Against the Myth of American Decline

Discussion in 'History' started by PoliticalChic, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,963
    Thanks Received:
    15,724
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,095
    ( In his State of the Union address on January 24, President Barack Obama argued, "Anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about." According to a Foreign Policy report, the president was influenced by the following article, which originally appeared in The New Republic.)

    1. Is the United States in decline, as so many seem to believe these days? Or are Americans in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of their own declining power?

    2. The present world order—characterized by an unprecedented number of democratic nations; a greater global prosperity, even with the current crisis, than the world has ever known; and a long peace among great powers—reflects American principles and preferences, and was built and preserved by American power in all its political, economic, and military dimensions. If American power declines, this world order will decline with it.

    3. Much of the commentary on American decline these days rests on rather loose analysis, on impressions that the United States has lost its way, that it has abandoned the virtues that made it successful in the past, that it lacks the will to address the problems it faces.

    4. Some of the arguments for America’s relative decline these days would be more potent if they had not appeared only in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. … The United States suffered deep and prolonged economic crises in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1970s. In each case, it rebounded in the following decade and actually ended up in a stronger position relative to other powers than before the crisis.

    5. As Yan Xuetong recently noted, “military strength underpins hegemony.” Here the United States remains unmatched. It is far and away the most powerful nation the world has ever known,…

    6. In sum: it may be more than good fortune that has allowed the United States in the past to come through crises and emerge stronger and healthier than other nations while its various competitors have faltered. And it may be more than just wishful thinking to believe that it may do so again.

    But there is a danger. It is that in the meantime, while the nation continues to struggle, Americans may convince themselves that decline is indeed inevitable, or that the United States can take a time-out from its global responsibilities while it gets its own house in order. To many Americans, accepting decline may provide a welcome escape from the moral and material burdens that have weighed on them since World War II. Many may unconsciously yearn to return to the way things were in 1900, when the United States was rich, powerful, and not responsible for world order.

    7. Unfortunately, the present world order—with its widespread freedoms, its general prosperity, and its absence of great power conflict—is as fragile as it is unique. Preserving it has been a struggle in every decade, and will remain a struggle in the decades to come. Preserving the present world order requires constant American leadership and constant American commitment.

    In the end, the decision is in the hands of Americans. Decline, as Charles Krauthammer has observed, is a choice. It is not an inevitable fate—at least not yet. Empires and great powers rise and fall, and the only question is when. But the when does matter. Whether the United States begins to decline over the next two decades or not for another two centuries will matter a great deal, both to Americans and to the nature of the world they live in."
    Not Fade Away: Against the Myth of American Decline - Brookings Institution


    A long article...but will be of interest to every student of history.
     
  2. TruthSeeker56
    Offline

    TruthSeeker56 Silver Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    2,899
    Thanks Received:
    482
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +496
    There is no comparison to draw from when trying to derive some sort of "historical precedence" to explain away the incredibly dire economic straits this country is in.

    Calling today's economic armageddon a "cycle" or "a choice" is simply ignoring the facts, and the consequences that are looming on the horizon.
     
  3. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,963
    Thanks Received:
    15,724
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,095
    "Just as one swallow does not make a spring, one recession, or even a severe economic crisis, need not mean the beginning of the end of a great power. The United States suffered deep and prolonged economic crises in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 1970s. In each case, it rebounded in the following decade and actually ended up in a stronger position relative to other powers than before the crisis. The 1910s, the 1940s, and the 1980s were all high points of American global power and influence.

    In the 1970s, the dramatic rise in oil prices, coupled with American economic policies during the Vietnam War, led the American economy into a severe crisis. Gross national product fell by 6 percent between 1973 and 1975. Unemployment doubled from 4.5 percent to 9 percent. The American people suffered through gas lines and the new economic phenomenon of stagflation, combining a stagnant economy with high inflation. The American economy went through three recessions between 1973 and 1982. The “energy crisis” was to Americans then what the “fiscal crisis” is today. In his first televised address to the nation, Jimmy Carter called it “the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes.” It was especially humiliating that the crisis was driven in part by two close American allies, the Saudi royal family and the Shah of Iran. As Carter recalled in his memoirs, the American people “deeply resented that the greatest nation on earth was being jerked around by a few desert states.” "
    Op.Cit.

    Nothing that a change of Presidents won't cure.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  4. rightwinger
    Offline

    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    120,549
    Thanks Received:
    19,880
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    NJ & MD
    Ratings:
    +45,540
    To paraphrase Mark Twain.....Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated
     
  5. rdean
    Online

    rdean rddean

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    60,219
    Thanks Received:
    6,906
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    chicago
    Ratings:
    +15,053
    Unwillingness to invest in infrastructure and slashing education are the first two steps on the path Republicans have set down before us.
     
  6. Dragon
    Offline

    Dragon Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Messages:
    5,481
    Thanks Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +579
    America doesn't have to decline, but the American empire does. We are in a position not unlike where the British Empire stood in the early to middle 20th century. The thing to do is to voluntarily step back from global hegemony before that step is forced upon us, thereby saving lives and money and preserving economic strength.

    We can easily justify it by saying that our superpower role of the past was defensive, a necessity of the Cold War (which is how it was originally justified after all). The Cold War being over, we can now shrink the size of our military and devote ourselves to peaceful pursuits of commerce and the arts and sciences, as has always been our real strength.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  7. TruthSeeker56
    Offline

    TruthSeeker56 Silver Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    2,899
    Thanks Received:
    482
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +496
    Huh? Do you have any SOURCES or LINKS to substantiate your reckless, hypocritical nonsense?

    (Of course you don't)
     
  8. Wiseacre
    Offline

    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    6,025
    Thanks Received:
    1,192
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Ratings:
    +1,194

    What American empire would that be? Global hegemony? Really? Sure doesn't feel like a hegemony to me. Anyway, I think we should be drawing down, fewer bases and people seem like the responsible thing to do. But I don't think we should go crazy about it either.
     
  9. Toro
    Offline

    Toro Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    50,797
    Thanks Received:
    11,059
    Trophy Points:
    2,030
    Location:
    The Big Bend via Riderville
    Ratings:
    +25,130
    The decline of America is greatly exaggerated.
     
  10. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,963
    Thanks Received:
    15,724
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +25,095
    Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
    As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
    For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
    Kipling.

    Without America...it's the law of the jungle.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1

Share This Page