17 July 2008

America Crumbling and In Decline

If you consume a lot of European or Russian media, the title of this post will be old hat to you. Of course America is crumbling! We read about it in the papers and see it on the TV news every day, it's pounded into our heads. It must be true! And since human nature deplores a power vacuum, what power bloc is poised to step into the void left by the decline of America?
In contrast to the declinists’ arguments and analyses, America boasts a position of unmatched preponderance. No single country or even grouping of countries has emerged as a plausible counterpart or peer competitor, and apart from the very long-term possibility of China, none is likely to do so.

...Europe faces steep obstacles in achieving anything resembling a common foreign and security policy. Its cumbersome institutions, public demands for enormous rates of domestic expenditure, hamstrung attempts at political integration, as well as its Hamlet-like uncertainties about the use of force and military spending, give Europe a global impact far less than its size and wealth would otherwise dictate...With the passage of time as well as the coming to power of Atlanticist leaders in Germany (Merkel), France (Sarkozy), and Italy (Berlusconi), there appears to be, if anything, even less inclination to stand in America’s way.

...Russia remains overwhelmingly dependent on the current boom in energy and commodity prices—and correspondingly vulnerable in the event of their decline. The country suffers from pervasive corruption, with a ranking from Transparency International that puts it at 121 among 163 countries in this category. Its population, already less than half that of the U.S. and plagued with alcoholism, chronic violence, a decrepit health-care system, and a male life expectancy of fewer than 60 years of age (lower than that of Bangladesh), shrinks by some half a million people per year.

Japan...only recently recovered from the effects of its economic collapse in the early 1990s. Moreover, as a result of China’s newfound economic weight and military power, Japan has moved into a closer embrace with the United States than ever before. This has meant greater cooperation from military logistics through to the strategic realm, and it has even included logistical and personnel support in Iraq. The Japanese case offers a basic reminder of something declinists too often forget: When assessing a rising power such as China, one ought to consider the near-historical certainty that the rising power will provoke a counterbalancing of its own.

...India’s substantial shift toward the United States, made partly in response to China’s awakening, offers another example of “bandwagoning” with us rather than balancing against us.

...China may indeed emerge as a great power rival to the United States. But this seems very, very unlikely in the near or medium term.

...The overall size and dynamism of [America's] economy remains unmatched, and America continues to lead the rest of the world in measures of competitiveness, technology, and innovation. Here, higher education and science count as an enormous asset. America’s major research universities lead the world in stature and rankings, occupying seventeen of the top twenty slots. Broad demographic trends also favor the United States, whereas countries typically mentioned as peer competitors sag under the weight of aging populations. This is not only true for Russia, Europe, and Japan, but also for China, whose long-standing one-child policy has had an anticipated effect.

...Over the years, America’s staying power has been regularly and chronically underestimated—by condescending French and British statesmen in the nineteenth century, by German, Japanese, and Soviet militarists in the twentieth, and by homegrown prophets of doom today. The critiques come and go. The object of their contempt never does..._WorldAffairsJournal
America has serious problems--most brought on by irresponsible and excessive government. Either Americans will learn to rein in the malignant bureaucracies and ballooning agencies of government, or they will continue to suffer from their excesses. If government is allowed to continue growing unchecked, the predictions of America crumbling will eventually occur. And if it does, the shaking will not subside for a very long time.

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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

The Futurist seems to agree

Two of the potential rivals you mentioned, China and India, represent the third and the fourth largest immigrant populations in America. It is hard to say that a nation which accepts huge numbers of its rivals' citizens as students and immigrants is in decline.

Until a nation or region with a large population becomes more democratic, more free and more entrepreneurial America will be powerful enough to keep calling the tunes that the world dances to. And that suits me fine.

Thursday, 17 July, 2008  
Blogger Loren said...

Another unanticipated effect of the one-child policy is the use of abortions to select the gender of a child, leading to a massively unbalanced gender ratio. You gotta do something with all those extra guys.

Thursday, 17 July, 2008  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

The foreign press sure seems to be pushing the "Death of America" mindset. My wife recently got a panicked call from her Mother back in Thailand. Mom saw the run on Indybank and the international press is spinning the story as IndyBank = the entire USA banking system. She was also in a panic over the stock market "Crash". Mom was afraid her daughter and son-in-law would soon be impoverished, standing in soup lines.

Friday, 18 July, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

America is a big deal in the world press. They can sell more papers and draw more viewers if they turn everything into a huge crisis.

Much of the arab world particularly wishes to see America punished for not accepting Islam, but Europe has a grudge against the US for having rescued it 3 times in the 20th century.

Friday, 18 July, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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