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US politics

America is now a power that can be ignored

A Biden supporter celebrating his election win last November. Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

The US is “squandering” its moral authority in global affairs by pushing an “avant-garde concept of rights”, says Jakub Grygiel in The Wall Street Journal. Instead of sticking up for “basic rights”, the Biden administration has swallowed the woolly idea of “rights as wishes”, ranging from the “right to leisure time” to the freedom to define oneself as male, female or anything else. So, while the State Department has more or less ignored the plight of Afghanistan’s women, the White House is insisting that transgender athletes should be allowed “to compete free from discrimination” – meaning men who define themselves as women can, for example, wrestle with women.

All of which is why, instead of being admired and emulated, the US is becoming a power to be “at best ignored and at worst avoided”. Not least because the logic of the woke world-view sees every country equally at fault. The Taliban “violently prohibiting women from studying or working” is no worse, for example, than Ukraine not hosting a Pride parade. Instead of defending liberty, the US exports eccentric ideas from niche groups in American universities, making Washington less appealing to our friends and less fearsome to our enemies. America should go back to defending the classical rights and freedoms that are under attack both from foreign tyrannies and from the domestic proliferation of “grievances masquerading as rights”.