New York Times reporter Hannah Beech (and a team of seven other credited reporters around the globe) organized a sad-sack shaming in Saturday’s lead International section piece, “‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: U.S. Tumult Baffles the World.” Evidently, even Myanmar feels sorry for a country under Trump’s thumb.
Myanmar is a poor country struggling with open ethnic warfare and a coronavirus outbreak that could overload its broken hospitals. That hasn’t stopped its politicians from commiserating with a country they think has lost its way.
“I feel sorry for Americans,” said U Myint Oo, a member of parliament in Myanmar. “But we can’t help the U.S. because we are a very small country.”
The same sentiment prevails in Canada, one of the most developed countries. Two out of three Canadians live within about 60 miles of the American border.
“Personally, it’s like watching the decline of the Roman Empire,” said Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, an industrial city on the border with Michigan, where locals used to venture for lunch.
This whole shtick is very New York Times, which should probably just move to Canada en masse.
Amid the pandemic and in the run-up to the presidential election, much of the world is watching the United States with a mix of shock, chagrin and, most of all, bafflement.
How did a superpower allow itself to be felled by a virus? And after nearly four years during which President Trump has praised authoritarian leaders and obscenely dismissed some other countries as insignificant and crime-ridden, is the United States in danger of exhibiting some of the same traits he has disparaged?
These are never labeled "Commentary." Who could possibly tell the difference in this paper?
Beech overplayed Trump’s knee-jerk response to hostile, leading questions from journalists about the upcoming election -- which is pretty funny, since Trump is taking a ton more questions than Joe Biden. No one's asking Biden if he'll accept the results. Why? Because all the journalists think Biden will win easily. The pack journalism here doesn't feel democratic, but it's very Democratic.
Adding to the sense of bewilderment, Mr. Trump has refused to embrace an indispensable principle of democracy, dodging questions about whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power after the November election should he lose.
Beech suggested Trump was running a playbook that's being copied by foreign dictators.
In Belarus, where tens of thousands of people have faced down the police after the widely disputed re-election last month of President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, Mr. Trump’s remarks sounded familiar.
Beech cited things more important to big-government left, like snubbing “international accords,” to explain why America’s “reputation seems to be in free-fall,” while trying to suggest America is descending into Third World country levels of trouble.
Such global disapproval historically has applied to countries with less open political systems and strongmen in charge. But people from just the kind of developing countries that Mr. Trump has mocked say the signs coming from the United States are ominous: a disease unchecked, mass protests over racial and social inequality, and a president who seems unwilling to pledge support for the tenets of electoral democracy.