Political Dysfunction Is Harming National Security

Today, when only 28 pct of Americans are satisfied with democracy, why would anyone look to the U.S. as a model?

Stefan Katz at the Bulwark: IT IS NO SECRET THAT American political dysfunction is becoming a weakness abroad and even a threat to our national security. But because the dysfunction has, by various metrics, grown steadily worse for decades, it’s worth looking beyond the current gridlock and the upcoming election to think about how well our nation will respond to security crises in a few years. The outlook is bleak. Here are five ways our political disorder imperils our long-term national security.

1. Making the world more dangerous.

The best weapon available to democracies in the era of great power competition against autocratic adversaries is for democracies to perform better—to create more prosperous and dynamic societies, and for the whole world to see it. Setting the example is a big part of how the West won the Cold War: by being—and being seen as—a happier, healthier, and more stable society than the USSR. This idea is not lost on President Biden, who recently told a Summit for Democracy meeting that “our democracy can still do big things and deliver important progress for working Americans,” specifying lower healthcare costs and infrastructure investments.

But America is seemingly losing the larger argument and the world is taking note. Autocracy is on the offensive, with a modern version of domino theory being debated while countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America realign themselves in the emerging multipolar world. In the Cold War, the West, and especially the United States, represented a superior way of life for people trapped in tyrannies from Hanoi to Havana, Bucharest to Beijing. Today, when only 28 percent of Americans are satisfied with democracy, why would anyone look to the United States as a model?

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