America is in decline economically, militarily, culturally, morally, educationally - choose your area. Guess I could include athletically as well given that, at this writing, we're number 7 in gold medals at the Winter Olympics so far, but that's not so important. Economists expect China to pass us in a couple of years. Generals at the Pentagon worry that we may become unable to defend our Pacific allies against China if present trends continue. The cultural, moral and educational pieces are the causes of the economic piece, some would argue, and I'd tend to agree. But then I'm a former history teacher and familiar with what happened to the Roman Empire.
New Hampshire's Mark Steyn wrote a couple of books about America's decline. One, "America Alone," was a warning. The second, "After America," you could call a post-mortem preview because Steyn isn't optimistic that our decline can be reversed. I am. I'm not saying a renaissance is around the corner but it's possible.
Think about how it is with people in decline. I'm not talking about aging, here. I'm talking about becoming stuck in a negative pattern, a moral slide. The seven deadly sins have brought many individuals to ruin but can they bring down a whole society? We're watching it all around us aren't we? What makes men and women decide to do the work necessary to turn their lives around? Pain, usually. They look at themselves and don't like what they see. They don't like what they're becoming and they decide to do something. It's not easy though. We all know that at some level and most of us choose not to do the necessary work. Some try for a little while and give up. Others persist. They do a one-eighty. They completely change course.
Will America? Not without suffering. What form will it take? Hard to say. Some say the stock bubble fed by all that money-printing will burst, wiping out trillions in wealth, including pension funds. Some say inflation will follow with higher interest rates. As government bonds turn over to finance our $18 trillion debt, high interest payments will crowd out other items the federal budget. Entitlements will have to be cut drastically. How will that affect that large percentage of Americans who have become dependent on big government? Will they passively accept cuts? Not likely. Will pain take the form of massive civil unrest? Many Americans expect it to and have prepared to ride it out. Whatever kind of painful reckoning our burgeoning federal government brings down on us, my hope is that a new majority of Americans will seek a return to small government and strict adherence to our constitution after suffering through it.
Maybe our pain will arrive as a foreign policy crisis. Little good will result as long as President Obama and his chief dopelimat John Kerry continue to appease our enemies, abandon our allies, and diminish America's influence worldwide. The stage is being set for serious shenanigans that could flare up most anywhere because we're not being taken seriously anymore. Last week alone, Iran sent warships to our Atlantic coast to send "a message" while our "ally"- Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai freed sixty-five Taliban prisoners who killed Americans!
Steyn makes the case in "After America" that the British Empire's decline was genteel with the USA coming right in behind them before a power vacuum could form. England, for example, had been powerful enough that it could provide somewhat credible enforcement of its edict outlawing the slave trade in 1807. The trade continued, but it was diminished when slavers had to constantly look over their shoulders for a British warship on the horizon. Up until lately, leaders of rogue countries like Iran and North Korea worried about how America would react to their shenanigans. Now? Not so much. What will follow America? In his book "After America," Steyn claims it's basically "After us, the deluge."
Who will police the world's oceans? We see what's been happening off the Horn of Africa after Somalia fell apart. It's not unlike what Mediterranean shipping experienced under the Barbary Pirates during America's infancy. That situation spurred President John Adams to build our first navy. Will piracy spread to other oceans and seas as the US Navy shrinks? Who in the world will fill America's shoes as we pull back? Nobody else is capable.
Malignant regional powers will likely emerge. A Russian-allied, nuclear Iran will be the dominant player in the Middle East. Nuclear North Korea will be China's pit bull in east Asia. Will Japan will re-arm itself? Will South Korea? Maybe Saudi Arabia will buy some nukes from Pakistan and think about a navy. Israel will do what it must against its existential threat from Iran and it won't consult us anymore.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Family Security Matters.