Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We’re Number One. Some Folks Think That’s A Bad Thing


Fred Kaplan at Slate thought it was time, back in January, for a “brave” politician to step up and declare that America is a “declining power”. It seems Kaplan believes the United States is on its way out, to be replaced by a “multi-polar” world where the U.S. is just one player among several.

Kaplan says that this is a fact, because of an early-2005 report from the CIA. In Kaplan’s mind, the CIA has no political agenda, and therefore must be taken as unvarnished truth. Apparently then, in Kaplan’s mind Joe Wilson is a dedicated public servant who had no axe to grind, and Valerie Plame was truly a deep-cover secret agent, whose life was put in danger by evil political forces, and not by her press releases and photo ops, her CIA parking sticker or her suggestion that hubby Joe should be sent on a classified mission then talk to everybody on the planet about it afterwards. No politics at the CIA here, just ignore the weasels with the Washington Post number scribbled on sticky notes next to their work stations.

The favorite section of the report cited by Kaplan reads:

“The likely emergence of China and India ... as new major global players—similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century—will transform the geopolitical landscape with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the previous two centuries.”

In this age of global strategy, it’s important to keep out focus on the challenges and stakes. We are number one, and for a very good reason. Sure, China and India, and for that matter Brazil and Venezuela and Indonesia too, will be chasing after us and looking for ways to get ahead, but we saw that from Japan, from Russia, from the European Union back when you could say “EU” with a straight face. We saw that from OPEC and many of our fair-weather allies, and of course, regularly from the United Nations and the World Court. But we won anyway, time and time again, despite setbacks and outright collaboration by other nations.

We have won militarily, economically, and socially. The United States is able to fight anyone, anywhere that becomes necessary. The dollar, whatever its ups and downs, is readily accepted worldwide and is the most-favored means of currency, especially as security; even Cuba and China hold U.S. dollars and bonds for reserves. And even a short trip outside the United States reveals the impact of American media, films, music, and social icons. Sure, the French hate us for it and Anarchists everywhere see it as a broad conspiracy, but closer examination reveals that besides its seductive side, the American Dream holds tremendous appeal on the universal level. Who wouldn’t want to own their own home, to choose their career and elect leaders who feel responsible to the population? Who wouldn’t want to be free to practice whatever religion they believe in, or none at all? Who wouldn’t want to be able to trust that the electricity, water, police, fire, and medical services are truly public servants, and not wholly based on the ability to bribe your way ahead in a long line? The people who think America is trying to make clones of the rest of the world have it backwards – while everyone wants to protect and revere their own heritage and culture, many billions of people want what Americans have, and see no reason why they should not rise to that level.

We’re winning, and not everyone can deal with that fact. In many ways, the whole problem with the Left comes down to that essential point.

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