A long standing influence of American domestic politics is based upon Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s famous January 1945, statement on the Senate floor, that, “we must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.” Although not always perfect in practice, the senator’s statement has been a lofty goal to achieve and implement, especially, since the end of World War II.1 With the advancement of information technology, especially the internet, the United States’ partisan politics is no longer solely projected to the world through limited mass media outlets, which allowed for a unifying bi-partisan message to be heard beyond the “water’s edge”. And today, America’s message abroad is no longer a unified message! As the polarization of domestic partisan politics continues to plague the government, with neither major party seeming willing to compromise, as should occur in a democratic republic, the message, via communications through the internet’s media outlets, including informal social media, which is received and acted upon by international contemporaries, is that the United States is not unified. Thus, America’s biggest challenge in the world, is its increasing lack of influence on foreign countries and governments, due to a lack of political compromise in domestic politics. Due to the United States’ internal polarization of the political climate, foreign governments operate to undermine the influence of the U.S. due to believing it is too fractured to unify on global issues. The lack of compromise is not monopolized by one party or the other. For example, the lack of compromise has recently ranged from one political party not holding hearings and voting on appointments made by the other party (e.g., Supreme Court Justice nominee), to one party being publicly committed to resisting (the other party’s leader) at all costs, regardless of the issue. Unfortunately, the failure to compromise is not maintained within the halls of Washington D.C. The failure to compromise and unify is communicated throughout the world. The ramifications of the domestic polarization extending beyond the “water’s edge” recently occurred when 128 countries in the General Assembly of the United Nations voted against the United States’ decision to physically move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; while an additional 35 countries abstained. Only nine (9) countries voted in congruence with the U.S.2 Of particular interest, is that domestically, mostly along polarized partisan lines, were in public disagreement with the stated effort regarding the re-location of the embassy. This issue clearly demonstrates how countries use the current polarized partisan politics against the interest of the U.S., thereby diminishing the influence of the U.S. in the world.Another result from the failure to compromise, is the lack of a consistent and timely budget resolution. The failure to pass a budget demonstrates a lack of compromise and impacts the United States’ intermediate and long term priorities, while simultaneously signaling to the world that the government is polarized and not unified. By not agreeing upon a budget resolution to identify the unified priorities, foreign governments can exploit the issue for their own interests. Additionally, through the ineffective polarized domestic political climate, the U.S. loses influence in efforts to demonstrate why other countries should implement democratic republic forms of government. Leaders of non-democratic republic countries can simply use the easily obtainable internet information about the polarized U.S. government to justify their own actions in quashing any attempts towards a change in their own country’s form of government.America’s biggest challenge in the world is the polarized domestic partisan politics that does not allow for compromise, and which ultimately negatively impacts the influence of the U.S. throughout the world. The U.S. is perceived globally through information easily obtained through the internet, whether through reputable mass media sites, or via less scholarly social media sites. Unfortunately, the U.S. government, due to the existing polarized domestic political climate, is perceived beyond the “water’s edge” as not being unified, even in issues that extend beyond the “water’s edge.” The inability and failure for the two major political parties to compromise, noting the fracture is extending beyond the water’s edge, is diminishing the influence of the U.S. throughout the world. A lack of a unified U.S. presence and commitment beyond the “water’s edge” is an issue that need not exist, however, the representatives need to understand that even domestic issues, due to the access of information through the internet, now extends beyond the “water’s edge”.
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