The world is watching: America plays poisonous politics

Important Takeaways:

  • Why the World Is Betting Against American Democracy
  • Ambassadors to Washington warn that the GOP-Democratic divide is endangering America’s national security.
  • When I [Nahal Toosi] 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 [blank] day.”
  • For example, one former Arab ambassador who was posted in the U.S. during both Republican and Democratic administrations told me American politics have become so unhealthy that he’d turn down a chance to return.
  • “I don’t know if in the coming years people will be looking at the United States as a model for democracy,” a second Arab diplomat warned.
  • Donald Trump’s name came up in my conversations, but not as often as you’d think.
  • The diplomats focused much of their alarm on the U.S. debate over military aid to Ukraine
  • In particular, they criticized the decision to connect the issue of Ukrainian aid and Israeli aid to U.S. border security. Not only did the move tangle a foreign policy issue with a largely domestic one, but border security and immigration also are topics about which the partisan fever runs unusually high, making it harder to get a deal. Immigration issues in particular are a problem many U.S. lawmakers have little incentive to actually solve because it robs them of a rallying cry on the campaign trail.
  • So now, “Ukraine might not get aid, Israel might not get aid, because of pure polarization politics”

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