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Waving Goodbye To Hegemony - America's Current Challenge

Original post made by Mike, College Terrace, on Jan 27, 2008

No matter who our next President is, we are now living in a world where American hegemony is no longer a brute fact; where the unpredictable variables of nationalistic and economic machination - in combination with serious blunders by American leaders (corporate and political) in past decades - have cost America dearly.

Those of us who are living in a nostalgic haze, thinking that nothing has changed relative to America's place in the world, and what that means for our future, need to understand that things have changed, for good.

We will adapt, or not. The jury is out.

Web Link

Comments (18)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm

The balance has changed, but I believe it was inevitable that as the standards of living improved all over, the aspirations of the people do also, and this brings interests into conflict. Perhaps we were kidding ourselves all along anyway when we thought we were running things. Look how well the war on drugs went.
We need to reward friends and make it unprofitable to annoy us. Beyond that, we kid ourselves.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Mike,

As fantasies go, that one is pretty fantastic. Europe is one natural gas valve away from econonic disaster. Putin already did it once. The EU is toast, becasue, well, they are from Venus.

If America rejects your defeatism, we will continue to lead the liberation of the world, as we are now doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

America should develop all sources of self dependence in the realm of energy (oil drilling off our coasts and in ANWAR, solar, nuclear, natural gas, coal, efficiency etc.). We should never, again, offer to bail Europe out of its own demise (remember Yugoslovia?), until it decides to grow up. We should reject any sense of EU moral superiority, because it doesn't exist.

China is not nearly as scary as so many, like yourself, believe. A single well-placed bomb on the Three Gorges dam would put a real dent in its war-making capabilities. China also knows that it cannot seriously attack the American currency, becasue it will kill the golden goose. China knows this, so it will not attack Taiwan, unless it perceives that America is too weak-willed to counterattack.

Japan is not going to just sit there, and allow China or N. Korea to threaten it. It will either stay as one of our allies, or it will develop its own nuclear weapon shield (or both). Notice how Japan joined the Bush initiative against N. Korea?

There are several other major examples.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 27, 2008 at 5:17 pm

The author of the NYT piece is wrong. It's not altruistic pragmatism that will define our status in the world. Philosophy is at the base of history. As long as we maintain our basic philosophy of individual rights and capitalism, we will continue to set the example for the world. As part of this we should do away with all foreign aid. We should trade for mutual advantage. If others don't wish to trade and would rather choose to attack us, we should respond forcibly.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 27, 2008 at 7:32 pm

As some yammer on about "philosophy", and imagined scenarios based on Joe McCarthy-era politics, America continues to decline in world influence, and respect. S

Some of Franco's supporters still make their plaintive noises in Spain - - we have some of that here, too - with splinter far-right-wing, libertarian, and far-left-wing rhetoric that's almost as old as the Bible. It's all talk, and no walk.

Here's another piece that's quite interesting, and relevant to what I posted, above. It appears that we've become a "buy" opportunity for foreign real-estate investors, with "bargains" based on devalued $ rates that are stunning. Makes me wish I held Canadian dollars.
Web Link


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Gary, PLease counter this:

"the US has 2,000 Nuclear Warheads and the Chinese have between 400-500, but isn't 400 Nuclear warheads still enough to destroy the entire North America continent. In the past decade, the Chinese Nuclear force based on two ICBM missile platforms, has been completely modernized with a survivable second strike capability. The vulnerable, liquid fueled Silo based DF-5 missile have been replaced with the mobile, solid fueled DF-31 land missile system. The single Type-092 SSBN submarine has been replaced by a fleet of Type-094 SSBN with the JL-2 missile, each missile with 3 independent multiple re-entry warheads." etc."

and

"With the recent Singapore-China defense agreement, Southeast Asia is rapidly integrating into the Chinese sphere of influence while the US will remain distracted by Middle East events for decades to come. With the notable exception of Aircraft carriers, the China PLA Navy is now larger in Western Pacific than the US Navy with 60 Destroyers and Frigates, 50 Attack Submarines, 45 Corvette patrol ships, 40 Amphibious Assault transports. A new unsinkable Naval Airbase has been constructed in the Spratly Islands in Southeast Asia."

btw, Taiwan will not be assaulted by the mainland Chinese; it will be slowly absorbed. Anyone who knows anything about Chinese technology firms knows that they are almost entirely based on mainland labor. China - in a very real sense - ALREADY owns Taiwan.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Here's another tidbit. Yup, we're in slow decline. It's time to get busy and reorder America, so that we can sit at a table with international partners as just that - partners.

Web Link


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Gary, as they say, Ijust calls 'em as I see 'em. You know, if it walks like a duck...

And where do you get the idea that I'm a lefty; I'm right-handed, and "Declined to state." [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm

This is what Europeans are being taught. See Europe's Philosophy of Failure.
Web Link
With this, they are very unlikely to catch us--unless we completely self destruct.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Mike,

The one major thing all you [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] refuse to recognize is that America is still the bastion of individual freedom. You, and your kind, continue to downplay and try to destroy that concept, yet it endures.

America absorbs wealth from other countries, becasue it is a flight to security. You and yours get all nervous about the selling of America, but you have such short memories. Remember when Japan, Inc. was buying up America? Then Japan went south, fast, and lost a ton of money (example, the Pebble Beach fiasco).

America does need to get back on track. It needs to fully reject the leftist agenda that you adamantly espouse. China will self destruct, but America does not need to do so. We have the amazing capacity of individual thought and freedom. We CAN become energy independent. We CAN make Europe grow up. We CAN end the confiscatory taxation of capital that is the mothers milk of innovation. And, yes, we can continue to lead the world in the ideals of freedom and democracy. Even the Chinese do not want a single party state forever. China is already having trouble in Africa...resource extraction, alone, does not a friend make.

In terms of military threats, China is rational, and will continue to be that way. It will not risk a major confrontation with America. If it does, it will probably deliver a real blow to us, but it will then no longer exist as a modern society. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Ronald Reagan's great breakthrough was that he rejected fearfulness of the Soviet Union. That's how he won the Cold War.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 27, 2008 at 10:23 pm

uh, Gary, back to your post about America bombing the Three Gorges dam. Please stop changing the subject; I'm interested in facts.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm

"Three Gorges dam"

Which facts are you looking for, Mike?

Three Gorges is the largest hydroelectic project in the world. It is actually only one of several dams planned for the same river complex. As the TG dam is fully completed (it is already operational), it will become something akin to the Great Wall, in terms of prestige, probably more valuable in terms of national development. Once the entire complex of dams is completed, it will be not only a major economic boost, but also a major security issue (imagine a single American nuclear missle with multiple nukes, all independetly targeted at each dam in the complex). It you do not care to imagine, Mike, that's OK, because China's security agencies are already doing so. Shanghai, and other major cities would be wiped out by the ensuing flood.

China is not about to go to war with the U.S. It WILL contend with the U.S., as a major power, as it should. That is good for most nations. I mean, why should the U.S. always be the one to try to solve other people's problems? Better to share the burden. China will be facing huge internal problems going forward (for instance, what to do with all those frustrated males, who cannot find a wife; also a demographic bulge of increasingly older people; also demands for more political freedoms). China will also be facing external pressures as its resource extraction model for much of the rest of the world comes under attack, as with the colonial powers. Don't forget that the U.S. Navy can shut down any shipping lane almost overnight.

If Taiwan is absorbed back into mainline China, under capitalist investment, and mainland China is, in the process, converted to capitalism, well...isn't that what Nixon's plan was? Tricky Dick was a pretty clever guy. However, his trump card is that China will also be forced to deal with people demanding thier political freedoms. Tiananmen Square was not a fluke.

I fail to see what all the trembling is about, concerning China.

Care explain your trembling, Mike?


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 28, 2008 at 4:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 28, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Patriot, the Soviet Union had the same, publicly expressed, survive the first wave, the second wave, etc. It was all horseshit. Their notion was to scare the West. It worked great, until Reagan called their bluff. What a guy!

China does not want war, and the U.S. will not give it to them. Why fight a war when things are going so well without one (for both sides)?

It is a complete fantasy that China is looking for war. They have way too much to lose. So do we.


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Posted by Appreciative
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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