April 16, 2024

In talking this week with a friend about the United States seemingly imploding from within across multiple sectors, my friend stressed: “It’s not just from within. There is a run on the United States from certain nations and business interests around the world. Just like there was a run on banks after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, many nations are either thinking about — or actually proceeding with — transferring at least a portion of their allegiance, assets and commitments from the ‘Bank of the U.S.’ to the ‘Bank of China’ or elsewhere.”

This was not just some person sitting on a porch casually talking about current events while whittling a stick waiting for his Social Security or pension check to hit the mailbox. This was a former high-level U.S. government official, now a CEO, someone who sits on the boards of directors for multiple companies. He has massive real-world and business experience and believes the United State may be on the verge of collapse.

He is far from the only one to think that.

Some fear the Biden administration is losing control of our southern border; losing control of our decaying, crime-infested big cities; creating a recession; vilifying and needlessly destroying the fossil fuel industry while pushing suspect and subsidized “green” energy alternatives; leaving tens of billions of dollars in military equipment in Afghanistan while withdrawing our troops and abandoning an ally; stepping closer to a trip-wire in the Ukraine war, which could trigger a nuclear strike; turning on Israel over ideological issues as Turkey and others call on Arab and Muslim nations to unite and crush the Jewish State; weakening our military with one “woke” edict after another; focusing on “trans” issues at the expense of failing transportation infrastructure; cheerleading the social justice warrior takeover of our colleges and universities; and weakening the dollar (the currency much of the world depends upon).

Is it any wonder, then, that nations such as France, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and others are suddenly hedging their bets by looking beyond the United States of America for partnerships and stability?

On top of those problems, our allies and certain foreign corporations now have the legitimate concern of wondering what between them and the United States will be kept private and secure, in light of the massive and reportedly deliberate leak of classified Pentagon documents. 

Who is an ally or foreign business partner to trust? More importantly, in the eyes of some of these nations and foreign business interests, who will prove to be the more stable and dependable partner in the coming years and decades?

In an example of a world leader hedging his bets, French President Emmanuel Macron recently traveled to Beijing to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping. Macron did not travel alone. He brought along Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. Some saw this as Macron advertising that much of the European Union was with him in spirit as he met with Xi. 

On his way back to France after the meeting, Macron emphasized that Europeans should not be “just America’s followers” and “get caught up in crises that are not ours.” Even though the French leader seemed to be spelling it out in 100-font, one could read between the lines and assume he meant not getting dragged too deeply into the Ukraine war or defending Taiwan, should China invade. The last part was music to the ears of China’s strongman, Xi.

Next, we have Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador openly criticizing — and challenging — the leadership of the United States for months, by calling the U.S. an “oligarchy, not a real democracy.” He threatened to sabotage calls for U.S. military action against Mexican cartels, and has made it clear that he is not afraid to pick a fight with what he may see as a United States in decline.

Or, last month’s news that Saudi Arabia was inching closer to joining a China-led Asian security and economic bloc, after having been granted the status of a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Aside from China and Russia, the bloc also includes India, Pakistan and some ex-Soviet states. It’s an organization  one might view as not always having the best interests of the United States in mind.

As Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst and writer, made clear during an interview: “The traditional monogamous relationship with the US is now over. And we have gone into a more open relationship, strong with the U.S. but equally strong with China, India, [the] UK, France and others.”

Finally, we have Brazil — China’s most important trading partner in South America — announcing a new agreement to conduct bilateral commerce in their respective currencies, rather than the U.S. dollar. The move not only shocked many in the U.S. government but opened the eyes of others around the world to the possibility of decoupling from the dollar. 

Some believe these things are happening because a growing number of political and business leaders around the world now lack confidence in the United States, believing our country truly is in disarray, decline and increasingly polarized and politicized. Will such concerns accelerate a “run on the Bank of the United States” with assets being transferred to China or even Russia? 

Only time will tell. But as with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the signs are out there, should the analysts care to pay attention.  

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

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