“Everybody is going to remember him around the world. George Floyd
is going to change the world.” -Rodney Floyd
In the passing of a mere minute, the death of a black man with a
white police officer’s knee on his neck became an allegory of the hurting
American story. As Floyd’s last words, “I cannot breathe,” reverberate far
beyond Minnesota, his impact is bringing about debate and deliberation across
United States, which for the three-quarters of a century has been
the leader of the free world, is going to be left altered by the crisis of this
minute. Ongoing developments will have far-reaching and long-lasting
implications on American influence. Unless the United States acknowledges its
obstinate political and societal gaps, democracy may take a backseat globally,
allies may reconsider placing their security in American hands, and opponents
may dispense with the long-established caution.
A nation puts forth its ideals and builds a perspective for its
representatives to follow through example. Today, the United States’ so-called
efforts are being widely heard and seen outside American borders. In an attempt
to prove that point, widespread protests against the American example are
surfacing about their embassies around the world. The American example, over
the years, has become unappealing to the rest of the world, a consequence of
the lingering political divide and dysfunction within the United States.
Indifference towards the waning confidence in the American example is
strengthening the already pervasive opinion that the United States has strayed
from what it once represented.
Now, as America’s image as the leader of the free world becomes blur
in the eyes of the world, its credibility of setting itself as a standard for
others to ape also fades. Similarly, the crisis at hand deters the United
States’ prospects for fostering and fortifying democracies abroad. Today,
democracy is in slowdown all over the world, and the ability of the upholder of
the liberal order to change this narrative is likewise in decline. A case in
point is China, who has responded to Washington’s condemnation of its actions
in Hong Kong by pointing to America’s actions at home. The threatening
precedent America’s actions and inactions are setting in a country just five
months away from a neck-and-neck election is not lost on either American
nationals or international audiences.
The minute is therefore precarious. Three decades on after the end
of the Cold War, the plight of the world is worsening. The agenda of sovereign
security has been reset, embracing a revisionist Russia, bitter middle powers
in the form of Iran and North Korea, and an ever more commanding China.
Moreover, this agenda comes at the same time as a new security concern that
comprises terrorism of global influence, climate change, and pandemics. The
United States, the face of liberal order on whose shoulders this daunting
agenda falls, is destabilized, divided, and distracted. These threats, like the
ones before, will not go away on their own, nor can America keep protecting
itself and the rest of the world from the burden of inaction anymore. Instead,
the need of the minute is for the United States to get together beyond its
political and societal differences and let George Floyd change the world.
About the Author:
Sana Hasija is currently doing her Bachelor's in International
Relations, Communication Studies (Intercultural Track), and Mathematics at the
University of Miami, FL. She worked as a Research Intern at MitKat Advisory
Services with the Information Services team.