Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday, Sunday - November 7th

It looks like it’s time again for us to have the debate: is America in decline and how harsh are the limits on American power. We had this domestic argument when the Communist Party took over China. We had this argument when the Russians stunned the world by launching Sputnik. It recurred during Vietnam. President Jimmy Carter made his famous melancholy speech just to keep the pattern unbroken. President Bill Clinton sought the peace dividend and pulled out of Somalia and refused to try and stop the genocide in Rwanda. Then the last administration came along and resurrected American triumphalism. We would fix the Middle East. We would punish and contain the Axis of Evil. Saddam Hussein would be removed and punished for threatening the world and killing his own people with weapons of mass destruction. Variations of this debate occur about once every decade and that they get more rambunctious in hard economic downturns. With Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul leading the charge for enormous cuts to the defense budget, Australia telling the world (and us) that it can’t rely on the US in the future, the Chinese sub surfacing in sight of an American carrier, and all the national anguish centering on Iraq and Afghanistan it seems we are once again in the cycle of questioning our exceptionalism, our global mission, even our very identity.

Here’s the intelligence community’s view of the situation: “In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council released Global Trends 2025 which argued that ‘the international system (as constructed following the Second World War) will be almost unrecognizable by 2025 owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, a historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East, and the growing influence of non-stateactors. By 2025 the international system will be a global multipolar one with gaps in national power continuing to narrow between developed and developing countries.” ‘This conclusion represented a striking departure from the NIC’s conclusion four years earlier in Mapping the Global Future 2020 that unipolarity was likely to remain a persistent condition of the international system.

In a report titled, “Understanding America’s Contested Primacy” the conclusion is that having this argument usually results in our finding solutions to what ails us. And there is, for the foreseeable future, little likelihood that that the US will lose its place as “the leading state in the international system with a decisive preponderance in all the underlying components of power: economic, military, technological and geopolitical.” It may not mean, in Madeleine Albright’s felicitous phrase, that we are the “indispensable nation,” but the U.S. will be more than 'the first among equals'. One noted analyst puts it this way: “Although the United States will face increasing competition from rising regional powers and potentially new nuclear weapons states, much will depend on how well the United States as a nation is capable of mobilizing its residual strengths and managing the policy challenges it faces.”

That will mean that the U.S. will have to rely more on allies and partners. “Australia will need to take on a greater burden with us in the western Pacific,” he said. Vietnam and Indonesia are also likely new close friends in that region.

Are we at a strategic turning point in global affairs? It would be accurate to say we are “at an inflection point.” In a fine bit of understatement, one analyst said “a lot will also depend on outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan.“


On this day in history in 19XX Dennis L. was born; in 1805 Lewis and Clark 1st sight Pacific Ocean and in 1917 October Revolution (Oct 26 OS) in Russia, Lenin seizes power 

Meet the Devil

Padraic Flaherty came home drunk every evening toward ten.
Now, the Missus was never too happy about it, either.

So one night she hides in the cemetery and figures to scare the beejeezus out of him.

As poor Pat wanders by, up from behind a tombstone she jumps in a red devil costume screaming, "Padraic Sean Flaherty, sure and ya' don't give up you're drinkin' and it's to Hell I'll take ye'".

Pat, undaunted, staggered back and demanded, "Who the hell ARE you?".

Too that the Missus replied, "I'm the divil ya' damned old fool".

To which Flaherty remarked,
"Damned glad to meet you sir, I'm married to yer sister."
You'll hate me later for this:

Live Long and Prosper.....

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