The irony of our time is that the phrase on those hats, “Make America Great Again” were prophetic four years ago. The problem is that Americans don’t seem to understand that greatness is not self-declared. Greatness can be aspirational but for it to be so requires an understanding of how others define greatness.

On the eve of America’s anniversary—our two hundred and forty-fourth—much of the world believes that the country is racist, battered and bruised. “Europe has long been suspicious—even jealous—of the way America has been able to pursue national wealth and power despite its deep social inequities,” Robin Niblett, the director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, in London, told me.

To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful