With scenes of police brutality, America’s beacon to the world winks out

Meanwhile, from Canada to New Zealand, tens of thousands of people gathered around the world to protest the killing of an African American man, George Floyd, who was suffocated on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck. The officer has since been charged with murder. Floyd’s death a week ago touched off U.S. demonstrations that swiftly turned into riots in more than 100 American cities. But memorials also sprouted up in cities around the globe, from a candlelight vigil in Mashhad, Iran, to a mural painted on the Berlin Wall bearing Floyd’s likeness along with his dying plea: “I can’t breathe.”…

The overwhelmingly negative international reaction to the crackdown showed how far the United States’ reputation has fallen in the eyes of the world under the Trump presidency, evoking the international opprobrium directed at previous U.S. governments during the Vietnam War and civil rights era, when police in Southern states turned attack dogs on black freedom marchers.

“The erosion of U.S. global leadership has been faster than expected,” a senior European diplomat told Foreign Policy. “Military supremacy and financial leverage is still there. However, reserves of political and ‘soft’ power are being depleted rapidly.”

“This is placing traditional allies in a difficult position—trying to cling to a traditional value-based connection [with the United States] which is diminishing fast,” the diplomat said. “Europe is hoping for a turning point, although everyone is realizing that there is no absolute return to 2016.”