Saturday, July 2, 2011

Betting on America

This 4th of July weekend it is appropriate to take stock of the future of our nation, even as we celebrate its founding. Walter Russell Mead has an excellent opinion piece in today's WSJ titled "The Future Belongs to America." He argues that America is uniquely positioned to be the dominant nation of the 21st century. I couldn't agree more. This might surprise some of my readers who have read my analysis on the depths of our problems. They are in fact deep, but many other competitor nations face similar problems. Americans have a history of overcoming every adversity. We were the principle force in the world that defeated slavery, fascism and communism, all of which threatened to halt the spread of global freedom. Each victory took its toll in blood and national treasure, but our ideals, which most accord with the innate God-given spirit that resides in mankind, have prevailed. Further, when faced with a government that has obviously spent too much and made promises it could not keep, America spawned a movement that demanded less, not more government spending; that demanded less, not more government intervention in the economy. Meanwhile, in Europe, proposed cuts have been greeted with mass protests and violence. Our determination to deal with our problems head on, along with our dedication to freedom, including free markets, separates us from the rest of the world.

Mr. Mead's article sizes up the competition and finds it wanting, as well. A summary of his theses.
  • China is not the threat we believe. Its Asian competitors are strong and rising and have no intention of falling under its hegemony. I would add that I believe India is the Asian nation that has the most promising future. They speak English, are improving their educational system and moving increasingly towards full capitalism.
  • We have no other real rivals. No one seriously believes the EU will overtake us.
  • The philosophy of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood is not a real long term threat. Their lack of belief in real democracy is increasingly opposed in the Arab world.
  • In Latin America Chavez and Castro are jokes. Chilean and Brazillian moves towards ever greater capitalism and prosperity undermine the appeal of Caudillism.
  • Scientific and technological driven change continues to accelerate. America is all about change, "it's our home court." I would add that our culture of freedom as well as our deeply rooted democracy enables us to negotiate technological change better than other nations.

Back to the subject of India, I think its success will only be good for the United States. As it renounces its socialist past, as it embraces democracy and as it population is tied together and to the world by the English language, they are a natural ally of the United States. I could eventually see a special relationship in Asia between our two countries, as our interests coincide so closely.

So have a happy 4th of July weekend. Celebrate our country's rich heritage and its founding on principles of freedom that have endured to sweep the world. And be optimistic about our future, because we have so much to be proud of in our past.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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