President Donald Trump's executive order objective the forced separation of households crossing the southern border illegally has quieted, if only temporarily, a ferocious domestic dispute.
Yet the episode should nonetheless serve as a reminder that America's domestic policies often have global impact.
How the U.S. conducts itself at home has profound implications for American prestige, soft power and influence on the global stage. This is a point U.S. policymakers comprehended during the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, and one they need to re-learn as a new contest for global influence with China hots up.
Make no mistake: Trump's policy of separating children from their parents caused intense international blowback, even during the relatively short period it was in effect.
The newspaper coverage in the U.K ., Australia and Canada — three of America's closest and oldest friends — has been blistering. The official commentary was also virtually uniformly negative: British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had previously tried to forge a warm personal relationship with Trump, labeled household separation “wrong”; Canada's Justin Trudeau called it “unacceptable.” Likewise, the Mexican government condemned the policy as “cruel and inhuman”; Pope Francis, United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and other leaders voiced similar opinions.