Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dissing Declinists

Decline time!

While certain elements in the rowdy, risque and often risible realm of diplopolititary declinists moan and thrash about  - cautioning tall tales of Great Satan's inevitable decline via collectivist China - one of Great Satan's premier intelligentsia drops sweet deets and thoughtful tho'ts about the future of Great Satan's benevolent hegemony.

"...American power is based on alliances rather than colonies, and it is associated with an ideology that is flexible and to which America can return even after it has overextended itself. Looking to the future, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton argues that America's culture of openness and innovation will keep it central in an information age when networks supplement, if not fully replace, hierarchical power.

"...On the question of absolute rather than relative American decline, the U.S. faces serious problems in areas like debt, secondary education and political gridlock. But solutions exist. Among the possible negative futures are ones in which the U.S. overreacts to terrorist attacks by closing inwards and thus cuts itself off from the strength that it obtains from openness.

"...But there are answers to major American problems that preoccupy us today, such as long-term debt (see the recommendations of recent deficit commissions) and political gridlock (for example, changes in redistricting procedures to reduce gerrymandering). Such solutions may remain forever out of reach, but it is important to distinguish situations where there are no solutions from those that could in principle be solved.

"...America is likely to remain more powerful than any single state in the coming decades. At the same time, we will certainly face a rise in the power resources of many others - both states and nonstate actors. We will also face an increasing number of issues to which solutions will require power with others as well as power over others. Our capacity to maintain alliances and create networks will be an important dimension of our hard and soft power.

"...Rather than succumb to self-fulfilling prophecies of inevitable decline, we need a vision that combines domestic reforms with smart strategies for the international deployment of our power in an information age.

Pic - "When the Chinese demanded that the Farragut leave, and trained their guns on the Stars and Stripes, Pacific Command called the White House"