Living in Latin America, and having spent much of my working life in Asia, as well as many uears in the Potomac Rome, I now watch with considerable care the portentous and rapid currents of change in the world. I suppose the news business is an addiction. Perhaps there should be a twelve-step program. Yet tThere is much to watch. We are seeing the end of the age of European dominion. It is quite a show.
Europe and its overweening child, America, had quite a run, of about five centuries. Britain eventually conquered most of the world with the lesser Eurocountries grabbing the rest in lesser predattion. The British collapsed consequent to the European habit of constant warfare, and now America, moribund but unaware, waits to drown under the rising Asian tide.
Yet Washington, or much of it, seems not to notice. It breathes, as it has for decades, a curious imperial self-assurance, a calm certitude that the sun can never set on the best of all possible countries. We are born to rule, the attitude says, smug, parental, impenetrably condescending and hubristic. Yet the sky darkens. The Euro-Americans again eat themselves, this time with Americans using Europeans and Ukrainians to attack Russia. NATO girds its loins for war with China, Washington threatens invasion of Mexico. This will not end well, but it will end soon.
Few in the enchanted city seem to take this seriously, or seriously enough. Asia awakes. Not just China, but Asia–lands with many times the population, many times the educable brains, and economies surging as if someone had pushed a button. Yet in the Sacred City, provincial lawyers posing as congressmen evince the class sense of superiority, the same belief in their divine right to instruct, to command, to rule.
A wag once described Washington as a federal conclave surrounded on all sides by reality. In this there is much truth.It is a city isolated from what it doesn’t want to know, wallowing in its supposed indispensability and unaware of how much of the world wants, and intends, to dispense with it.
The dispensing-with goes apace, mortal but not spectacular. From David P. Goldman of Asia Times: “Central Asian countries increased imports from China in March by 55% over the year-earlier month, beating the 35% jump in Chinese shipments to Southeast Asia reported previously...There’s another geopolitical consequence of China’s export prowess in Central and Southeast Asia: China’s exports to the Global South and BRICS countries in March reached a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.6 trillion a year…That’s nearly four times China’s exports to the United States and more than the combined total of China’s exports to the US, Europe and Japan…That represents a geopolitical point of no return of sorts, the moment when China’s economic dependence on the United States in particular and developed markets in general slipped behind its economic standing in the developing world.”
The European show is over, the curtain beginning to fall, and people get up to leave the theater. Yet in Washington they still talk of America as a shining city on a hill, not and Anglo favela. The center of gravity of economy, technology, science, and finance moves eastward
Why this quietly demented confidence? Many of those in power are now long in the tooth, as am I. We grew up in an age not now easily imagine, but one that still shapes the behavior of many. When we were children, America had just won the war. The country was supreme. As we were relentlessly told, it was the strongest, most free, good, fair, and scientifically potent country the world had ever seen. Much of this was true. Much wasn’t. In school every morning we recited the pledge of allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer. Prosperity reigned. When Superman jumped from a window with a great whooshing, he was described as, “A strange visitor from another planet, fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” which we were encouraged to regard as coextensive.
I am not being cute, not parodying. We believed it, deeply and without examination. We were not fools. The evidence was there. Airliners, moon landings, hydrogen bombs, automotive supremacy, the greatest economy. Other countries existed, at the edges of consciousness, but didn’t amount to much. Europe was quaint, a place for the rich to visit. The Chinese were funny little yellow people who made pencils and toys and talked funny, but weren’t good for much else. Mexicans? “Oh Ceesco! Oh Pancho! There was no crime. You could leave your bike anywhere and it would be there when you came back. Sanity was rampant.No massacres in school We thought we were on to something. And were. Then, yes, but now is not then..
That is how Biden, Bolton, Pompeo, Bush II, Buchanan, and recentl forerunners grew up. It proved fertile ground for the belief that America is exceptional, invincible, immortal, and should rule the world. Americans did not doubt, and largely do not doubt, our moral superiority and thus our duty to instruct others on proper international behavior, on a democracy we do not have, and on managing their economies in a manner beneficial to us. This, believe me, is doctrine in much of Washington.
Another source of belief in America’s godlike powers is that the country has not been in a war dangerous to itself since 1865. To Americans, war is something we do to strange little countries on the other side of the world where US forces bomb defenseless peasants. The military is in fact not very good, but that is another and long subject. Nothing bad ever happens to the homeland. Thus military leaders blandly say that in a war with China, America would conduct deep strikes on command centers far within China. We are allowed to bomb them, but not vice versa. Of course China has submarine-launched cruise missiles that could make scrap of the Pentagon and carrion of most of those in it. We are not used to thisenemies who can hit back.Nor can Washington imagine, say, a shattering Tsushima Strait naval defeat near Taiwan. And so Pentagon generals blandly speak of war with China in 1925, as if it were a minor house-cleaning with an assured outcome.
And so in a decade or two the European Epoc comes to a close, whether with bang or whimper, who knows, but it ends. America will accelerate its decline by spending furiously on the military while allowing the country to fail internally. As sometimes happens in imperial demise, both the US and the Old Continent suffer heavy immigration from populations of other civilizations. The economies approach collapse. That entrancing sound in the distance? It’s the Fat Lady singing.without.
Very good writing! It is indeed “quite a show,” especially from ringside seats.
Right now, the explosion of Spring in my rural enclave is stealing the show. Everything is blooming, flocks of song birds are returning, and nearly 20 million gallons of water per minute are flowing through the river channel adjoining my property. Nature is an amazing show, quite able to outshine the deepening cancer that keeps spreading closer and closer to my River valley.
My home state of Minnesota was nearly a paradise in 1960. 98.8% of the population was white. Minnesota led the nation in education and quality of life. But, in the 1980s, blacks from Chicago were enticed by the State’s liberal welfare benefits to relocate here. The trickle of them has turned into a flood. In the 1990s and 2000s, tens of thousands of Somalis were brought here by Minnesota’s liberals and Lutheran churchgoers. Now, the majority of Twin City school districts and many rural school districts are minority students. In the 1970s, my old high school was vying to be the best high school in the state, by test scores. Now, it is mostly Somali, nearly at the bottom of the state in test scores, failing, and quite dangerous. Our social engineers intentionally flooded my old home city with them.
The worst part of this national decline is not knowing what is going to happen. It’s like being a fish in a blender, waiting for the inevitable moment of someone walking by who can’t resist the urge to flip the switch.
Somalia…..in Minnesota. Reckon since they failed in their own country they wanna do it here?
I’ll make this short and apolitical. I grew up in Brooklyn and Queens. You grew up in W.Va. We both grew up around the same time.
In my view, the period from 1946 to ca. 1966 was the greatest 20 year period in the (formerly) greatest country on Earth.
Yeah. Yeah, I think so.
London England is now a minority city for white English, who are only 36% of the population mainly Arabic North African Muslim.
There is a new rush ready to start. We will be offered the order, safety, security and quality of life of Singapore-like places. The present chaos in the streets, declining infrastructure and general hateful political atmosphere can all go away and be replaced by what we are shown in more authoritarian nations, if we give up more freedom. “You will own nothing and be happy”. Leaders around the world have convinced people this is the choice, live in fear with freedom, or live in peace and tranquility with an all powerful government. The rush to hand over freedom will be massive. Not everybody will, but the trend is, enough will. Danger, Will Robinson, danger.
Excellent article and replies. All of it makes me wish I hadn’t given up drinking. 😔
Everything. We used to make it here. Now they make it there. We were once producers but now we are consumers. How do you consume when you don’t produce ? Debt. We create $2 trillion or more each year as money, and create a corresponding future debt, to be paid later. The newly created money finds its way into a few pockets. Eventually the prospect of living in a country with so much debt will become unattractive. And people in other countries will begin to doubt that the debt can be paid. It could turn into a rout, as if the US is a bank. This “bank” is big, and in reality, it can fail. Will the global interests bail the US out ? Is the US indispensable ? Interesting questions.
it truly is an addiction, this world changing news. thank you for your views, fred. :o)
“The British collapsed consequent to the European habit of constant warfare…”
Which was forced upon them. Britain kept out of European affairs as much as it could, until the threats came too close. Meaning WW1 and WW2. The USA hung back until it was compelled to intervene, and benefited from the weakening of the European powers. Britain was already considering how to divest itself of much of its empire between the wars, as it became increasingly obvious that imperialism was expensive. (The USA please note.) Nor did Britain want to go to war after the massive bloodletting of WW1, but both Russia and Germany had plans of their own. As it happened, Hitler struck first. After the second round of bloodletting, the USA demanded that Britain decolonize, and created neo-colonialism for its own benefit.
“We are born to rule, the attitude says, smug, parental, impenetrably condescending and hubristic.”
The same can be said of the British ruling class between the wars. Plus ca change, etc.
“The Euro-Americans again eat themselves, this time with Americans using Europeans and Ukrainians to attack Russia. ”
Nope. We are faced with being confronted by an expansionist Russia – again, and have to react to Putin’s aggression. Despite the clear-cut aggression, the USA is doing much less to help the Ukraine than it could. Maybe I am wrong, and Ukrainians are being trained on US aircraft and tanks, but the response has been very slow, and the Ukraine pays the price.
As for the rest, yup, it’s true. There has been a financial and economic shift to Asia. In the military realm, will the PRC follow the example of prewar imperial Japan and decide that has a manifest destiny of its own? How will the USA react to this? The South China Sea and Taiwan could become the new battlegrounds, but preferably not.
“NATO girds its loins for war with China”
Only the US part of NATO. The European part would prefer to trade with China, preferably in an eastwards direction, while wondering if China is planning a long-term economic takeover.
Nope. None of it. Not at all. End of discussion.
Gracias por la columna Fred, como de siempre.
My favorite line from the whole article: “Much of this was true. Much wasn’t.”.
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Biden, Bolton, Pompeo, Bush II, Buchanan,
Why is Pat Buchannan lumped in with these other neocon dupes? Buchanan more than anyone else in the MSM has consistently opposed our foreign adventures and defense subsidies of our trade rivals. For which he has paid a price.