August 4, 2007

U.S Declinism Theories – nothing new

Since the attack on 9/11, we have witnessed and heard of a virtual plethora of books and online social commentary assertively predicting the decline of America. Too numerous to mention here they include Johnson’s Blowback, Ferguson’s Colossus: The price of America’s empire, the writings of Chomsky and Fisk in addition to a near army of lefties opposed to U.S. foreign policy and what they refer to “cultural imperialism”.

The anti-americanist overtures dwell on familiar, now hackneyed themes and are driven by Bush’s unilateralist policies and pre-emptive military action that, according to the writers have stretched “our imperial capabilities so much that America will go down the same path as Persia, Rome, and the Soviet Union. What they term classic errors of empire that will not be exempt from the decrees of history.

In spite of volumes literature predicting its fall the fundamental foundations of U.S. power and hegemony remain rock solid and compared to its nearest rivals and including the basket case we term the EU, there remains vast gaps in education quality, military spending, technology, and economic activity.

Here are some well-published and current facts set to dishearten those who thought America’s fall was well underway:

... Of its 300 million people, it has the largest group of middle class citizens with excellent life expectancy outcomes by world standards ...

... America has the best and largest higher education schools in the globe (17 of the worlds top universities are in the U.S.)...

... Its percentage of world GDP is just short of 30% with strong economic growth...

... Of all the top Fortune 500 companies, 170 are American, which is more than double that of Japan in 2nd place and way ahead of Britain and China...

... In terms of total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange is vastly larger than Tokyo in 2nd place with $US22 Trillion against US$4.5 trillion...

... National debt is high but as a percentage of GDP is not too bad...

.. Military spending is still 50% of the world total with the technological gap still growing...

No, U.S Declinism theories are nothing new. In 1970, Andrew Hacker a political scientist published a book entitled, “The end of the American Era where he confidently predicted American decline citing poor fiscal policies, excessive individualism, and imperial overstretch. Sound familiar?

Routinely such dim predictions stem from antagonism toward its culture and values and/or simply a desire to see it fail as a result of contrasting ideologies and beliefs. To what end eludes me. Will the world be better of if the USA fails? Will the world be more secure and, will our children be better off? Finally, it seems declinism theories are always exaggerated just as we overestimate the virtues of America’s competitors like China, India…none of which come close to unseating the U.S.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why don't these authors ever speak to Islamic imperialism?

American Interests said...

Precisely! Thanks for coming by...