Opinion: American leadership is thriving abroad. It's a disturbingly different story at home
May 20, 2022 1 min, 53 secs
Unless, that is, you look at what is happening within the United States.

A White man allegedly drove more than 200 miles to a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, last week, looking to kill Black Americans, according to social media posts the suspect is believed to have made in the months leading up to the attack.

Ted Budd, who won the GOP Senate primary, shared a baseless claim about Dominion Voting Systems in a text to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days after the 2020 election.

But looking at the GOP as a whole, the fringe has become more and more the mainstream.

Voters are falling in line behind people like House Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik, who has promoted the replacement theory, and far-right Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, who has referenced and drawn from the replacement conspiracy on numerous occasions as part of his apparent efforts to stoke White fear.

And all of this is happening while the country is awash with weapons.

It's a dangerous cocktail of cultish authoritarianism, extremist ideology, readily accessible firearms and a willingness to deny inconvenient truths.

Ironically, the growing threat to democracy in the United States is occurring at a moment when US foreign policy has accomplished an extraordinary, historic feat; one that among other things serves to fortify democracy around the world.

This week, Finland and Sweden, two countries that had for decades sought to remain neutral on great power clashes, submitted their applications to join NATO.

It became apparent that belonging to NATO, an alliance of democracies, protects against aggressive countries with imperial designs.

Despite some internal disagreements, NATO now looks stronger, more united and more necessary than it has in decades.

It's easy to see how this could have gone a different way.

His goals were to prevent Putin from conquering Ukraine; to do it without triggering a direct clash between Russia and the United States, two nuclear-armed powers; and to deny Russia a geopolitical victory.

Three men -- Putin, Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- are most responsible for this turn of events.

Today, Russia looks like a paper tiger, albeit a brutally destructive one.

And the United States has regained its undisputed place as the leader of a mighty alliance of democracies.

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