Archive for November 25th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Unless we’re both missing something…this is whack.

Then again, maybe free-lance journalism work is where it’s at….

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by Pete Talbot

“The era of American global leadership … is over.”

So writes John Gray. First in the Observer of London and reprinted in December’s Harper’s Magazine.

The U.S. economic meltdown is but a symptom of what Gray terms “an historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably.”

The paradox in this shift is that the emerging powers, China and Russia for example, spurned the American model of free (or self-regulating) markets. In one of my favorite insights, Gray says, “China in particular was hectored relentlessly on the weakness of its banking system. But China’s success has been based on its consistent contempt for Western advice and it is not Chinese banks that are currently going bust. How symbolic yesterday (Sept. 27, 2008) that Chinese astronauts take a spacewalk while the U.S. Treasury Secretary is on his knees begging for a bailout.”

And further, as American administrations lectured other countries on the necessity of sound finance (Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina, etc.) our country continued borrowing on a colossal scale to finance tax cuts and fund it’s overstretched military commitments.

Gray doesn’t blame one party over another for the financial collapse but “a free-for-all market that American Legislators created.” He continues:

“The irony of the post-Cold War period is that the fall of communism was followed by the rise of another utopian ideology. In American and Britain, and to a lesser extent other Western countries, a type of market fundamentalism became the guiding philosophy. The collapse of American power that is underway is the predictable upshot. Like the Soviet collapse, it will have large geopolitical repercussions. An enfeebled economy cannot support America’s over-extended military commitments for much longer. Retrenchment is inevitable and it is unlikely to be gradual or well planned.”

I’d like to offer some insights of my own:

There’s a little nationalist in all of us, so our initial reaction to the above story is disheartening — especially if you believe that American policy is a force for good around the world. America has done many positive things abroad: from fighting Nazi and Japanese Imperialism in World War II, to foreign aid to impoverished countries, to the Peace Corps. Lately, though, not so much, as evidenced by our loss of grace on the world stage.

So, I don’t believe isolationism (a la Ron Paul) is the answer but maybe it’s time for a little national introspection. Like, how we got where we are today, economically and imperially. Republican President Dwight Eisenhower coined the phrase “military-industrial complex.” We need to take a hard look at just what is driving our foreign policy.

I certainly don’t believe that Communism is the answer. As a matter of fact, to say that China is a Communist country is to do the term “Communism” a huge disservice. China continues to practice the worst aspects of Communism: a rejection of freedom — of religion, speech and the press — while embracing the worst aspects of capitalism: the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the inability to form labor unions, a disregard for workplace safety and contempt for the environmental.

But the U.S. has lost its way. Maybe a break from number one superpower status isn’t such a bad thing until we can get our country back on the right path.


two-terrible

by problembear

keep rewarding bad behavior.




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