Machiavelli posed the question, whether it is better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? His answer was the ideal state would be both loved and feared. The United States today is neither.
Not often do geopolitics and economics converge as powerfully to produce a single warning as they have in the past two weeks. The dual tragedies of the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the assault on the dollar by the Federal Reserve are the harmonic resonance of U.S. weakness at home and abroad.
U.S. national security depends ultimately not on blunt force but on confidence that the United States means what it says to allies, adversaries, and its own citizens. Weakness begets weakness in military, diplomatic, and economic matters. The United States now projects weakness from the highest levels regarding the most vital affairs of state. The effects on U.S. interests will be unpredictable in the particulars yet dire in the main.