“We bluster, we threaten, we menace, we sanction, we send the Marines, we bomb,” says Chas Freeman, a veteran U.S. diplomat, “but we don’t ever use the arts of persuasion.” Freeman was principal interpreter for President Richard Nixon on his visit to China in 1972. Now he tells ‘Newsweek’, Washington’s “moment of diplomatic glory” is long over. “What has happened is that the American ability to coerce is declining,” he says. “We seem to be approaching the world as though we still have an unchallenged authority that we imagined we did at the end of the Cold War.”
Many nations are pursuing their own paths, sometimes called “strategic autonomy.” The concept remains a hallmark of India’s non-aligned foreign policy, even as it improves relations with the U.S. It is also gaining traction with once-close U.S. friends such as Saudi Arabia, and has appeared in comments by French President Emmanuel Macron following his April visit to Beijing.