Tuesday, September 28, 2010

America in Decline

Several scholars, most prominent among them Niall Ferguson, have written on America’s declining power in global strategic, economic, and cultural affairs. Their theme is not so much that America is undergoing a sharp decline in absolute terms, but that it is declining relative to its post-World War II superpower status and to the rising powers of China, India, Russia, and Brazil. America’s imperial overreach in the Middle East continues to drain resources, China, in contrast, is investing heavily in building relations with resource-rich nations around the globe.

Words have meaning. Ronald Reagan saw “Morning in America.” Confronting the Soviet Empire, he borrowed a pre-battle phrase from Maximus: “Strength and Honor.” His successor, George H.W. Bush sought a kindler, gentler America, implying that Reagan was too harsh. George H. Bush promised compassionate conservatism, implying that previous conservatives lacked compassion.

“Strength and Honor” anyone?

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