That sound you are hearing is the screeching halt of U.S. soft power in the world. We were already driving recklessly with the most derided presidential campaign season in a lifetime. Soft power is based entirely on the legitimacy and credibility of a country's ideas, ideals, values and policies.

The United States has had reams of it in the past. We told America's story to the world through the Marshall Plan, the Peace Corps, space program, and a civil rights movement at the height of a most unpopular war in Vietnam. We aired our dirty laundry and let "warts and all" policies show the world that even in the throes of racial strife, we shall overcome through debate, dissent and activism.

The U.S. is losing not only its global influence edge but the whole table. The emulative qualities of innovation, entrepreneurship, risk-taking and freedom are under the shadow of an executive management style directed at the "other," whether by politics, religion, gender, national origin or institution. The persuasive abilities of the U.S. in global public opinion is at its lowest, exceeding even the civil liberty restrictions of the global war on terror.