As you travel overseas you find that people generally dislike U.S. policy, its leaders, and have lost respect for the U.S. Some would argue that the loss of respect stems from our policy of preventative war, but I think that is just a symptom of a larger reason why we have lost our standing in the eye's of the world.
For more than two centuries America has been a beacon of hope for countries living in tyranny at the rule of despots around the world. People living under opressive regimes looked up the U.S. Why did they look at us as a sign of hope? They did not look for us to free them but we provided them the example of what could be done.
More than two hundred years ago we did somthing that had not been done up to the point of the American Revolution. All over the world people were living under the opressive thumb of despots who ruled Empires from many thousands of miles away. Americans finally took a stand against imperialism and displaced despotism, stood their ground, and chased the evil Empire from there shores. We then instituted a government ruled by the farmers, bankers, lawyers, and blacksmiths, because they suffer the plight of everyday existance, they would know the better policies by which to govern. The rest of the world looked to us as we expelled evil from our soil and claimed it as our own. The empirial slaves of Spain, England, and France looked to us as a big brother, and hoped one day for their own uprising that would cleanse the despot from their shores; allow them to live their life as they wanted, not as slaves to an unfeeling beast on a distant shore, but with every man as equals.
So, back to the question of why we have lost our standing. We are once again threatened by a new imperial menace and a new despotism. We have lost our standing in the eyes of the world because they watched us succeed and they are now watching our experiment fail to the fear that they will succumb the same fate. As the liberties we established are washed away one by one by the new despots who are above our own laws. The ruling elite have returned in the form of corporations, their owners, and rich heirs who have the money to purchase legislation in their favor. The ruling elite have also formed a new despotism through their purchasing of "elected" officials. The new despots rule in secret, and are usually members of the same secret elitist organizations. The Bush's, for example, are all members of Skull and Bones which was created in 1832 to overthrow the rightful government of the U.S. and replace in with a dictatorship, and they and their members of the new despotism have been doing it gradually and subversively.
So, instead of being slaves a king that rules by divine right, America is fast becoming and is the slave of, king money which rules by fear, greed, lies. The same nations that watched us conquer the demon of despotism two hundred years ago, now watch us succumb to its rule, in a different fashion but on all the same, gradually and unconsciously. That is why they dont respect us, because we have lost the will to fight. We are not we once stood for, and we do not stand up for what we once stood up for. Our own freedom.