The Platform

General Dwight D. Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944. (Library of Congress)

Missteps aside, the United States has largely been a force for good in the world.

Alongside its unparalleled military might and security assurances, Washington has been a stabilizing and reassuring force for global peace and stability. Its track record in creating and maintaining peace, as well as its legacy of tackling pressing challenges such as poverty and climate change, often go unnoticed amid the prevailing anti-U.S. sentiments being parroted by Beijing and Moscow and its supporters.

The U.S. is the only power with both the moral and hard power capacity and legitimacy to uphold the rules-based system. America’s role in global peace and progress is not driven by a sinister plot to dominate the world or act as the world’s policeman. It arises naturally from its position as the most powerful nation, with an obligation to serve, protect, and fulfill responsible commitments and contributions.

No other power has the capacity and willingness to be a responsible global player in ensuring collective prosperity. America remains a world player out of necessity, driven by contextual reality and the need to intervene in major conflicts. In both the First and Second World Wars, America’s role was crucial in bringing them to an end and defeating the forces of imperialism and Nazism.

The U.S. could have chosen to abandon the principles of justice, honor, and mutual respect it helped create for the global order. It could have used its unrivaled power at the end of the Second World War and the Cold War to expand its influence and establish a one-sided world order under its control. However, Washington chose to take the moral high road. Despite its immense power, it refrained from using it solely for self-interest or to impose an undemocratic conquest-based world order.

Instead, a power-sharing consensus approach was adopted to collectively create and share the responsibility of establishing a new system based on law, democracy, and freedom. This includes an open and merit-based framework for financial and socio-economic progress, driven by responsible capitalism. This model has lifted countless countries and people out of poverty and remains central to global economic progress today.

The long-term impact of America’s contributions, such as ending major wars, defeating aggressors, and providing critical funding and support for health and disasters, often goes unnoticed or is taken for granted. It is overshadowed by counter-narratives and propagandistic fatalist views promoted by anti-U.S. entities.

Billions of dollars and significant resources have been dedicated to fighting diseases, providing life-saving aid, resolving conflicts, and achieving groundbreaking scientific and technological advancements. These efforts have brought hope and improved the lives of countless people across regions, countries, creeds, and religions.

These initiatives include vaccine development for diseases like COVID and future cancer variants, financial aid and support for governments fighting for freedom, democracy, gender equality, human rights, and climate action. However, the U.S. often faces backlash and negative repercussions for pursuing these noble values and civilizational progress. Many nations prefer easier developmental approaches that prioritize immediate returns and consolidate power, rather than aligning with values that uphold the moral high ground.

The U.S. possesses various tools to promote universal human rights. Economic sanctions serve as both a deterrent and a soft power tool to encourage states to protect the human rights of their citizens.

Nevertheless, America remains unwavering in its commitment to upholding and protecting universal human rights values.

Trade and economic policies set a high bar to ensure adherence to standards, including labor rights and human rights, as part of broader global policies and investment criteria. Strict indicators for environmental impact and community spillover effects are considered, with a focus on enhancing collective progress.

The dignity of individuals is respected, granting them the freedom to choose their own governments and security options. Differences in opinions and orientations are embraced rather than suppressed. People are given the liberty to chart their own path of progress and receive support to achieve their highest potential without undue government interference. Recognition of talent, patent protection, and other measures celebrate diversity and inclusivity, making America a hub for global talent and dreams.

Leadership policies and governance systems are molded based on the principles of government of, by, and for the people. Instead of fearing the potential and voices of its own citizens, America cherishes their contributions and provides them with space to flourish. This free and open systemic model enables the generation of new progressive ideas, values, and inventions.

America remains a beacon of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Few can fathom the alternative outcome had the U.S. neglected its global responsibilities to these values. The world is a safer and better place thanks to Washington’s commitment.

Collins Chong Yew Keat has been serving in University of Malaya for more than 9 years. His areas of focus include strategic and security studies, America’s foreign policy and power projection, regional conflicts and power parity analysis and has published various publications on numerous platforms including books and chapter articles. He is also a regular contributor in providing op-eds and analytical articles for both the local and international media on various contemporary global issues and regional affairs since 2007.