Wednesday, May 19, 2010

American Weakness Begets Chaos

Thailand is in flames. North Korea is sinking South Korean naval vessels. Iran is hurtling fast toward nuclear capability (and is on the brink of a confrontation with Israel). Piracy is rampant in a major world shipping lane. Mexico is in a civil war with drug cartels on our border. Russia is flat out usurping power in Kyrgyzstan. Pakistani army officers are supporting terrorism operations on American soil. Al Qaeda is resurgent in Iraq. The Taliban are hitting the heart of the US's base of operations Afghanistan after years of our presence there.

Historians of a certain ilk understand and have made the case that American weakness begets chaos around the world. A strong America, girded with allies, focusing on commerce around the world dampens the desire for bad actors to violently usurp power and encourages peoples to support governments that allow for participation in global commercial activity. Nations and peoples follow and emulate a strong and prosperous America. Yet today, America has trashed two cherished, geo-politically important relationships - with Great Britain and with Israel. We are mute on North Korea and Chavez and solicitous of Ahmadinejad, Assad and Putin. Our President is spending precious political capital trashing our own states (and by extension, our federalist structure) while spouting mushy inanities like "We are not defined by our borders." On the economic front, we are sliding into protectionism, systematically dismantling dynamic free market entrepreneurial capitalism in favor of a statist/crony capitalist hybrid.
Elite pundits say America is on the decline and they are likely right, but we are not in an irreparable decline. We are in a decline of choice. We have chosen (or more accurately, been asleep and let certain factions of us choose) declinist policies. We have chosen weakness and opted for appeasement of usurpers and thugs. We have consciously built barriers to economic propserity. None of this was inevitable and a reversal is indeed possible, but we have to see things clearly for what they are and make the choices to reject weakness and stagnation. Britain failed to do it earlier this month. What will we do this November and in 2012? Will we emulate Britain and choose to muddle along? Our own fate hangs in the balance, but so does much much more. Chaos is on the march around the world. Eventually it will land here or force our invlovement in which we pay a heavy price. Which way will we go?


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