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Vladimir Putin

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Note: This was originally posted on WEbook by me, and I would like some reviews on there, so if you have a WEbook account please PM me.

 

Over the course of the last 120 years, the United States has been a major world power. The 20th century, that is "America's century," is now a decade finished. We've seen massive domestic problems in healthcare reform, economic recovery, and perhaps most importantly, foreign relations. And as Obama leads the nation through these uncertain times, it has become quite evident to me that we are not going to be at the top of the pile much longer.

 

Take a look at any of the other Western nations today, from the United Kingdom, France, to Canada, and you'll see the increasing irrelevance of a highly centralized nation-state. Viewing the historical background of this shift makes it seem far less immediate. After picking up the pieces in the aftermath of WWII, most Western European nations chose a route toward centralizing power in a mass of tangled bureaucracy, which they justified by claiming it was necessary to build the welfare states that they now are. The US avoided this policy, opting instead for Congress and the Presidency to stay the antebellum course of conservative free market regulation. And for the next 60 years this served us well, supported in large part by the existing industrial capacity, and the burgeoning innovative capacity of the modern United States. Meanwhile the European community spent that time trying to install their new technocratic governments, a process which has at best produced mixed results, and more certainly has handicapped their political influence.

 

Today, as a result of Europe's shift in policy from international affairs to the ever more tumultuous domestic arena that is the European Union, individual nations there simply don't have clout to deal with large threats. Take Denmark for instance: in May of 2009 the Danish prime minister met with the Dalai Lama to talk about his situation. In response the Chinese essentially cut off all major trade and political relations until Denmark denounced the Tibetan struggle - which they did. With this kind of action taking place in the middle of the EU and with the world watching, you'd think there might be some reprisal. And it's not just tiny European countries either - in December 2009 a mentally ill British man was executed in China; the EU "condemned" the action.

 

So with Europe being now subordinate to the international community's (meaning openly hostile nations and rouge states) whims, it falls to the US and its supporters to tackle increasing military tension between countries. Unfortunately we are managing not just to fail miserably at this, but make it look worse than it is. Virtually every country in the world dislikes the US, Americans, or some part of this country, and especially resents us for policing them. This situation is certainly not helped by the fact that we do an increasingly bad job, with a few exceptions, of maintaining world order. Largely this isn't our fault, it's our society's, and while those terms may seem synonymous, they aren't. We Americans are inspired more than anything else by a sense of rugged individualism and the promise of riches (material or otherwise) through hard work. And yet almost all elements of our culture are based on mass participation, while selling the "look" of individuality. What exactly this does to us politically is infinitely far-reaching, but essentially it comes down to our perception. Imagine asking a middle school-aged girl what she thought of war; most likely she would think it's "bad," or "evil," but try asking her what she thinks about the War on Terror and she'll give you one of two answers. One, she'll say how we need to beat the terrorists at any cost, and most likely reference 9/11 or some other incident. Less likely, she'll tell you that it's pointless and we need to bring our troops home. What she won't say is that the War on Terror, or any war for that matter, is a form of policy. Both of these messages are fueled by the conflict between advertising (not just in the commercial sense) technique and the message of advertisement. We rely on stereotypes to define extremely complex issues - a trait that isn't too helpful when you're seeking international approval and pursuing global foreign policy. Essentially that's the attitude that angers the rest of the world; the dissociation from fact and fiction. Increasingly we've had a cultural advertising of simple fixes to complex problems; but a band-aid won't stop a brain hemorrhage. Realistic solutions can't be found in this sort of cultural climate, and it's no wonder everyone hates us.

 

The chance of us making a recovery in a full sense, that is a recovery of American society, is approaching zero, and we aren't making the changes necessary to stabilize our country and the world. For this reason, you can expect for sure that America will not be number one in the 21st century, probably not even number two. What kind of country can survive in the post-American world, and what does that mean for us? Predicting the future is very certainly improbable, but general trends, especially those backed by history, point to two outcomes: a new unipolar world, or the return of the multipolar world. Candidates for the leader of a post-American political hegemony are numerous, but the nation state is not so important as the ideology in determining our successor. Seeking to replace American-style global capitalism is a difficult task, but the emergence of two types of ideological rivals, Russian and Chinese style authoritarianist capitalism seem to be the most potent threats. Vladimir Putin is one sleek dictator, and a popular one at that, but his interest in personal economic gain as the leader of the Russian Federation seems to be rekindling the fires of imperialism. Putin's material ambition has distorted a half-century of ideological politics for Russians, and has adversely affected the Eastern European continent. Those not in the EU can't seek its meager protection, and even member states don't want to, or cannot attempt to stop his outreach. Russia seeks domination once again, this time not for the people (which is what happened last time, but at least they lied about it then), but for its leaders. For the US though, Putin could present one of the most probable allies against the tyranny of a rising China. China does not have to capacity to catch up to Western nations without a major change in its domestic and foreign policies, but its desperation in attempting to do so is what's worrying. Unlike Russian authoritarianist capitalism, China seeks to rise to global leadership as is, carrying its dated Communist agenda with it. This dead weight is what is keeping China back right now, but in the future they're not going to be able to keep air pumping into Deng Xiaoping's quasi-reform policies. To deal with that, as seen just recently with Denmark, China wants to polarize the world into pro-Chinese and pro-US blocs, and neither side could support itself against the other, with too much internal conflict. The Middle Kingdom is not meant to be a global hegemon, at least not yet. One positive to the attempt of unipolarity by China or perhaps Russia would be that we could most likely avoid a serious military conflict - with two superpowers competing for total domination both sides would see that they could not support a true war.

 

Multipolar worlds are inherently dangerous, but in the past they didn't have nuclear weapons or instant communication. Today a multipolar world seems likely to result from either the aforementioned failure of Chinese leadership, or from a breakdown of international politics before then. Europe is increasing introverted, America is trying to both be extremely domestically oriented and defend the rotting corpse of our brief hegemony, and the rising powers are all busy with international squabbles. Right now we're in a pre-multipolar world, but once the US loses its grip on international policy we are headed straight for the heart and the essence of multipolarity. That's extremely bad, because in a multipolar world there is no one to mediate diplomatic differences on a significant level, and that usually means, and has meant, that war becomes more common. Western nations and the rest of the world would compete on even, though not by any means fair, ground. Nuclear warfare is very likely to happen at some point in a multipolar world, especially if the issue of rouge states isn't dealt with by then, which it almost definitely won't be. Because these entities don't care one bit for international policy now, when it can be enforced, imagine them in a rule-free environment. The US would have to actually deal with South America and the Caribbean, or else retreat into a shell of its former glory, Brazil and Venezuela especially would affect us strongly. Hugo Chavez's attempts at a South American USSR have failed so far because most people think he's a radical; at the point when international consensus disappears, it becomes easy for extremists to fill the void of power.

 

Regarding the role of America in the 21st century, and of the state of the world in general, especially in the next decade, it's safe to believe that things will be bad, and that they will get worse.

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Note: This was originally posted on WEbook by me, and I would like some reviews on there, so if you have a WEbook account please PM me.

 

Over the course of the last past 120 years, the United States has been a major world power. The 20th century, that is often referred to as "America's century," is now a decade finished removed. We've have seen massive domestic problems in sectors such as health care reform, economic recovery the economy, and perhaps most importantly, foreign relations. And aAs Obama leads the nation through these uncertain times, it has become quite evident to me that we are the United States will not going to be at the top of the pile much longer.

I could go on but I got bored.

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Guest svfrey
Note: This was originally posted on WEbook by me, and I would like some reviews on there, so if you have a WEbook account please PM me.

 

Over the course of the last 120 years, the United States has been a major world power. The 20th century, that is "America's century," is now a decade finished. We've seen massive domestic problems in healthcare reform, economic recovery, and perhaps most importantly, foreign relations. And as Obama leads the nation through these uncertain times, it has become quite evident to me that we are not going to be at the top of the pile much longer.

 

Take a look at any of the other Western nations today, from the United Kingdom, France, to Canada, and you'll see the increasing irrelevance of a highly centralized nation-state. Viewing the historical background of this shift makes it seem far less immediate. After picking up the pieces in the aftermath of WWII, most Western European nations chose a route toward centralizing power in a mass of tangled bureaucracy, which they justified by claiming it was necessary to build the welfare states that they now are. The US avoided this policy, opting instead for Congress and the Presidency to stay the antebellum course of conservative free market regulation. And for the next 60 years this served us well, supported in large part by the existing industrial capacity, and the burgeoning innovative capacity of the modern United States. Meanwhile the European community spent that time trying to install their new technocratic governments, a process which has at best produced mixed results, and more certainly has handicapped their political influence.

 

Today, as a result of Europe's shift in policy from international affairs to the ever more tumultuous domestic arena that is the European Union, individual nations there simply don't have clout to deal with large threats. Take Denmark for instance: in May of 2009 the Danish prime minister met with the Dalai Lama to talk about his situation. In response the Chinese essentially cut off all major trade and political relations until Denmark denounced the Tibetan struggle - which they did. With this kind of action taking place in the middle of the EU and with the world watching, you'd think there might be some reprisal. And it's not just tiny European countries either - in December 2009 a mentally ill British man was executed in China; the EU "condemned" the action.

 

So with Europe being now subordinate to the international community's (meaning openly hostile nations and rouge states) whims, it falls to the US and its supporters to tackle increasing military tension between countries. Unfortunately we are managing not just to fail miserably at this, but make it look worse than it is. Virtually every country in the world dislikes the US, Americans, or some part of this country, and especially resents us for policing them. This situation is certainly not helped by the fact that we do an increasingly bad job, with a few exceptions, of maintaining world order. Largely this isn't our fault, it's our society's, and while those terms may seem synonymous, they aren't. We Americans are inspired more than anything else by a sense of rugged individualism and the promise of riches (material or otherwise) through hard work. And yet almost all elements of our culture are based on mass participation, while selling the "look" of individuality. What exactly this does to us politically is infinitely far-reaching, but essentially it comes down to our perception. Imagine asking a middle school-aged girl what she thought of war; most likely she would think it's "bad," or "evil," but try asking her what she thinks about the War on Terror and she'll give you one of two answers. One, she'll say how we need to beat the terrorists at any cost, and most likely reference 9/11 or some other incident. Less likely, she'll tell you that it's pointless and we need to bring our troops home. What she won't say is that the War on Terror, or any war for that matter, is a form of policy. Both of these messages are fueled by the conflict between advertising (not just in the commercial sense) technique and the message of advertisement. We rely on stereotypes to define extremely complex issues - a trait that isn't too helpful when you're seeking international approval and pursuing global foreign policy. Essentially that's the attitude that angers the rest of the world; the dissociation from fact and fiction. Increasingly we've had a cultural advertising of simple fixes to complex problems; but a band-aid won't stop a brain hemorrhage. Realistic solutions can't be found in this sort of cultural climate, and it's no wonder everyone hates us.

 

The chance of us making a recovery in a full sense, that is a recovery of American society, is approaching zero, and we aren't making the changes necessary to stabilize our country and the world. For this reason, you can expect for sure that America will not be number one in the 21st century, probably not even number two. What kind of country can survive in the post-American world, and what does that mean for us? Predicting the future is very certainly improbable, but general trends, especially those backed by history, point to two outcomes: a new unipolar world, or the return of the multipolar world. Candidates for the leader of a post-American political hegemony are numerous, but the nation state is not so important as the ideology in determining our successor. Seeking to replace American-style global capitalism is a difficult task, but the emergence of two types of ideological rivals, Russian and Chinese style authoritarianist capitalism seem to be the most potent threats. Vladimir Putin is one sleek dictator, and a popular one at that, but his interest in personal economic gain as the leader of the Russian Federation seems to be rekindling the fires of imperialism. Putin's material ambition has distorted a half-century of ideological politics for Russians, and has adversely affected the Eastern European continent. Those not in the EU can't seek its meager protection, and even member states don't want to, or cannot attempt to stop his outreach. Russia seeks domination once again, this time not for the people (which is what happened last time, but at least they lied about it then), but for its leaders. For the US though, Putin could present one of the most probable allies against the tyranny of a rising China. China does not have to capacity to catch up to Western nations without a major change in its domestic and foreign policies, but its desperation in attempting to do so is what's worrying. Unlike Russian authoritarianist capitalism, China seeks to rise to global leadership as is, carrying its dated Communist agenda with it. This dead weight is what is keeping China back right now, but in the future they're not going to be able to keep air pumping into Deng Xiaoping's quasi-reform policies. To deal with that, as seen just recently with Denmark, China wants to polarize the world into pro-Chinese and pro-US blocs, and neither side could support itself against the other, with too much internal conflict. The Middle Kingdom is not meant to be a global hegemon, at least not yet. One positive to the attempt of unipolarity by China or perhaps Russia would be that we could most likely avoid a serious military conflict - with two superpowers competing for total domination both sides would see that they could not support a true war.

 

Multipolar worlds are inherently dangerous, but in the past they didn't have nuclear weapons or instant communication. Today a multipolar world seems likely to result from either the aforementioned failure of Chinese leadership, or from a breakdown of international politics before then. Europe is increasing introverted, America is trying to both be extremely domestically oriented and defend the rotting corpse of our brief hegemony, and the rising powers are all busy with international squabbles. Right now we're in a pre-multipolar world, but once the US loses its grip on international policy we are headed straight for the heart and the essence of multipolarity. That's extremely bad, because in a multipolar world there is no one to mediate diplomatic differences on a significant level, and that usually means, and has meant, that war becomes more common. Western nations and the rest of the world would compete on even, though not by any means fair, ground. Nuclear warfare is very likely to happen at some point in a multipolar world, especially if the issue of rouge states isn't dealt with by then, which it almost definitely won't be. Because these entities don't care one bit for international policy now, when it can be enforced, imagine them in a rule-free environment. The US would have to actually deal with South America and the Caribbean, or else retreat into a shell of its former glory, Brazil and Venezuela especially would affect us strongly. Hugo Chavez's attempts at a South American USSR have failed so far because most people think he's a radical; at the point when international consensus disappears, it becomes easy for extremists to fill the void of power.

 

Regarding the role of America in the 21st century, and of the state of the world in general, especially in the next decade, it's safe to believe that things will be bad, and that they will get worse.

 

tl;dr

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Your review of the historical circumstances leaves a lot to be desired. You seem to credit the free market for US success post WWII entirely. I wonder if the fact that European factories had just been obliterated while ours remained operational could have had an impact?

And American factories were booming not entirely because of rugged individualism, but because of massive investments from the US govt to make planes, tanks, guns, cars and munitions for the war.

Moreover, go read about the Breton Woods agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the history of the EU. Then see if you still agree with your own analysis.

 

That should get you started.

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Your review of the historical circumstances leaves a lot to be desired. You seem to credit the free market for US success post WWII entirely. I wonder if the fact that European factories had just been obliterated while ours remained operational could have had an impact?

And American factories were booming not entirely because of rugged individualism, but because of massive investments from the US govt to make planes, tanks, guns, cars and munitions for the war.

Moreover, go read about the Breton Woods agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the history of the EU. Then see if you still agree with your own analysis.

 

That should get you started.

 

I could certainly have gone more in-depth about the growth of America, but since the overall message isn't based on an idea of our growth, this doesn't negate my points. And you can't argue that the market regulations of Europe seriously restructured their economies around large welfare systems. The US had a manufacturing superiority to Europe way before WWII, so we still would have come out ahead even if their production capacity wasn't as crippled.

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