On Monday, the European Union issued a statement calling for the swift resolution of “all the issues” that have emerged during a week of unrest in a hundred and forty American cities, with “full respect for the rule of law and human rights.” It used the kind of language usually directed at dictatorial governments. “We regret the loss of life, express our condolences to those affected and condemn violence and racism regardless of where it comes from,” the E.U. added.
The protests reflect a broader global despair about the failure of the American experiment—and what that means for the rest of the world. “People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where ‘I have a dream’ is a real and universal political program,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German Ambassador to Washington and the current chairman of the Munich Security Conference, told me. “Let’s hope the demonstrations all over the world will help remind Washington that U.S. soft power is a unique asset, setting America apart from other great powers—from China, Russia, and even from Europe. It would be tragic if the Trump Administration turned a huge opportunity for the U.S. into a moral abdication.”