An Otago-based expert in international relations says the Roe v Wade decision is the latest event to damage the global reputation of the United States.
In striking down the enshrined right of women to receive abortion treatments, the US Supreme Court effectively backtracked 50 years on a debate other liberal democracies have largely settled.
Speaking to the Front Page podcast, Otago University professor Robert Patman says the rest of the liberal democratic world no longer looks to the US for guidance on major issues like it once did.
"People in other democracies, including Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, look less to America as a model of liberal democracy," says Patman.
"They like America, they admire it and they often have warm feelings for Americans, but they do wonder why this superpower is having such problems in dealing with issues that other democracies have dealt with."
Abortion rights, gun control, equitable healthcare and a shambolic response to Covid-19 are just some of the major issues the US has struggled with in recent years.
"Since 9-11, America's international image has progressively declined," says Patman.
"This is partly because of external actions, like its invasion of Iraq in defiance of international law. But we also now live in an interconnected world, and we can also see America's struggles with race relations and healthcare. And the US lost more than a million people through Covid-19. The richest country in the world lost the most citizens. And now, we also have this controversial overturning of Roe v Wade."
Despite all this, Patman says the US continues to take pride in its difference from other countries, seeing it as a strength rather than a weakness.
"It sees itself as a big of a political exemplar, a sort of shining city on the hill," says Patman.
"This idea of US exceptionalism has a very strong hold on American politicians. Until America can come to terms with the fact it's part of an interconnected world and that it can't independently solve key problems – like climate change, Covid-19, transnational terrorism or problems with the global economy – then I don't see how America can renew itself."
There are people within the US that readily question whether the right decisions are being made, but the two-party makeup of US politics has stifled progress for decades - leaving the nation in gridlock on many major issues.
And even the comparatively moderate administration of Joe Biden has slipped back into that old habit of American exceptionalism by refusing to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – which it had a role in drafting. Patman says this shows the US continues to believe it doesn't need to rely on anyone else.
The steady degradation of the country's reputation was well illustrated by US attempts to chastise Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
"The American representative for the UN Security Council made the solid point that this was a gross violation of international law, which effectively ripped up the UN charter," says Patman.
"The Russian ambassador to the UN Security Council simply responded: 'Don't give us lectures when you bypassed the UN Security Council in 200 and launched an illegal invasion of Iraq.'"
What's most staggering about this exchange is that an almost-pantomime villain is going toe to toe with the United States on who was worse.
Patman says that if the US is to repair its international reputation, it must start to walk the talk.
"It's no good just holding everyone else up to international law. The country has to do it itself. I do think that in the long-term, if America can't make that transition we could, unfortunately, see the continued decline of its democratic system."
The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am.