wars, thereby squandering its national power, bringing down its fragile economy and humiliating the country and its currency.

Protracted outward expansions, especially with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have sharply amplified America’s contradictions at home and abroad. Enormous military expenditures have elevated the national debt to high levels, leaving the so-called reserve currency empire vulnerable to external threats. The outlook is disheartening. America has plunged into its biggest crisis since World War II. When running for president in 2008, Obama criticized the GOP’s military policies, saying under no circumstances could the country afford to go to war again. Obama also remarked that upon assuming office he would swiftly pull out from Iraq and Afghanistan, remarks which helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize. However, since taking the presidency, he has turned a blind eye to stubbornly high unemployment while organizing military action against countries like Libya and Syria. Warfare has engulfed America’s economy and the wealthy U.S.A. of old is now riddled with ills.