Necessity of America
If not the US, who?
In order to get it right, it is so important that we know what is going on now. In the midst of a pandemic, overpopulated, ever more marginalized by Global Warming, beggared with inequality, and sorely lacking leadership; the world is indeed going to hell in a handbasket.
Take a look:
An index of Fragile States:
Less than 10 States are shown as being Sustainable. A comparable number are shown not Sustainable but Stable. Together these groups, Sustainable and Stable, constitute about a third of the States. Below Stable, another one-third of the States are shown as being at Warning. The last one-third are shown to be at the Alert level. The US is barely in the top 20% on the index.
An index of Inequality:
In 2019, we were 28th out of 150 on the index.
We used to be the leader of the ‘Free World’. Is this current state of the world, in part, due to our abdication? What if some other nation takes that role? As the leader, we just may have gotten some things right. We made alliances, provided assistance, served as a role model. Today, the Greatest Nation on earth isn’t really. If not the US, then who?
— After us, who else will give so freely of their capital? —
We hear that we are not a policeman to the world, or, that at least shouldn’t be. Then who else is going to restrain Xi? Erdoğan? Putin? Who else will keep India and Pakistan from annihilating one another?
Obviously, neither India nor Pakistan is suited for the role of Leader. For all our faults, we could at least get along with most other nations. China under Xi is Israel on steroids. Xi’s China is to be whatever once was or once might have been China. Xi’s China has an emperor. Sorry, Vladimir, tsars are so yesterday and you are too long away from the revolution to be another Stalin. Your sitting on your Russian egg isn’t going to rehatch the USSR, let alone the world. Erdoğan; another would be empire rebuilder. Racip’s ambitions may equal those of the Ottoman; that’s pretty big. To the south, today’s Saudi Arabia is not that different from Twain’s; be lucky if they can get more of their $Billions of assets liquefied with IPOs before the stuff becomes worthless. See culture below.
Germany, stable, even sustainable, has known great leadership under Merkel, but Angela is about to exit the stage and anyway, England would throw a hissy. France and England are nearly as bad off for leadership as the US. The EU is bounded but would make a great ally; isn’t really geared for the role, anyway. NATO’s charter is defense but it, too, would make a great ally and probably could, if it wanted to, stretch a bit farther into Europe, the Middle-East, and Asia.
How did we get to be the leader of the free world, anyway? The term ‘Free World’, a propaganda term coined during the Cold War, referred to all non-communists nations; most of whom, other than the US, were still on their knees after 1945. Other than being the last one standing, we weren’t carrying the baggage of centuries of internecine war, had never quite achieved colonial empiricism, …, … Comparatively, we were the good guy on the white horse.
We hear a lot about superiority and inferiority, about color and race. It may well be that Culture is the biggest factor of all. Cumulative, culture is difficult to change. The return to Tsardom in Russia bespeaks an ingrained Russian Culture. The fact that today’s Chinese Communist Party is so little different from the feudal/mandarin days of yore speaks to an underlying Chinese Culture. Culture is the master we bring along. The Taliban is all about preserving an odious culture. Saudi Arabia’s MBS prefers swords for beheading and bone saws for dissecting.
A look to Latin America indicates that culture is transferable. If the Original Thirteen had been colonies of Portugal or Spain, the US would almost certainly look more like Brazil and Argentina today. For all her thievery and murder, certain aspects of British culture were superior.
In 1945, the US didn’t have that much culture. Since 1945, Germany has gone to great lengths to purge herself of some of the worst aspects of her culture. All an all, a good example for all. A unique undertaking. For example, much less a purge has taken place in Japan.
Something similar should have been followed in the US South after the US Civil War.
One might say that over the last 75 years German culture has improved, and that over the last 50 years the US culture has deteriorated/regressed. Leadership was bestowed on us by default; we were the less corrupt, the less laden with history.
It is possible to imagine a world without leadership. One where neighbors could invade one another and claim territory, grab natural resources. Actually, – we saw quite a lot of that in the 1980s and 2001-2007; so there is no need to call on imagination. Something had changed. By 1972, America’s oft misdiagnosed decline was well underway. This decline, misdiagnoses included, continues.
Will there be a period like the one that followed the fall of Rome? Will the world now see centuries like those seen by Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire?
What of a world with China as ‘World Leader’? What of racism, xenophobism, in such a world? What of concern for human rights? Civil Rights? China cheats. What of corruption? Would a ‘World Leader’ China send millions of Han to Africa and then claim it a part of China? We may well find out.
Truman knew, we know, this is a role for the United Nations. It is its charter; sa raison d’être. Possibly, if only they hadn’t hamstrung it so from the start with the Security Council, if it had been adequately funded, … it could have better stepped in to administer failed states, adjudicated overthrows of duly elected governments, war crimes, … Definitely worth another look. Rather than tear it down and start all over again; fix it. A critical need, becoming more critical by the day.
Maybe someday soon, America will again find another Abraham Lincoln, another Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Possibly I fail to understand this essay, but the essay strikes me as wildly wrong about, wildly offensive to, wildly prejudiced against 1.4 billion Chinese. Shocking and disheartening.
Having worked with the Chinese in their country, I found all of them to be friendly and very considerate of me as a white-man in their country. I believe Ken is looking at the leadership of China more so than the citizens.
It’s hard to say. I remember the 60s and thing sometimes – what happened.I remember being told in career advice at school that it didn’t really matter what I did, that the reward for studying was hardly worth the income lost. But I should study anyway because the work was more interesting. I remember living in a world that was pretty egalitarian, where everybody felt they had a place and people were more worried about surfing “dole bludgers” than about unemployment. Where houses were worth a few years pay and my father could easily afford to send 5 children through university on a single income. And yet the statistics say we have become richer. I know how we have become richer because it is obvious – stuff is cheap (getting a new fridge, washing machine, fridge uses to be a big deal – now it isn’t really).
People are pissed off, and I understand that.
That is why I want to make a plea for progressives to push universally for a UBI. We need to redistribute. We need a more egalitarian society and I don’t think there is another way to achieve that than explicit redistribution. If the economy works to provide things for people with money, and only for people with money, and the economy is there to work for everybody then give everybody some fucking money!
I believe — is looking at the leadership of China more so than the citizens.
[ Thank you.
Unfortunately I evidently did understand, and am anguished about having read such an essay. The essay is completely wrong, offensive and prejudiced about 1.4 billion people. This administration has evidently successfully fostered a prejudice taking us back to the decades of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. ]
Thanks for spelling Erdoğan correctly.
Simple solution to almost everything: become more like social Europe: rebuild labor union density from an almost nonexistent 6 percent to even 60-80 percent. Here’s how to do it — overnight:
Restore the American public’s economic as well as political muscle — which it has been almost completely shorn of by an unthinkable and totally illegal demobilization of labor.
The worst example of voter suppression in America — the cut that slices the deepest — is the total lack of opportunity of workers to vote to certify an exclusive bargaining agent. ONLY SOLUTION: mandate union cert/recert/decert elections at every private (non gov) workplace. Only way to restore workplace democracy is to insure access to union elections just like any other election.