This post from a social media site nails it as far as how the level of “freedom,” “democracy,” “human rights,” etc. of the USA should be evaluated. While it’s true we also have a large lumpenproletarian “underclass,” anyone in the USA who is middle class or above in income is part of the global 1%. The modern USA is like the center of imperial Rome with the rest of the world mostly being territories and colonies of the empire.
If we’re doing a crude “best/worst” countries thing, there’s also no clear reason not to include a country’s effects outside its borders. Conditions of life are often relatively good in the imperial metropole, but that’s because of a system of plunder that takes what’s good elsewhere and redistributes it to the imperial power and it’s pacification-requiring citizenry. Some part of American wealth and some countries’ difficulties comes from out continual military destruction of those countries, and our creating international trade and finance and treaties to favor our investors at the expense of others’ development. That’s distinct from being “best” in the sense of having created a genuine, generalizable social model that makes for better happier human life, as patriotic Americans insistently imagine themselves to have done, unless having power over others is just taken definitionally as making one “best,” which is what a lot of claims about the greatness of America and other power centers often reduce to.
When you’re the world empire, the de facto citizens of your polity, who live and die and flourish and suffer aren’t just the ones juridically defined as you nation’s citizens, but also all the people outside the borders who, in ever material sense, experience the decisions of the imperial government as truly and viscerally as the official citizens. They aren’t given and vote and their input isn’t considered part of our supposedly hallowed “consent of the governed,” but everybody who lives in a country that’s been invaded based on unilateral decisions in a Congress and executive in which they have no formal say, everybody who works in a sweatshop making goods for American consumers channeled through American corporations under conditions largely determined by the demands on American business executives, everybody who gets put at the global front or back of the line for vaccines or other things because of the policies the US implements to favor portions of its own citizenry, is also being governed by America, and their flourishing and freedom ought very much to count in our ledger for the US’s merits and demerits, if we mean it as anything reflective of material reality instead of just legal formalisms.Honestly, America is effectively an anti-democracy in which billions of people are considered non-citizens and denied basic rights or a vote. The cover for this is that they’re citizens if other countries, but if the principle of freedom and democracy is supposed to be, at minimum, a say in the mass institutions that determine how your life will go, that consent of the governed thing, then you can’t have that and an empire. At minimum, if we were serious about our supposed principles, the idea of giving a lot of the rest of the world a vote in our elections would be mainstream.