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America's decline began in Vietnam?  America's strength has almost unimaginably since 'Nam.  What are you on about?

My main critique of the "America in Decline" talk is this: Seven years ago, America was spitting out 4% growth per year.  The poverty rate was falling.  The bubble popped, but the damage was, on the whole, quite minor.  (As I've pointed out, time after time, America never technically suffered a recession.)  Now, seven years later, America is -- somehow -- in some sort of great decline.  The British Empire fell, but life ain't too bad in Blighty these days.  The "declining empire" spin becomes quite weak when you actually look at the big picture.

Is there economic damage that has been done?  Of course.  We've wasted an enormous chunk of money -- to say nothing of lives -- in Iraq.  $500bn over four years.  But try to keep in mind that tis is less than one twenty-sixth of one year's output.  Give me a break.  America could pull out of Iraq tomorrow, raise taxes to balance the budget, and be in better shape than ever.

There is no great symbolism in losing in Iraq.  This has nothing to do with projecting power.  America could blow the entire region off the planet in a matter of hours if it chose to.  Bush launched a half-assed effort in an idiotic war.  That's it.  Trying to depict this loss as being a sign of America's decline borders on the religious in its objectivity.

I mean no offense, whatsoever, to you, Alexander, so all due apologies if any is taken, but it's simply ridiculous.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 10:03:14 PM EST
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Why do you think the neocons launched their PNAC plan to lock-in American hegemony forever? They are terrified. The whole PNAC idea is to use military power to compensate for decline.

The US manufacturing base has been disappearing since the middle 1970s. It is a neoclassical myth that you can run a large, modern economy on services alone, through the magic of comparative advantage. The middle class is disappearing. Most American parents with children still living with them are resigned to the fact that their children will have a lower standard of living than their parents did. The US is having a harder and harder time of keeping its allies (other than the UK and Japan) in line and a whole geographical region (Latin America) is slipping out of its sphere of influence. What is that if not decline?

The simple fact that the US political system could produce no better administration than the incompetent, predatory Bush administration—and could not even do so legally—shows that the system is in decline.

All empires decline sooner or later. The PNAC idea of an eternal empire is a Chimera, like the Nazi's thousand year Reich.

But this is not the place to discuss this issue. If the question of whether the US is in decline or not has not been diaried here, it should be.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 11:22:47 PM EST
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