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Dangerously Unstable: The World in the Age of US Decline

January 3, 2012


Not so long ago, a high-ranking Chinese official, who obviously had concluded that America’s decline and China’s rise were both inevitable, noted in a burst of candor to a senior U.S. official: “But, please, let America not decline too quickly.” Although the inevitability of the Chinese leader’s expectation is still far from certain, he was right to be cautious when looking forward to America’s demise.

For if America falters, the world is unlikely to be dominated by a single preeminent successor — not even China. International uncertainty, increased tension among global competitors, and even outright chaos would be far more likely outcomes.

… But those dreaming today of America’s collapse would probably come to regret it. …

After America – by Zbigniew Brzezinski | Foreign Policy

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Let me put an alternative hypothesis. America in 2011 is Rome in 200AD or Britain on the eve of the first world war: an empire at the zenith of its power but with cracks beginning to show.

The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. The high levels of violent crime, epidemic of obesity, addiction to pornography and excessive use of energy may be telling us something: the US is in an advanced state of cultural decadence.

Empires decline for many different reasons but certain factors recur. There is an initial reluctance to admit that there is much to fret about, and there is the arrival of a challenger (or several challengers) to the settled international order. In Spain’s case, the rival was Britain. In Britain’s case, it was America. In America’s case, the threat comes from China.

Decline and fall of the American empire

A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire – CBS News

America has long been a country of limitless possibility. But the dream has now become a nightmare for many. The US is now realizing just how fragile its success has become — and how bitter its reality. Should the superpower not find a way out of crisis, it could spell trouble ahead for the global economy.

Americans have lived beyond their means for decades. It was a culture long defined by a mantra of entitlement, one that promised opportunities for all while ignoring the risks. Relentless and seemingly unstoppable upward mobility was the secular religion of the United States. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, established the so-called ownership society, while Congress and the White House helped free it of the constraints of laws and regulations.

A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over? – SPIEGEL ONLINE

  1. Peter Gozinya
    August 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Fear and paranoia are symptoms of low testosterone. If you took some of that money you blow on “Bomb Shelter Chow” and drive over to GNC, you might not act so fucking crazy..

  2. January 7, 2012 at 4:47 am

    If America is in the benchmark of 100% the Chinese rising is nothing but to keep up to that point. If Chinese rising is keeping up to that point it just makes two in the same point, meant there are two existing superpowers. It does not mean that America declines to the point of 50%. If Chinese rising makes America retreat to 50% from original 100% benchmark it could be said that Chines rising doubles its speeding for she has keep up space with America. I do not think China can grow so fast. It is the view points of some pessimistic analysts that Chinese rising makes America in declining. It is rather a warning sirent to remind America keeping goimg instead of worrying that Chinese rising is America’s declining, unless you just allow only one superpower and see Chinese rising as if America’s declining. The pessimists view only encourage Chinese hastily growing but the American mind not without distressing. It does not need such kind of distressing, on the contrary, it should be by the mind of Chinese striving to encourage American going Ahead.

  3. Mark Rabone
    January 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    If America doesn’t get off its back side then you might call china the big brother, but when little brother who has been brought up on a western appetite grows up in ten years he will value human life and precious human time to live and injoy life no longer willing to work 15 hours a day for A 1$ an hour and with there cracks and gangarous industrial waste witch is already a ticking time bomb they will no longer be able to undercut there people and the world and the power and very aligably so will go to Australia.Victory to the victor on behalf of victoria Rome 2012 Ozzy no.1 Romainia, Germainia, Britaina, America, India , Asia, Australasia, Australia, you betta fucking pray America Dosn’t go down because who ever brings them down tows the cart and ther is to much weight for a emotionaly untested new western member. you try and wake up for work when your western miss’s has yelled her head off at you all night for getting her the wrong coloured gift. Man the Chinese don’t know what there dealing with in that respect and you can’t kill everyone. you can’t even open your mouth at them the wrong way or its no work for the worker because he is in jail, bla bla bla

  4. January 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    It wasn’t and isn’t the United States that made the world stable. History shows that the United States played a central part in instigating both World Wars and too many mercenary military operations to count. Korea and Viet Nam were just the most memorable. In 4 years of posting blogs and news items, people tell me that it’s worse than I say it is.

    I don’t see any indications that you allow trackback links or provide that option. Please let me know if you allow l8inks to other WordPress sites. I’ll await the answer before I post a link to your site in “The Daily Climb” or on my Facebook pages.

    • January 12, 2012 at 4:17 am

      My apologies George, somehow some of your postings ended up in the spam box but it is all resolved now. Please feel free to send links. The more information the better…

  1. January 25, 2012 at 6:48 am
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