Mainly on the strength of what must anymore be regarded as a species of 'historical inertia,' the USofA still holds on, tenuously, to some prominence as a beacon for and a bastion of human and humane rights.
That has been changing, for some decades. But the change is accelerating.
The efforts of Obama to shield the Intelligence Community from further embarrassment and obloquy--or even any accountability--that would inevitably ensue from revcealing further evidence of torture by American--military or, and probably more troublingly, civilian/mercenary--operatives 'interrogating' West Asian detainees is using up USer political capital around the globe at the rate of a breached, beached tanker spilling oil into a pristine sea.
This is the consequence of presidential, Congressional, and media equivocation about the practice of torture, and America's undeniable--and shameful--descent into it. The Ship-of-State ran full-speed onto a well=-charted reef called "Torture," and burst at the seems. (Stet, goddam it)
The greatest harm "America" does by equivocating on what constitutes "torture," and whether or not USers do it, is to enable and empower torturers with less public accountability than even the Busheviks to pursue their malign designs on the bodies of their own citizens--which is where the overwelmingly greatest fraction of torture is inflicted. By arguing about whether or not waterboarding is torture, and eliding the deaths in captivity, probably through the consequences of torture, of upwards of 100 detainees--many of whom were undoubtedly unlucky, innocent victims--the stalwart defender of justice and humanity that the USofA prides itself as being becomes an icon for another, entirely different kind of official conduct.
Let us not forget that the USofA has not actually possessed the moral authority it pretended to since 1974, and the resignation of Nixon. Internationally, no matter what they professed in public, nobody with greater cognitive discernment than an onion has believed a single word produced by the USer/globalist propaganda machine for 35 years or more ("Light at the end of the tunnel" ring a bell?). So this fall from grace has been well understood by our neighbors and adversaries, but less so by our own citizen/consumers.
And there's the rub. Too many Murkins still do not believe they've been expertly propagandized since birth to believe the "exceptionalist" myths by which they order their lives. I assure you, if you believe in the core of your being that there is a difference between Coors and Bus, between Ford and Chevy, between MickeyD and the King, between Coke and Pepsi, between Democrats and Republicans,
YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY, IRREMEDIABLY, AND IRREDEEMABLY PROPAGANDIZED, BEYOTCH!!!Unfortunately, it's too late to change their minds...Yeah, that's you and me, covered in--DYING IN--the shit that leaked out...