Sunday, January 27, 2008

More sober reading for Dave

Spot's commenter Dave pooh-poohed Spot's post about the accelerating decline of the United States as a geo-political power as the consequence of domestic economic conditions and the continuous war footing that the Bush administration had kept the country on. The gravamen of Dave's comment was that Spot said some dirty words: George Soros. As one of the world's principal boogeymen, this permits Dave to disregard anything Soros might say. Sort of like Al Gore, only thinner and with a cooler accent.

Well, Dave, Spot has another piece for you to read; it's long but worth the time: Waving Goodbye to Hegemony in today's New York Times Magazine. Here are the opening grafs:

It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

Why? Weren’t we supposed to reconnect with the United Nations and reaffirm to the world that America can, and should, lead it to collective security and prosperity? Indeed, improvements to America’s image may or may not occur, but either way, they mean little. Condoleezza Rice has said America has no “permanent enemies,” but it has no permanent friends either. Many saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the symbols of a global American imperialism; in fact, they were signs of imperial overstretch. Every expenditure has weakened America’s armed forces, and each assertion of power has awakened resistance in the form of terrorist networks, insurgent groups and “asymmetric” weapons like suicide bombers. America’s unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order. That new global order has arrived, and there is precious little Clinton or McCain or Obama could do to resist its growth.

In fairness to our simian president, a global realignment was on the horizon anyway, but Bushco moved up the timing so that even an old dog like Spot will be around to watch it happen.

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