Superpowers past and present


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Trophy-toting progressives are destroying the very spirit that made America great.”

“Your empire is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go.”  Pericles, the last democratically elected leader of ancient Athens, 461 B.C.

Last week I began to address the decline of the United States resulting from this new wave of liberalism in which every child is given a trophy and told that he or she is a winner. Such lies are not good for children and they are not good for the nation.

Most Americans believe that America has a permanent position of global domination when in fact there has been a general decline in the U.S. over the past 25 years. The Peterson Institute for International Economics, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, stated that China’s economy will overshadow America’s in the next 15 years.

The rise and inevitable decline of all superpowers

My interest in superpowers came about by happenstance. In early 1987 my publisher told me he was going to be away and he wanted me to develop and write the upcoming issue.  In my scramble around the city library I found a just-published book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, by Paul Kennedy.*

Kennedy wrote on global competition which with the right circumstances can create a superpower. He argued all powers invariably reach their apex and then begin to decline.

Military loss and societal upheaval  

Two millennia ago, Athens seemed invincible with its unmatched fleet of warships. Pericles, the world’s first democratically elected leader, struck upon the idea of attacking its main competitor Sparta, thus cementing Athens position of dominance.

Such was the reasoning in 2003 when the United States easily conquered Iraq militarily, but foolhardy attempts to occupy it were unsuccessful. The results of both wars were stunning because both America and ancient Athens had overwhelming advantages yet were ultimately defeated. For both it resulted in an unavoidable conclusion by allies and enemies that each had passed their apex.

Pericles said that Athens sailed to war, “with a sort of arrogance and a love of strife.”

Much the same can be said of today’s American neoconservatives who still see an opportunity to conquer and convert other lands to adopt American democracy and values.

And while Athens collapsed in a handful of years, America continues to barely cling to its position of predominance.

In 1947 the U.S. accounted for half of the world’s GDP and was the only nation with an atomic bomb until the Soviet Union duplicated it in 1949.

Over the decades the United States would remain the unchallenged military powerhouse in the world. Economically the United States did not do near so well. Today U.S. federal government debt is almost $20 trillion.

On October 22, 1981, the U.S. federal debt surpassed $1 trillion.  At the time that was an astonishing number so vast it was previously unimaginable. Politicians didn’t feel the same way.

Dead broke

America’s insurmountable debt can never be paid back.  What is certain is that the United States is headed for an economic and societal collapse. That will be the result if hundreds of billions of dollars in Treasury instruments are sold, sending the bond market into a tailspin as interest rates are forced to climb to 10, 20 or even 50 percent just to keep the federal government running.

Several studies estimate that by 2030 China’s share of global economic power will match America and Britain when both countries were at their peak. America’s situation has grown considerably more tenuous during the Barack Obama presidency.

Much of the blame for America’s economic malaise must be put at the feet of Obama, writes the on December 15, 2016,:

President Obama has conducted the most deleterious foreign policy of any U.S. president since Woodrow Wilson. This is not due just to a dead ambassador on the streets of Benghazi, a phony red line in Syria which led to 400,000 dead, two million wounded, and two million refugees, losing Egypt to Islamic radicals, or empowering a terrorist regime in Iran. Those developments alone are enough to rank Obama among the worst foreign policy presidents. Obama’s most egregious error is far worse — his inability to grasp the balance-of-power dynamics among the U.S., Russia and China…

A hard-edged realism by Russia and China combined with a lack of realism by Obama has led to the worst possible outcome for the United States…

Most threatening is that in the past ten years, Russia increased its gold reserves 203 percent, and China increased its gold reserves an estimated 570 percent. Such gold accumulations have no purpose other than to lay the foundation for a non-dollar based international monetary system…

And what does Obama do during the sunset of his presidency? He creates even more anger and more dissent — along with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party that cares far more of their candidate’s loss and the reputation of the United States than a smooth transfer of power where cry baby Democrats are unable to fathom their defeat.

Their caterwauling has grown tiresome. Arnold Schwarzenegger got so fed up that the former governor of California told Democrats to “stop whining” when he was on the show Today last week.

That will not happen as Democrats have turned Russia into the bogeyman responsible for most of America’s problems, real or imagined.  From the butchery in Syria born out of America’s failed occupation of Iraq that created ISIS, to Hillary Clinton’s defeat caused by her inept candidacy, the fault is laid at the feet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Finding scapegoats is as old as time. When Athens was defeated by Sparta the critic of that war, Socrates, was executed. Times are gentler now. But to speak out against Washington can cost one his job and reputation.

Yours in good times and bad,

— John Myers

*Kennedy, Paul, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000, Random Books, New York, 1987

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