The decline and fall of the American empire

This article on the Online Asian Times by a European financial analyst (who also has posted the article on his blog) summarizes many of my fears about the United State’s current direction.

Ill-advised wars without clear endpoints, money flowing out the door like a river of cheap paper, a focus on the short-term benefits of outsourcing at the expense of the long-term benefits of retaining “in-house” production capacity, and an attitude of arrogance at the top are combining to isolate and simultaneously impoverish America.

That’s probably a premature statement at this point, and there are caveats.

But a country cannot continue to spend more than it makes, just as a family cannot continue to spend more than it makes. And making more enemies than friends is never a good plan. And there is a whole world out there of young, hungry economies snapping at the heels of the erstwhile economic giant.

I find this sad, because though much maligned and often, with justification, criticized, overall the US “empire” has been a force for good in the world … from helping to win WWI and WWII, to restraining totalitarianism in Communisitic guise during the post-war period, to spreading the freedom meme across the globe.

And I’m disappointed that this decline is being presided over a by a president who appears to be a Christian, but makes too many backroom deals, has too many strings tying him to niche lobbies that do not have the overall public interest at heart, and, most importantly, has extreme difficulty saying those simple words: “I was wrong.”

How will America turn this around?

Well, it’s a big ship. And big ships take a long time to reverse course. It won’t happen overnight, and it will be painful. America needs a party that is not in bed with lobby groups. One that will get back to basics: pay the bills, don’t over-reach its financial means, and focus on developing and sustaining the talents, capabilities, and health of its people. And engage its armed forces a little more judiciously than we’ve seen in the past few years.

The only problem is that this party does not exist.

 


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