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realclearworld

“Decline Is a Choice: The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy”

A masterful column by Charles Krauthammer in The Weekly Standard on the current path America is on. It's too bad it's too deep for libs to fully comprehend. They need to know the message of the piece more than we do. Here's a sample:

The weathervanes of conventional wisdom are registering another round of angst about America in decline. New theories, old slogans: Imperial overstretch. The Asian awakening. The post-American world. Inexorable forces beyond our control bringing the inevitable humbling of the world hegemon.

On the other side of this debate are a few--notably Josef Joffe in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs--who resist the current fashion and insist that America remains the indispensable power. They note that declinist predictions are cyclical, that the rise of China (and perhaps India) are just the current version of the Japan panic of the late 1980s or of the earlier pessimism best captured by Jean-François Revel's How Democracies Perish.

The anti-declinists point out, for example, that the fear of China is overblown. It's based on the implausible assumption of indefinite, uninterrupted growth; ignores accumulating externalities like pollution (which can be ignored when growth starts from a very low baseline, but ends up making growth increasingly, chokingly difficult); and overlooks the unavoidable consequences of the one-child policy, which guarantees that China will get old before it gets rich.

And just as the rise of China is a straight-line projection of current economic trends, American decline is a straight-line projection of the fearful, pessimistic mood of a country war-weary and in the grip of a severe recession.

Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.

Not that decline is always a choice. Britain's decline after World War II was foretold, as indeed was that of Europe, which had been the dominant global force of the preceding centuries. The civilizational suicide that was the two world wars, and the consequent physical and psychological exhaustion, made continued dominance impossible and decline inevitable.

The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon--and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.

Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

The current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction. It begins with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance. In Strasbourg, President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.

Read it all. And weep.

(More here and here.)

4 comments to “Decline Is a Choice: The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy”

  • raylove54

    Weep,I can't pick up the paper without weeping the lines are drawn this is the new America
    I would say this garbage is not worth the paper is printed on except is coming from the highest echelons of our government!

    'Gay' sex morally good, says Obama pick,Tapped to head Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Chai Feldblum "Gay" sex is morally good and is as "wonderful" as heterosexual relations, according to Chai Feldblum, President Obama's nominee to become commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    "Gay sex is morally good," she said. "Now you may think that might be a little crazy to go out there and say gay sex is good. But think a second. Society definitely believes that heterosexual sex is good. Right. Heterosexual sex within a certain framework – marriage – I mean, you can't get more dewy-eyed and romantic in this society about how wonderful that is."

  • Raylove, as I see it, gay sex is not the problem, but rather the way it is being used as a human rights-social justice issue, just as in Cuba. Sex between consenting adults should be private,period. Sex education should be left to parents, and should not be taught to school children. IMO flaunting of ones sexuality, whatever your orientation in public is inappropriate. If you cease from doing so, then no one will harass you.

  • Aren't the comments a little off topic? Unless we're discussing what's being done to us. :-)

  • Yes George they are, and that's where I was trying to go as in gay sex is not the issue. That the United States is rapidly descending into a socialist state, and Krauthammer, IMO possiby the leading intellect of our time, and generally a political moderate, agrees with what we have been saying for over a year should sound a national alarm. But will the average American take the time to find the resources to figure it out before it is too late. I am not optimistic.