Sunday, September 24, 2006

America the Loser?

Mike Francesa of WFAN Mike & The Mad Dog fame just went on a rant about how US Sports are losing at all the sports we used to dominate, like golf, basketball, tennis, and on and on. I can't help but associate his observation, which I have made, too, with the bigger picture of an America losing its dominance in all spheres, not just sports. We are a nation based on global perspective, though too often hypocritically, while the world is turning away from the "Washington consensus" and towards regional foci. Our allies increasingly distance themselves from American 'ventures' based on upholding a world order they don't want to invest in. In the war on terror, we increasingly reveal weakness in character and action when challenged by an assymetrical enemy's understanding of our weaknesses and and increasing strength of resolve fed by weaknesses. Cristina Fern√°ndez, the Argentine 1st lady rejecting the "Washington consensus" at SIPA. Hugo Chavez holding up Noam Chomsky to call for global rejection of American hegemony. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying that the WW2 based world order is obsolete and it's time for up-and-coming nations, like Iran presumably, to take charge. Many nations giving lip service to American requests but acting otherwise. 9/11 demanded clarity and unity, strong leadership. Instead, our political system has seemed corrupt, and our politicians seem fractured, impotent and self-destructive, unable to realistically deal with a world in which American hegemony is collapsing.

We need to become competitive again in a basic real sense, on the world's level, not from the spoiled position of a fading hegemon. Our position of dominance and that of the institutions we've carried for 60 years are disappearing. In order to preserve our position and the world order, we would have needed to follow through on the Project for the New American Century "neoconservative" strategy, but that would have entailed a mindset and a will to invest that is increasingly apparent we don't own. If we have accepted that there is a new world order in which we are not a hegemon, then young Americans need to become warriors and builders, and carry the ethic into all areas of our society. We need to do this because our future is at stake. The fall of the America we have known has started, and the fall is accelerating. Current American leaders and current modes of thought, the very structure of our social society, are obsolete and ill-equipped to deal with the changing world. While we cling to old ways and deny scary truths, our competitors, enemies and erstwhile allies are moving faster than we are to claim the new world order. Our weaknesses have been revealed and we are under attack. Our decline is open for all the world to watch and exploit.

My generation is going to inherit an inferior nation in the midst of emboldened nations seeking to replace us. The baseline requirement is the will of the American people. If it's too late for the Vietnam War generation, which seems to be the case, then the 9/11 generation must learn from our parents failings and become strong. Where will my generation find its warriors for the time we are in charge of the nation? What will happen to us if we fail to find our will?

Eric

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