The Descent of the American Empire

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Growing up a couple hundred miles from the U.S. border in Canada’s smaller province, I’ve always had a sense that we in Canada have a unique vantage point on the United States of America. From here, we can see that America is a large beast, but we are too close to see the whole thing. Sleeping with an elephant, we sometimes say.

I grew up with a feeling that America was the center of the world. There were people in the rest of the world, but that was just the backdrop to America. Maybe someday, the whole world would come to be like America.

More recently in my life, I’ve become aware that while America lumbers on, still the center of it’s own universe, the rest of the world isn’t paying attention anymore. America is becoming irrelevant.

The American military is without equal. That sounds good, until you realize that a massive military without an equal means you have an irrelevant army. America is building a missile defense system after being attacked with domestic civilian aircraft. America sees the world in need of policing, while the world sees America as something from which you should protect yourself.

Europe wants its own global positioning system, because they know better than to have their governments and companies rely on a system being run by an increasingly isolated America. China wants its own software systems, because they know better than to build their economy with tools built in an increasingly isolated America.

Economically, America is clearly still a massive power. However, thanks in large part to the success and growth of large American corporations, economic power no longer respects international borders. Great American brands like WalMart, CocaCola, and General Electric, know that there is money to be made in the rest of the world.

We use American institutions and companies as a barometer for the adoption of open-source software, while the power of open-source software is happily moving on without the US.

While the coming US election seems like the potential turning point inside the US, and the rest of the world will move regardless of who sits in the White House next year. The future lives in Asia, South America, Europe, Africa.

Meanwhile, America responds by talking louder, listening less, and tightening it’s borders. In ten years, or fifteen, or twenty-five, the lights in America will dim and it will see beyond its own glare, look around, and see that it is no longer the center of the world and that the rest of the planet has moved on without them.


131 thoughts on “The Descent of the American Empire

  1. I think China has the brightest future of any country at this point. As they gradually include themselves into the world market, they will slowly eclipse America’s buying power. They have 1.3 billion people. It’s inevitable.

    I, too, think the United States will slowly decrease in relevence over the years. Not because we’re getting worse, though (even if the Bush compaign has been a temporary regression), it’s becasue the rest of the world is getting better. They’re learning from our progress as well as from our mistakes.

    The next 50 years are going to be incredibly interesting.

  2. I respect your commentary, Steve. However, its kind of hard to talk about “America” in just a generic, general sense. It’s so large, so populous, so diverse, so free, that generalizations of it as a country do little good. Since the government has little control over the populace, the government may veer in one direction, while the people head in another (like the last four years or so).

    America vs the world is a nice way to attack American actions (I’m not calling your piece an attack) but in fact, it’s pretty inaccurate, since the immigrant population is so high, and US-born Americans often hold such close ties to their heritage, it’d be more accurate to say America is the world, and is the thick of where its going. Also don’t confuse America with American-made, commercially-successful exports (like entertainment). Many Americans don’t like that stuff either. But it sells. Here and elsewhere. For example, people love to shell out $US 10 to see stuff blow up in dark movie theatres. It’s certainly not uniquely American.

    As a regular American reader of your blog, I think we’re more like you than you may realize. And many of us, less so than you may think. And yes, space based missle defense is silly. Unless you’re a defense contractor. Government bloat and corporate connections and bone-head politicians weren’t invented in America. Refined here, perhaps.

  3. In ten years, or fifteen, or twenty-five, the lights in America will dim and it will see beyond its own glare, look around, and see that it is no longer the center of the world and that the rest of the planet has moved on without them.

    Opponents and adversaries of the United States have been saying this since World War II. I guess if it makes you feel better about yourselves, keep telling yourself this little story. Every indicator of economic growth directly contradicts your view.

  4. ~bc: Great points. I’m particularly aware of the weakness of making generalizations of what is already a generalization (a country). I often criticize when people anthropomorphize conceptual entities, like corporations or countries, so I’m in a bit of a glass house on this one.

  5. Steven:

    While you’re right about many of these things, let me explain who missile defense is defending against: China and North Korea. No one will say it, but the threat is credible. As you might know, I live in Huntsville, Alabama, where many of America’s greatest rockets were designed and tested. We know who the threat is—China’s entry into the space race is also a polite way of saying, “You know we have nukes, and now you know that we can land them in your country.” Spaceflight is generally as precise as strategic nuclear warfare.

    Of course, I don’t think that BMDO and DoD are managing the missile defense initiative very well, but I speak as a government contractor—I work on the NASA side of the house, and have no real desire to do the military stuff—so my view is askew.

    Having a ballistic missile defense system is simply a part of the greater American military philosophy: be so strong that no one will really want to mess with you on a large scale. That’s great against nation-states … not so much against terrorists. But then nation-states can kill a lot more folks at one swipe.

    Just adding in my bit … I concur that we as a nation lumber on through the world as the big, stumbling oaf.

  6. Well Steven, you certainly make a salient point, one which, ironically, many Americans would happily agree with (though many more, whose conception of the United States is somewhat narrower and tied to their own self-image would vehemently denounce).

    I think that the problem with your analysis is that it’s completely right, to point of sounding ipso facto… like it’s already known or felt that America as a geographic “place” is diminishing in its importance or relevance.

    It’s that globalization and globalized capital are permeating the world at a much wider and faster rate than ever before, and a great deal of it simply originates in the US or is controlled by firms located in the US. That they are “American” companies, as you’ve pointed out, is becoming less and less relevant. Geographic point of origin may dictate certain qualities of a company but I don’t think that it shapes the focus of a company’s core markets as it used to, nor does it control where or how they do business, as the examples of Bechtel or Halliburton would reveal.

    So what your essay lacks and what I think we should really consider discussing is: what IS America? I think that ~bc contributed some important thoughts towards this topic but it goes beyond just the fact that the US is “so large, so populous, so diverse, so free, that generalizations of it as a country do little good.” I think that there are four quadrants to this discussion, namely:

    • the American economic system (capitalism)
    • America’s forgeign policy (which encompasses more than just its military prowess; it also concerns how it conceives of itself in law when it comes to other countries (Kyoto and the ICC come to mind))
    • American pop culture (which I would argue has the least to do with America today and is the least controlled by the “United States” — American pop culture has more to do with brands reshaping themselves as false indigenous species to take economic advantage than to truly contribute to local cultures)
    • and finally, the actual 6 million or so geographic inhabitants of the United States

    Thus if you discussed this topic with these distinctions in mind, I feel like your analysis would be more interesting, viable and accurate. Again, as ~bc pointed out, you can’t simply lump “America” together and say that it’s starting its descent. In fact, a more interesting observation might revisit the history of former empires, especially the Grecian and Roman eras, whose people subsided due to their excesses but yet left a lasting and permanant mark on the face of civilization forever.

    Perhaps the more frightening issue here is not whether “America the place” is beginning its long downward descent, but who will be taken down with it? And what will the impending chaso bring to the world? Certainly I’m not suggesting that this process is going to happen any time soon, but I think that, like Steven, I can recognize certain trends that suggest more than just superficial cracks in the superstructure of the social phenomenon of American culture.

    If we Americans, the “elephant itself”, sense that our knees are beginning to buckle under the weight of our girth, than what can we learn from those around us watching us topple over while we, in grave denial, simply believe that the world around us is crashing down on everyone else?

  7. America sees the world in need of policing, while the world sees America as something from which you should protect yourself.

    America is the world’s cop because 1. the world needs one, and 2. no one else will do it, and 3. no one else can do it.

    Truth is, the world relies on the US to do its dirty work for them. America defends and provides military training and support for nearly half the world. And that’s not because we want to, it’s because we’re asked to and we know we have to.

  8. Steven, interesting post. Absolutely the kind of thing you’d expect a Canadian to write 🙂

    I say it’s interesting because as an American somedays I feel just as you do. I feel as though we’re the Roman empire, too rich, fat and happy to care anymore. I see the Barbarians on our doorstep (radical Islam) and I can’t help but feel that history is about to repeat itself. (That’s one of the reasons I’m a Bush supporter. He actually seems to recognise the dangers facing my country.) If America falls to some extent that’s a scary thing. Look at what happened when Roman empire fell to the Barbarians.

    But other days I go to work, walk through my town, spend time with friends and family and I find none of the decay that is taken for granted in intellectual discussion. To tell the truth in my personal experience I find this country to be moving forward at faster rate than I have ever known. (I’m only 21 so my range of memory is somewhat limited.) My business is booming, our country seems to have recognized the threats to our security and most importantly I’m free live my life as I please without hinderence from the government. What more can you ask of America?

    Being globally relevant doesn’t appear anywhere in our constitution and frankly as long as I have my freedom, I could care less. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons this country has been sucessful.

  9. In ten years, or fifteen, or twenty-five, the lights in America will dim and it will see beyond its own glare, look around, and see that it is no longer the center of the world and that the rest of the planet has moved on without them.

    Not to sound like a pessimist, but I have absolute faith in the United States’ convictions. I’m not saying that I support the U.S. in its’ efforts to dominate the world, but they have become so powerful and so far-reaching that the hope for dramatic change is, I fear, completely lost.

    Carl: I don’t agree that the world needs a “world police,” but you’re right in saying that no one else will/can do it. But I also feel that the operations that the U.S. has embarked on overseas are for a much more underhanded purpose than just keeping the world safe.

  10. Levi:

    … and frankly as long as I have my freedom, I could care less.

    That, to me, is the definition of the apathy that the U.S. government makes very good use of.

    Being “globally relevant” is an extremely important thing! We all live on the same planet; how are we going to survive if we don’t realize problems elsewhere that may not affect us now, but could affect our children or grandchildren in a huge way?

  11. Being globally relevant IS important with emerging powerhouse countries like China and a true European Union in the picture. I think the point here is that the rest of the world seems to be moving towards a truly global community while the US government seems intent on shrinking in on itself while pushing the world out more than ever. And the ‘descent’ is not really going to be economic or cultural ruin, but that the US will look up and find the rest of the world has decided to work together and the US will be excluded. To say that it can’t happen without US help is arrogant and shortsighted. Global initiatives like the Kyoto Accord aren’t being developed by the US but the rest of the world, while the US continues to remove itself from the world community by ignoring the UN (Although the UN needs some changes itself) and trying to impose it’s values on the rest of the world.

    The US governement doesn’t have the market on military prowess and training, they ask the Canadian forces to train them in mounted recce tactics every year. The walk tall and carry a big stick philosophy on defense is arguably one of the reasons the US is a target to terrorists, it’s not that the terrorists ‘hate freedom’ as GWB puts it. They could give a damn whether a housewife in Idaho is free or not, it has to do with how US policies affect there daily lives. The US playing political games; training this group of murderer’s over that one to gain leverage on oil and oil money is the reason the middle eastern countries hate them so much.

    The fact that some of you can’t see these things show how closed some of your views on the world is. The US is free and it’s people for the most part are decent hardworking people, but your governement has been making enemies behind your backs and signing deals with devils for a long time.

    Now I am not one of those Michael Moore followers who believes he is your countries modern day hero, in fact I have stated before that I dislike the man and his tactics, so don’t think I am basing my opinions on popular opinon. In fact in the upcoming election I only slightly favour John Kerry over Bush but I think the US needs a leader with a lot more vision and intelligence than either man has shown so far to build a viable future for the US. I hope I am wrong and whoever is elected does well for the US as I believe the majority of it’s citizens are inherently good human beings and deserve the all the best.

    Well, this was a long and meandering post, hope it makes sence and doesn’t step on anyones toes. I’ve said enough on the matter, on to more mundane things (like work…)

  12. Levi:
    Being “globally relevant” is an extremely important thing! We all live on the same planet; how are we going to survive if we don’t realize problems elsewhere that may not affect us now, but could affect our children or grandchildren in a huge way?

    I absolutely agree, but that’s not what this article is talking about. Let me qoute:

    More recently in my life, I’ve become aware that while America lumbers on, still the center of it’s own universe, the rest of the world isn’t paying attention anymore. America is becoming irrelevant.

    This is such a silly paragraph. For one, the rest of the world is more obsessed with America than ever. (Just look at how people from the UK are trying to convince our citizens on who to elect.) But most importantly, I could care less if I’m deemed “irrelevent” by the rest of the world if I still live a free life. That’s the crux of the issue.

    Citizens living in freedom has never and never will be irrelevent.

    The more I think about it, in the light of current events, how can anyone even suggest that America is globally irrelevent? I can’t belive someone would even suggest that.

  13. Andy:

    The reason the middle east s us is because they see us as a Christian, Jew-loving/controlled nation. They didn’t kill five thousand of our citizens because they disliked our economic policy or George Bush.

    Sorry about posting so much. I need to get back to work…

  14. Not to over analyze a small remark but I think it’s incredibly Canadian to say, “The future lives in Asia, South America, Europe, Africa”. It’s classic Canadian defeatism (and disrespectful to Mexico). We love being on the sidelines and not having to take any risks. We debate on the CBC how the WTC attacks are going to affect us, what Canadian city may be the next target? This stuff is like a game to Canadians because we have nothing at stake. No one cares about Canada because Canada doesn’t care about itself. Canadians love to blame this backboneless state on the Americans; it’s so hard to have a presence when we have THAT for a neighbor. What we need is to stop worrying so much about the US and start developing some self-respect. I certainly don’t mean this in any kind of a ra-ra Canada way, manufactured patriotism isn’t the answer. What I mean is let’s start taking some responsibility for change ourselves.

  15. How dare you speak your mind freely about the Greatest Country On Earth™! </sarcasm>

    Without slighting all the good things about the U.S. which get overlooked in all such discussions, the truth is that white European imperialism began long before the U.S. existed. I think that it’s important to look at the larger scheme of history and see the same behaviors and events repeating themselves.

    It’s nice to think that the world will somehow turn into a utopia, but it’s not going to. The battle between imperialists, extremists and others is simply part of the larger battle that involves every person, which we will soon be unable to ignore.

  16. The fact that you have to attempt to explain how America is losing power is yet another sign that the United States is still the worlds sole super-power and that our position as such is cemented for the foreseeable future.

    I also have the philosophy of “if you don’t like America, fine, leave or stay out.” We still take care of half the world and do the jobs (e.g. Iraq) that no other country is willing to do because either they are either too small and couldn’t affect change if they tried or they are full of appeasing and corrupt politicians who are too afraid of losing political capital to consider using their power for good.

    I’m not saying that America is perfect–half of our country wants to elect the completely spineless John Kerry to president, but we are the last stronghold of freedom in the world and regardless of any global opinion (including the consensus of the Canadians and American liberals) we’ll remain that way.

    Keep watching and predicting our decent to irrelevancy in 25 years… I personally wouldn’t hold my breath.

  17. To Marcus Vorwaller: If you care so little for our opinions why bother posting here at all? I also have the philosophy of “if you don’t like Acts of Volition, fine, leave or stay out.” I’m kidding, but if that’s your real attitude I think it’s kind of backwards to think other people care about your own opinions.

  18. To m: It’s not that I don’t care for your opinions, I just don’t care for your politics. When you attack or demean my country, I could either turn a blind eye and let it happen without defending it (which is what you’re saying you expect me to do) or I could stand and defend my country and beliefs.

    I’m sure we agree on many other subjects–music for instance, but this just happens to be one where we strongly disagree.

    Oh… and I meant descent 😉

    yafujifide: China? Communist China? Sweatshop China? I almost choked on my pretzel when I read that one.

  19. The problem is, ” if we don’t like America, fine, will you leave or stay out? ”

    I have to say that the moment Ahmurikans start talking about ” FREEDOM ” [ tm ] about 80% of the rest of the world is rolling in the aisles with tears of laughter at how duped they are; the 20% quaking with the fear of death knowing that it means the corporate boot boys are about to wade in to their nations, to maim and destroy next.

    what drugs are they putting in their sugared water to make them believe all that stuff !?!

    Ahmurika …

    look in the mirror you ignorant, obese, racist, bible bashing, porn obsessed, infantile thug of an oil junky, polluting, zionistic mammonist.

    yup, go chew up and spit out up a perfectly good planet and its peoples … but whatever you do, don’t stop taking the drugs because the rest of us are not going to be able to cope with your rehab.

    and if there is any chance that you carry your crusade into space within the next few generations, please go! take all of them with you! even the porn actresses … and especially the SUVs.

    because if you dont;

    Europe is going to rise again, unite and conquer you and make you all drive around in batery powered Chinese made Fiat Cinquecento.

    [ albeit, one each because that is all the Ahmurikan that could fit inside one ].

    Ahmurika’s pride is about as pumped up, artificial and worthless as those porn actresses’ boobies; and as viciously defended by its pimps. Pimp and whores, pimps and whores …

    Saddy, more Ahmurkians join its military than voluntarily actually get a passport of their own accord.

  20. I find it terribly strange for someone to take offense to an essay about the descent of the “American Empire”. It’s not something to be sad about, or angry about, it’s just something to acknowledge. The world is changing drastically and rapidly, and the United States is just losing it’s star position.

    It’s not that the United States is going to be defeated in any sense of the word, it’s simply a matter of fading into the limelight. Terrorism isn’t going to destroy America. Neither is economical shifts.

    The rest of the world, however, is finally learning how to stand on their own. We don’t need a single super power anymore, the world is too diverse for that. The fall of the American Empire is really nothing more than a slight shift, from world police officer, to more of a global parental role.

    I just hope the United States government catches on to that.

  21. Canin:

    “We don’t need a single super power anymore”

    I think that’s where the rest of the world misses the boat with America. Of course the world doesn’t need a single superpower. America has only been #1 since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s. We don’t want to be the single superpower, things just are that way for the time being. We can’t help it.

    Give it ten or twenty years and there’ll be another superpower to pick on, maybe then the rest of the world will leave us alone.

    We don’t want an empire, we just want our country to be free and to live our lives as we see fit. How is that wrong?

    And by the way – I don’t mean to offend – but in the land of irrelevent nations, isn’t Canada king?

  22. > The problem is, ” if we don’t like America, fine, will you leave or stay out? ”

    Sure… we promise not to invade your country unless you attack us or harbor those that do. Fair enough?

    >I have to say that the moment Ahmurikans start talking about ” FREEDOM ” [ tm ] about 80% of the rest of the world is rolling in the aisles with tears of laughter at how duped they are; the 20% quaking with the fear of death knowing that it means the corporate boot boys are about to wade in to their nations, to maim and destroy next.

    Ok, fine… laugh. That’s exactly what I’m saying, I DON’T care! If I’m being duped, I’ll take it! I’ve lived elsewhere, I know what I had then and what I have now and I’ll take America! Capitalism and all!

    >what drugs are they putting in their sugared water to make them believe all that stuff !?!

    I agree… we drink too much coke.. if that’s what your suggesting.

    >Ahmurika …

    >look in the mirror you ignorant, obese, racist, bible bashing, porn obsessed, infantile thug of an oil junky, polluting, zionistic mammonist.
    Ignorant – isn’t everyone about something?

    obese- not I
    racist- definitely not
    bible bashing- if you mean religious, I’ll concede that one to you, but it’s one of the tenants of Christianity to let others believe how and what they will. How different this is from the beliefs of other prevalent religions or the attitude of many atheists who seem to view religion as the ultimate threat to their happiness.
    porn obsessed – not me… and if you want porn obsessed, look at Europe! You don’t even have to open the covers of your magazines to find porn. It’s all over your billboards, phone booths and every where else you look!
    infantile thug of an oil junky- I kind of like the sound of that…
    polluting – it’s all relative… we are one of the biggest countries on Earth after all
    zionistic mammonist – is that a reference to the Matrix 😉

    >yup, go chew up and spit out up a perfectly good planet and its peoples … but whatever you do, don’t stop taking the drugs because the rest of us are not going to be able to cope with your rehab. and if there is any chance that you carry your crusade into space within the next few generations, please go! take all of them with you! even the porn actresses … and especially the SUVs.

    That was intelligent. Do some real research on SUV’s and their contribution to pollution, then come complain about them.

    >because if you dont; Europe is going to rise again, unite and conquer you and make you all drive around in batery powered Chinese made Fiat Cinquecento. [ albeit, one each because that is all the Ahmurikan that could fit inside one ].

    Is that a threat? Because it seems pretty empty to me. Creatively worded, but entirely devoid of significance.

    >Ahmurika’s pride is about as pumped up, artificial and worthless as those porn actresses’ boobies; and as viciously defended by its pimps. Pimp and whores, pimps and whores …

    I thought it was me who was porn obsessed? You can’t seem to stop mentioning it… Yes, I’m proud to be an American. Aren’t you proud of the country you’re from? If not, you’re jealous.

    >Saddy, more Ahmurkians join its military than voluntarily actually get a passport of their own accord.

    Really what have you accomplished with this post? You’ve said you hate America and all it stands for…. fine, because in the long haul, what you think isn’t going to change a single thing and choosing to live such a hate-filled life will only harm you.

  23. Great discussion so far everyone. Thanks.

    Since the topics can be a bit heated, it’s easy to slip into attack mode. We haven’t so far, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to post a friendly reminder here to play nice.

  24. All I have to say is: History repeats itself.

    Human evolution is inevitable. No matter how advanced we become with technology or what-have-you, people will act on instinct.

    That person has a bigger stick than me; he is a threat.

    Human greed is the most powerful emotion in existence. The want for the things others possess is very strong. Right now, the U.S. wants to control the world and all its’ oil.

    But why? We can generate power from wind, and water; possibly other resources which are being researched. I guess the government isn’t interested in these alternate forms of energy; just having control over another part of the world.

  25. Ryan Hillier: “Right now, the U.S. wants to control the world and all its’ oil.”

    Huh?! Where do you get that impression? Because Cheney worked for Haliburton and Bush was invested in oil? That’s quite a stretch to go from there to say that we want to control the world! If we wanted to control the world wouldn’t we have taken over Iraq? Are they not having free elections next month? Didn’t Bush say that if they elected a non-democratic theocracy he wouldn’t stop even that? (To leniant if you ask me.) I don’t see all the free oil, we conqured Iraq didn’t we? Shouldn’t gas prices have plummeted with the huge influx of free or super cheap oil? It’s been almost a year now. Am I missing something?

    I’m not attacking you personally, just asking you to think for a moment, is the USA really a big power hungry bully out to take over the planet or are we looking out for the best interest of the world? Sure, I’ll be the first to admit, we’ve made some serious mistakes along the way, but overall, can’t you see that we’re a force for good, not evil? We do the jobs no one else can or is willing to do and make the entire world wealthier, more free and a safer place.

    Thank God there are still people who recognize that and will vote for leaders who have those principles.

  26. Marcus:
    … asking you to think for a moment, is the USA really a big power hungry bully out to take over the planet or are we looking out for the best interest of the world?

    No, I’m pretty sure it’s just a big power hungry bully.

    Best interest of the world?” They’ve killed hundreds of Arabs and their own soldiers to “spread freedom” into the Middle East. The people who live there don’t want your democracy. They want to live as they’ve lived for the last thousand years; you can’t force people to accept beliefs and customs at the drop of a hat.

  27. Ryan: “The people who live there don’t want your democracy.”

    Afghanistan seemed to want it when they had their free elections. We’ll see about Iraq in their free elections. The point is that we’re not forcing any type of government on them, we’re relieving them of tyrannical dictators and terrorists and letting them to decide for themselves how they’ll be governed while a the same time, ensuring our own safety and liberty.

    I just don’t see how you can pretend to speak for people who have been opressed by dictators and say they don’t want freedom or democracy. They have had no other choice up until now!

    Just the fact that you can express your opinions here shows you have freedoms that they didn’t have. Do you really think that people want to live under opression?

    Freedom will take time to take hold, change always doe, it takes time and brings new challenges, but there’s not doubt in my mind that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan want their freedom just as much as you and I do.

  28. The nice thing is, all leading powers have a rise and fall. When you live at the time, you can see the rise of a power. Seeing the decline is much more difficult. In a way, it’ll be like wakeing up one day and finding out you’re not the top dog anymore, you couldn’t do what you used to, and your friends have move on or passed away.

    This isn’t something bad, it’s just the way of things.

    Also to be noted is that America’s time as superpower has been relatively short if you look at other superpowers (think B.C. Egyptians, Inca’s, Chinese, etc). The world as we know it does interact a lot more and a lot faster than it used to though, so it might be that superpowers ware out faster. And who knows, we might even reach a state of equilibrium at some point!

    PS. Rome didn’t fall because of the barbarians, it fell because it became to self-induldged, which is exactly the reason to not support Bush. Also, getting rid of Saddam, a great enemy of terrorists (as a dictator he wanted all the power to himself of course), wasn’t such a good move if your enemies are terrorists.

  29. I note that over 100,000 civillian Iraqis so far, that is little old ladies and young girls, have been murdered so far in the pursuit of Bush Oil. Mostly by American air attacks.

    On a pro rata basis, that is equivalent to someone coming in uninvited and murdering over 1,150,000 Americans to enable a regime shift just America is attempting to do so from one America initially built up to one Corporate America now wants.

    Murdering little old ladies and young girls from helicopters and large bombers is a speciality the Americans seem to have developed over the last 50 or 60 years to win their corporate and economic wars.

    Well, them, few environmentalists and a load of South American trade union activists.

    But it is the rape of this planet by the corporation and their short-term monetary policies that is going to leave the deepest potentially terminal scar.

    What I cannot understand is how shocked these moral retards can be when anyone holds up a mirror to their ignorance and selfcentred ” patriotism “. I am amazed at how sucessful the indoctrination process they have been put through from childhood has been. How successful the lure of Yankee Dollar holds them and the strength of the stupor of their mall empty consumerism.

    It is as though they dont even understand that they themselves are not in on the joke. That the corporations and leaders give just as much of a damn about the American people as they do anyone else’s population. That the Yankee Dollar is not even theirs.

    And look at the list of nations they have stomped on. Do they really think that those chickens will never come back to roost?

    Hey you guys, come and visit the rest of the world.

    It is just like Las Vegas but in 1:1 scale and when you look around the back, it is 3 dimensional. Or like Disney Land but without the hallucenogenic effects.

    Yankee Doodle

  30. Yankee Doodle: Really, your ignorance is apalling, which I’m assuming is why you posted anonymously. Where’s the evidence we went into Iraq for oil? Anything you could present as such is speculative and consequential. If what we’re doing is murder what do you call what Saadam did to his own people? What the terrorists have done and are doing all around the world? Are we supposed to wait for diplomacy to stop that?

    AkaXakA: Where’s the evidence? I still don’t see it.

  31. Yankee Doodle:

    Have you ever been to America? Do you understand what it’s like to be an American?

    I get up, I kiss my wife and my two children goodbye and drive to my job in my-gas effecient, small car. I’m a web programmer, I’m not rich – about middle of the road. I’m not fat, I don’t eat at Macdonalds. I care about the environment and I do my best to make sure that it is preserved, through recycling and driving fuel efficient cars. I give pecentage money to charitble organizations. I’m a Christian and I truly believe that we are responsible for our actions to a just God. I try to live my life accordingly. Most people I know live more or less the same.

    I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back or anything but it seems that some people who don’t know the country think of us as, oil-eating, -hating, arrogant, stupid, un-clutured, war-loving, cowboys. I don’t see that in America. America is just a group of human beings like everyone else. We have our stregths and we have our weeknesses. But we’re not evil.

    I’d be interested in knowing where you’re from Yankee Doodle. Are you from America? Are you from Canada, Europe? Have you ever driven an oil-powered car? Have you ever spent money to purchase goods? Unless your a John The Baptist style hermit you’re contributing to the problem. It’s easy to point the finger at the largest target but the rage you have towards my country seems unwarrented.

    To the people who America, how do you live your life? Can you share that with us? You’d be surpised to find how similar we all are.

  32. Of course, not every American is a fat, SUV-driving, ignorant fool.

    But Americans are, on average, quite fat. Apparently second only to South Sea Islanders:

    Americans, on average, do produce and buy bigger cars and do drive a whole lot more than most of the world. And the government continues to encourage car use through its subsidy of roads (~$300 billion per year), and by not adequately taxing for the air pollution caused by cars.

    And ignorance? I suspect that Americans would do pretty bad on a geography or world-events quiz. 🙂 And a recent study found that, to this day, a majority of Bush supporters still believe the early lies of the administration:

    So there is some truth to the stereotype.

  33. > More recently in my life, I’ve become aware that while America lumbers on,
    > still the center of it’s own universe, the rest of the world isn’t paying
    > attention anymore. America is becoming irrelevant.

    I disagree. Given how much discussion there is about the country – not to mention the envy and hand-wringing about its actions – I think America is more relevant than ever.

    And this really, really seems to piss some people off.

  34. Ian: Americans are eat well, drive nice big cars and have a nice, well funded highway system. Thank you.

    Ignorant? Many Americans are. At least 49% of the country, that’s apparent by the amount of support John Kerry is getting, but hey, half the country ignorant… it could be worse.

    Did Iraq have WMD’s when we went in? Probably not. Did every leader of the free world think they did, yes. That includes John Kerry, George Bush, Tony Blair and dozens of others. Did they ever have them and/or have the intention to have them again? Yes. Saddam had and used WMD’s, on his own people no less.

  35. All that you’re saying makes sense. I hate to see the way we’ve been going as a country, but I guess those things happen. Maybe we need another depression to balance things out…

    Actually, economically speaking, things are going downhill in this country. Already this is becoming apparent with the job situation (which is actually worse, as the unemployment figures do not factor in people who are not actively looking for jobs (they’ve given up)) over here. For info on this econ. talk, check this out:

  36. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Walmart owns a chain of stores in at least Thailand under the name of Lotus. That’s all I want to comment on but I hope you know that you’re wrong :-). America is do for a downfall in the future but I give us another century.

  37. Jon: All I can say is please don’t go into politics. You’re have the same type of pessimism that is so typical to the Democratic party of today. It’s the last thing the country needs.

  38. Damnit… I miss read you about Walmart. I thought you were saying they didn’t know… I need to start getting more sleep ;-). and that due in the third sentence is due not do… damn I suck

  39. Swell graphic, Steven. Haven’t seen that visual before, but I’ll be we see it again.

    It’s actually pretty well understood by the circumspect crowd that U.S. influence is peaking right now. India’s and China’s populations cannot be suppressed; new access to markets and communications technology will power things into a cultural numbers game that the U.S. cannot win. Funny, that. What does “win” mean? Whatever it does, the moment to watch for is when non-U.S. populations stop taking their cues from us, just don’t care any more. We (I’m a New Yorker) probably won’t notice till much later. As now, we’ll keep thinking it’s all about us.

    All of this makes me wonder if the ugly leadership personna we’ve marginally approved around here lately isn’t a collective anxiety acting out.

    You must understand, Steven, that the U.S. is a huge and wildly unmanageable polygot. I’ve lived all over the states. We’re not so united, honestly we’re not.

    I hold the common, Northeastern, European-derived worldview of individual sovereignty tempered by the wisdom of close quarters: the common good requires common priorities and common action, lived every day. Societal success isn’t in the water or the Bible, and more importantly isn’t in Darwinism either. Funny how present leadership cares little about the water, and simultaneously touts Yahweh, Jesus, natural selection (market worship) and a Cliffs-Notes Adam Smith. Put another way, funny how dogma is the most fluid of organizing principles.

    In the interior of the U.S. is a wide expanse of wonderful folks. Generous, honest, do anything for ya. And blitheringly brain-dead parochial. They get to vote same as me but, as far as they’re concerned, problems in an adjacent state aren’t theirs. Big cities and the coasts? Good luck to ’em. Europeans, Japanese and Mexicanos are acceptable in a distant and abstracted way, but suspicious because they haven’t learned the language yet and may not be trying hard enough. And they’re metric. We’ll stay here. They can do what they want.

    The U.S. has been too big to manage for a long time, but for a long time it didn’t matter. Now it does. Expect denial, the same denial that’s been letting us pretend we’re united. Times ten.

    There is a core of communitarian unity, fairness and service that spans this nation, and it’s our military. I can’t tell you, Steven, how marvelous a thing it is. It’s a surviving model, I think, of the seed of American advantage — and here I mean all of the Americas. We welcomed and drew the strivers, gave them a framework for achievement and reward, and steamed forward on their power. The U.S. military is like that: a functioning, large-scale meritocracy. What’s right about the U.S. still burns in that temple. And they come from all over. We are not thoroughly bankrupt.

    What’s at stake going forward are not the fortunes of the U.S. but the legacy of Western Civilization. Once, Araby and the Ottomans preserved and advanced the antiquities — math, science, art — while Europe was dark. Now we engage them again … plus a surging Asia, plus a burgeoning South America, plus desperate populations in Africa (and to a lesser extent Russia) who will not stay home as they once reliably did. Genie’s loose.

    Canada, the U.S., Europe and Latin America — the speakers of Romance, Germanic and eastern Slavic languages who are Western Civilization need to begin acting as one, to ensure that the best of what we’ve learned melds gently into the Asian future.

    The moment is now. This plays out over the lives of us and our children. The U.S., petulant and spooked and never that mature in the first place, sadly isn’t prepared to lead.

    You’re saying you don’t want us speaking for Canada, or Steven. I wouldn’t either.


  40. I think it would be wrong to assume the United States will fall like Rome and Greece. This assumes that a) History repeats itself, and b) The US is an entity that has ever existed before in history. One of those two is true. I see the US loosing its relevence as the nation-state loses its relevence. As people become more free around the globe, and can grow their own networks (get their own info through the net, make their own power via wind and solar) and move off the grid that controls them (be it a government that controls them, or a monetary system locking them in) they will become less aggressive, as it won’t be in their self-interests to attack other people/states to gain resources.

    The freedom to pull people off the grid that has slowly been eroding since fiefdom is coming from two directions. One top down: from places like the US where freeing technologies are created: The Internet, WiFi (and other wireless techs), science that allows things like wind turbines to work, solar panels, nanotechnology among politically free, creative people. And from the bottom up, from the poorest of the poor, who own little (unwittingly/wittingly free from material consumerism) and live in a small geographic space, strong family and extended families who rarely stray far from home, since that tends to be impossible do to lack of freedoms, money, and governments who don’t benefit from an educated, free populace.

    In the middle, they’ll eventually meet, in communities where people are equally self-reliant and community reliant. Encouraging an equal playing field, and a base of education and local small buinesses. Use what we can create, stay within our resources. As long as nations don’t get in the way, things will be good. We don’t need any stinking superpowers. How this starts is the last superpower standing needs to change the rules and set the example while on top: that starts by stopping warmaking. Have a Defense Department who’s job is defense, not offense. Conflicts won’t end any time soon, but should hopefully scale back greatly in the next 100 years.

    Or we can mark the next hundred years as the century the US trampled the world. Eh, either way works, what do I care, right?

  41. ~bc: a) it does, b) everybody thinks everything they do is unique.

    All superpowers which see themselves at the center of the world think they’re one of a kind and everlasting.

    Just like everybody thought WW1 was the ‘War to end all Wars’ it was called ‘The Great War’. Everybody said afterwards: Never must we have this again.

    So we had WW2.

    And sure, the next 100 years might be the US’s too. But we’re talking (I am anyway) long term here. Think a couple of centuries.

    Lou: The US not being metric is one of the reasons it’d help if the US didn’t think it was the center of the world.

    And when did the US motto become ‘Home of the Scared and land of the stagnant’ ? Because 3/4 kilderkin to the hogshead isn’t the way forward.

  42. AkaXakA: “And when did the US motto become ‘Home of the Scared and land of the stagnant’?”

    Dude, I dunno what’s going on, but it’s big. Check this nascent fascist koolaid episode:

    Nixon courted them, Reagan closed the deal, and Bush(2) moved them to the front of the column. Republican national-office seekers need evangelical Christian support — literally aren’t electable without it — and have thus created a monster. Reason is out, authoritarian voodoo is in. Who says the Bush administration doesn’t support alternative fuels. The U.S. is now powered by magic.

    Fascist nationalism has been defeated before, and will be here. But not enough people (notably moderate Republicans and the over-60 generations) yet recognize it. It’s actually still on the rise. Wish us luck on Tuesday, and pray that during the Kerry administration the full breadth of the Bush-Rove swindle is brought to light.


  43. Damn that is scary stuff Lou. Do they make people hold up their arms in a diagonal position yet?

    Don’t these people realise that they’re being manipulated and eased into a state of xenophobism and untollerance? Don’t they realise they’re being nudged in a direction which is far off from anything that America should/did stand for?

    Praying is ok, voting is better.

  44. [quote]Opponents and adversaries of the United States have been saying this since World War II. I guess if it makes you feel better about yourselves, keep telling yourself this little story. Every indicator of economic growth directly contradicts your view.[/quote]

    well said. america for all it’s failings is the greatest democracy on the planet and i feel that as a scots man, that america deserves it’s position of ‘policing’ the world community.

    after what has happened to the country and it’s people in recent times, i’m of the mind that why question americas motives? some folk say the war in iraqi is uncalled for and illegal, but why?

    if left alone, s hussien would have revised and continued his nuclear program and developed nuclear weapons, there is do doubt there – if there is then your a very niave person to think that s hussien had complied with the united nations.

    we are living in very dangerous times people, and as proved by numerous bombings no one is safe anymore. we are facing an increasing threat of international terrorism from fanatics who care nothing of life it’s self, believing instead they’ll be rewarded for their evil acts.

    so get a grip of how things are okay? the world and more so of america, changed after 9/11 and it’s a shame that so, so many people forget so easily of the magnitude of the crime committed against a non aggressive country and i might add, an ally of britain.

    america and its allies really need to kick some serious butt and it’s well over due.

  45. All I have to say is that America is in a mode of inner destruction. It has become so self-involved that it has lost the ability to see outside. Greed has more to do with America’s state than we’d like to admit here. America is a country bred out of rebllion. Rebellion always runs hand in hand with greed and arrogance. That attitude that says, “I can do everything better than you” And now that america has done everything better than everybody else, the slippery slope to nothing has begun. (Rome always comes to mind)

  46. You’re plethora of empirical and logical warrants for “the demise of the U.S.” are very well constructed. Bravo.

  47. Sure, I can see all the angles and China will rise along with the EU, but the United States has an opportunity to go “down” gracefully.

  48. This take couldn’t be more misguided.

    The reason the rest of the world is looking outside of America to fulfill its ambitions are exactly because America is ascendant. Other nations want to develop alternate systems because to accept the American system is perceived to be submitting to its economic and cultural hegemony. Jacques Chirac, for example, said as much — that it was necessary to be a counterweight to American power, if for no other reason, to act against it.

    America does not control everything and it never has, despite the mystique it has held for many decades. But no one can argue: its culture is powerful and, for lack of a better word, infectious. (I would say benevolently.) World powers bristle at the power of America’s cultural influence because it is a direct threat to their own, for better or worse.

    But don’t be misguided: their reaction to break from America isn’t evidence of the latter’s descent. It’s more an attempt to assert independence from its ascendant power.

  49. The world is becoming a global village, transportation enables you to be in any country in at least 24 hours. Think of it like this, yelling and beating your chest at a party envokes two responses. People will think their an asshole or fear them. Neither response is positive and in time people will distance themselves.

    Plus, remember all world powers fail at some point, Greece, Rome, Britain and next is the US. The key to remain elevant, not isolate themselves. WWII opened the US eyes a bit… the problem is that people within the US don’t travel much (see other points of view) and the culture within the US makes you either ”with the US” or against it… no grey area.

    Look, there is no perfect country in this world. But you have to rolling with the changes within your own society, the world and be apart of the community. The US does not seem to be able to that.. until it does, it will remain to become less elevant.

    As for the upcoming elections, the people will vote for who they deserve…

    PS. I live the US

  50. It’s interesting that you mention boarder tightening and isolationistic tendencies. It’s clear that you have not paid any attention to what Bush or Kerry have been saying about globalism. Both support the U.N. and that in itself in globalistic. The war in Iraq is illegal according to our Consitution which states very clearly that only Congress has the power to declare war. Bush running off on imperialistic ‘nation-building’ endeavors violates his oath of office and makes him a candidate for tyranny. But, it does not make us isolationists; instead it makes us interferers.

    The best way to solve many of the problems with America and its relationships with other nations is, quite simply, isolation. What I mean specifically is that we need to strengthen our boarders against illegal immigration. This is the primary source of terrorism and the effort spent on foreign wars could have easily been accomplished with far less cost by ensuring that those that visit our country do so legally.

    But it goes further. Illegal immigration destroys our national soverignty, as does our involvement in the U.N., the WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, etc. We are an independant nation and have no need for any international oversight. Conceding such is a major step towards national decline. “But, the U.S. is out of control”, you say. “If someone doesn’t watch them, who will protect us?” Well, the other side of the coin I propose is that America should not be interfering in the domestic issues of other soverign nations. We’ll stay out of your hair, as long as you stay out of ours. Isn’t that what all other nations are telling America anyhow?

    You may be concerned that American businesses will still endeavor to Americanize the world. I understand. However, you have every right to restrict any foreign business from operation in your own countries, including America’s. But, the fact of the matter is that you welcome American businesses in your borders because they have the capital to fund expansion and create jobs, thereby strengthening your own economies. The whole purpose behind NAFTA and FTAA is for America to export money and technology, while the other countries import unemployment and poverty. Hardly and ideal exchange.

    Now, I realize that what I propose may sound like “Pie in the sky by and by.” Who, really, is going to trust America to mind it’s own business? Clearly, this will not happen any time soon, but I am working toward that goal, one step at a time. I do not want terrorism in my country any more than I want my military policing other nations. It’s simply not our responsibility.

    Trying to figure out if I’m liberal or conservative? I’m neither, by current definitions. I’m a Constitutionalist.

    Thanks for reading!


  51. You, Steven, have the sensitivity of a Canadian. Your nation’s folk songs are rich and beautiful.

    It is a pretty image that you have painted, Steven; a tragic one. A tragic revelation for tragic times–

    America, crushing under the girth of its own convictions; America, the great idealist of realism. Perishing with a self afflicted would to her now faint heart. History, perhaps, will pity us and the spirit and America’s failed potential will rebirth in another people.

    —Sleep, Coin Harvey. You who sounded the bugle call. Your pyramid has fallen. We Americans are now lost. The path is black. The light to lead is one alone and solemn beam. The light, it is dim and dimming.—

    There is an air of ignorance among all your posts. It is an innocent ignorance that I almost applaud. It is an ignorance that is free from religious extremism that is running fervently through the coarse veins of America. It is the beast of the Anglo-Protestant. The beast is threatened by peace, art, and science, and the questions that rational thought encompasses. It is a similar beast that has brought upon the holocaust. It is the same beast whose face has hidden under the cloaks and masks of the Ku Klux Klan. It is now showing its face in Opus Dei (Latin for “God’s Work”).

    Opus Dei was founded in the 1920s by a Spanish priest, Josemaria Escriva, who later aligned himself with Fascist dictator Francisco Franco. Opus Dei is a cult that our State Senator belongs to. This Kansas State Senator is Sam Brownback.

    “Brownback now lives with Santorum in Washington in an Opus Dei house, where they participate in this murky cult with other conservative extremist insiders such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, disgraced Iran-Contra National Security Adviser John Poindexter, and right-wing columnists Lawrence Kudlow and Robert Novak. Convicted FBI spy Robert Hanssen is also an Opus Dei member.”

    John McCloskey is a “priest” of the Opus Dei. Google him if you’d like.

    These are my reasons no American should vote for George W. Bush. He caters the Evanglical Protestant vote. Their agenda will cause the destruction of our Republic. Their agenda is not American. It is not an agenda of freedom. It defies the basis of our Constitution; one of the greatest political doctrines ever written.


  52. Liberal or Conservative?

    There has been a dramatic political shift in America. I.E…

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.”

    Who said this? A Republican or a Democrat?


  53. Expanding upon the above:

    “The Federal Reserve Board’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances supplement on high-income families shows that in 1998, the richest 1 percent of households owned 38 percent of the nation’s wealth. The top 5 percent owned almost 60 percent of the wealth.”

    Hm. That above qoute seems to’ve already taken place. By the way, it was Abraham Lincoln.

  54. You know I don’t mind that people critize the U.S. government, its people, their way of life or anything else. I just wish some of these people (citizens of another country) would take as much interest with issues within their own countries and try to resolve them with as much fervor as they do ours.

    Then maybe we could cut down on our spending that supports and protects so many other nations. This way we (the Unites States) could actually turn that money around and invest it into our own healthcare/retirement/education systems instead of financing someone elses.

    I was going to post more, but then decided not to. Why? Because this post has been covered just about every where else that U.S. bashing occurs.

    (Keep in mind I am biased as I was born and raised in the U.S. and am a former U.S. Marine)

  55. Hah. Neighbors to the north my foot. Canada is just a lumber shortage away from becoming another state. Exporting Celine Dion alone should be considered a terrorist act, punishable by regime change. We will take you over and build a beer pipeline across North America…

    Just joking. If Bush wins the election I am seriously considering a move to Canada. I can’t take this crap anymore.

  56. I guess it is a clear equation …

    I am not concerned about the decrease of American power, but the increase of American brutality.

    As real influence declines, violent coercion increases.

    How can the American people fall for it, be suckered in time and time again, bleating like little lambs ” freedumb … freedumb “.

    How can they allow themselves be so used by the capitalists, the power mongers, the money men?

    How can they believe so blindly in the propaganda … all in the hope that they might share in a tiny bit of the booty.

    I dont believe that it is the American peoples that are at fault but that they are so blindly being led by such devious self-centred ugliness of their puppet masters. And believe me, they will taste that same brutality in time.

    Free-dumb free-dumb free-dumb … what on earth does that mean!?!

    Hitler, Stalin and Goebels writhe in envy at the power and manipulation of these Yankee power mongers …

    I always thought that the superpowers would not wait until the last barrel of oil to start fighting over it and I and thinking now that this war America has started, has been goading for 50 years through Israel, is not just a war on the Middle Eastern oil fields [ it has nothing to do with Islam ] , on Opec – but that they have actually struck the first low on a war against Europe as well.

    I am just afraid that the masses of America from bigoted proletariat to super elites are so easy whipped up, drugged up, stupified and can become rabid enough to want to join in on such a war; a war to protect their addictive indulgences. Cheap oil, unlimited energy to waste.

    Now, it Europe is to contnue uniting and expanding to include the rest of Eastern Europe and into Russian State, as it is, it’d be one hell of a war that America could not win … except by nuking flat.

    And I would not put it past them.

    Frankly, it is about Europe got together and did a deal with China and the Middle East and kicked America’s ass.

    On its energy consumption and pollution alone, it is one big fat leech the planet cannot afford. But would the poisoned parasite of the multinations corporations die with it or just pass on to somewhere else in another form? Their global ecomony is not an economy at all, it is just a robbery and far from true capitalism.

    What gives them the right? Oh, I forgot … because they are free to do so and the rest to the world is not.

    And the like of GI Joe marines above; nothing more than mercenary forces in the service of their dollar machines drugged up with the fundamentalist chants …

    ” Free-dumb free-dumb free-dumb. ”

    I am so sick of it … all nationalism sucks. And America except perhaps for Israel and South Africa, is by far the most racially divided nation on earth.

    Look at the farce of this entire war episode … who was it who built up both Osama and Saddam? Just as they did Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia? The Pol Pots, the Papa Docs, the Sharons and Suhartos, School of the Americas, the Contras and Noriegas … the list is endless.

    Do the American people forget so soon?

    Is it too much to add up all at once?

    Can you not understand why the rest of the world thinks that you are the global terrorist?

  57. When you have built the greatest, the biggest, the everlasting superpower you can look in the mirror and say: “In a thousand years it will all be forgotten.”

    The US may be remembered for more than a thousand years, but the point still stands, after time everything will fall. Nothing is everlasting, it’s just how it is.

    The Iraq war was a failure, you made the rest of the world sympathise with a dictator.

  58. Sadly,

    The greatest failure.

    Proof that the right to democracy must be earned with intelligence, humanity and a conscience – not handed out like a grenade to whatever idiot comes along next.

    God save us … I guess that means World War III then?

  59. Anyone who has studied history knows that all big and small empires have a cycle. They rise and then they fall. The US has been an interesting empire because up to now it has always sought to be a merchant superpower, often staying out of conflicts much to the chagrin of other countries (see WW1 & WW2) until absolutly necessary or provoked.

    Americans have always looked inwards but 9/11 as everyone knows has changed that. How much longer will this continue, probably 4 more years.

    To call America on the decline is interesting, I mean the very thing we call the Internet was developed by the irrelevant US Army and then championed by Universities and now we use it. People accrosss the world still wait with baited breath for the latest hollywood blockbuster to release.

    America will regain its luster, you’ll just have to wait.

    And I wouldn’t be so quick to wait for the coming Chinese Empire, just ask Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong what happens when the Chinese Empire sets your eye on you…

  60. Interesting to claim that the web evolved solely from Arpanet. Maybe you should study a bit of web history. ;-P

    The major thing to worry about is that this elephant that Canadians sleep next to is currently on a stampede through an Islamic porceleyn cabinet, believing in all earnest that they’re chosen by God to bring peace and prosperity to the ‘Barbarians’.

    Maybe it’s not only Islamic fundamentalism that the world should worry about, but Christian fanaticism as well.

  61. This is all a prime example of some American believing the propaganda, the dream they are fed that is a nightmare for the res tof the world.

    > The US has been an interesting empire because up to now it has always
    > sought to be a merchant superpower, often staying out of conflicts much
    > to the chagrin of other countries (see WW1 & WW2) until absolutly necessary
    > or provoked.

    Bearing in mind the early American were essentially British, what do you call the use of gun ships and consistent threats of violence upon Japan to open up to their power, for an example, in the 1870s? The uninivited economic demands, blockades and warfare that started decades before and continued up until the provocation of Pearl Harbour caused by the stranglehold hold being applied by the New Americans in order to open up a largely closed government and economy to their merchants and military protection racket.

    > Americans have always looked inwards

    Most of them cant even find their way to the shoreline nevermind buy a passport but that is more to do with Xenophobia. At least half find it hard to get off their couch and travel further than the cooler due to obesity.

    o Approximately one-fifth of America’s food goes to waste, and that’s not counting the vast amount that ends up as flab. This adds about $31bn to the GDP, a figure which could feed those who die of starvation each year twice over.

    Up until the 20th, you guys were still trying to look inwards to find the Mid-West of America … in between ethnic cleansing the actually native inhabitants of that land. Is it a wonder that your nation produced a monster like Saddam?

    You guys are the modern industrialised specialists of ethic cleansing; the slaughter of little old ladies and young children through out the Far East [ Japan, Vietnam, Korea ], Afganistan and now Middle East.

    Perhaps the common American people are … travel of any sort has been very limited for peasant stock until the 1960s but the Anglo-American coporations, support every step by your lapdog bought governments have hardly been resting. Econominc and cultural dominance is also war; Central and South America, Far East, Africa. And why bother when you can see it on Discovery Channel anyway?

    Let’s face it, you cant get to the airport if you try …

    o American motorists sitting in traffic jams spend over $5bn a year on petrol.

    > To call America on the decline is interesting, I mean the very thing we call the
    > Internet was developed by the irrelevant US Army and then championed by
    > Universities and now we use it.

    Tim Berners-Lee was British and CERN is in Switzerland. European funded with a small credit to Steve [ Apple ] Jobs may be.

    Pressumably, we can be sure that this education of yours is a product of a US University?

    What we have to thank America most is for the raping on the internet community by the first and most persistent spammers spamming filth. Jewish-America lawyers for the record. Their successor Jewish-American [ actually that should read ” so-called ” ] remain amongst the top by far as anythiing up to 80% of all emails glabally are unwanted sexual abuse.

    Thank you America, Land of the Free [ Pornography ] [ Even if you dont want it ].

    > People accrosss the world still wait with baited breath for the latest
    > hollywood blockbuster to release.

    Yup, as said, what you do best and most, and spend most on is Pornography. Hard and soft pornography. New Hollywood basically fits in somewhere between pornography and junk food, bubble gum for the mind.

    What is it they say, America spends more money on pornography that all the arts and culture put together; ” Roll over the Enlightenment and Renaissance guys, let’s just stay home and masturbate over projections of Demi Moore / young girls spreading them “.

    Name a recent made Hollywood movie without several young naked breasts in it.

    o interestingly, web pornography since it some $2bn to America’s GDP.


    o in the USA, erectile dysfunction or impotence, are on the increase, a $1.5bn industry.

    So if someone can get it up, its not going to be an American.

    > America will regain its luster, you’ll just have to wait.

    Is that before or after it has ejaculated its end of life armaments over some baby nation state and emergent independent economy; or are we going to have to wait until some disease kills off the white man and the coloured nations rise again.

    Actually, perhaps you are right; may be the Hispanics will go for a replay of the Alamo and all the Americans will be too fat to run away.

    > And I wouldn’t be so quick to wait for the coming Chinese Empire,
    > just ask Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong what happens when the Chinese
    > Empire sets your eye on you…

    Well, perhaps Tibet would not have gotten whacked so badly if the CIA had not been pouring in Mllions of Dollars and arming up the Dalai Lama’s brother and his terrorist friends?

    Pretty much the same story goes for any extremist right wing terrorist insurgents worldwide. The Yankees were always happy to pour in Dollars and create mischief if it suited their connivances.

    Look at the way it built up Stalin’s industries – even those that served the military – Post-WWII and during the Cold War. Look at the ties between the US, Nazis and Neo-Nazis today in East Europe. Look at what they are doing to the social workers, worker activists and environmentalist in South America and SE Asia.

    Funnily enough, I dont think Americans are bad people, they are not. Most are fine people … but they are so dumb to what their leaders/exploiters, those that capitalise on their goodwill and hard work, are really up to.

    Do they know how corrupted their education is?

    If Americans are inward looking it is because they have not realised that –

    they have been blindfolded to their exploiter’s global attrocities.

  62. There use to be great selfless potential for America. But the good man lost.

    “Coin” Harvey once proposed the building of a pyramid that would resemble the great pyramid in Egypt. In it we were to bury the rise and fall of America. Including our inventions, art, everything that America had accomplished and even our mistakes.

    This is the eye above the pyramid on the U.S. dollar. It was not meant to watch you, but be an EXAMPLE of hope, peace, and liberty.

    The base of this pyramid exists in Arkansas. I forget the town.

    Henry Miller mentioned him in his book “The Air-Conditioned Nightmare”.

    He had one thing to say of America. That America will no longer produce men of great stature; artists, philosophers, saints, etc. The system has devoured them. The American people have or will be rendered docile. He is one of the last great minds America has had, yet, we disowned him.

    I wonder how many voted for Bush know of their agenda: The Project for the New American Century. It frightens me.

    As an American, it frightens me.

    There will be another attack soon. And as shamefully I may admit, we may deserve it.

  63. The Brits made an accurate assesment of the US military. During WWII thay already said: “If the Germans fire, the Brits and the Americans take cover. When the Brits fire the Germans take cover. When the Americans fire everybody takes cover. The so-called military power is purely based on material, take itaway and they all down in their own arrogance.

    When is the US going to learn from history? When you first create a problem and then fix it, it brings you back to zero and does not make you a winner! The US seems to be short term focused and blind to history:

    Chile 1972.
    Salvador Allende was the first democratically-elected socialist ruler in world history. In short President Nixon didn’t like it. Augusto Pinochet held right wing views and in the 1950s played an important role in the suppression of the Chilean Communist Party. Therefore Pinochet was the chosen one, together with the CIA starts plotting to remove Allende from power. On 11th September 1973, Pinochet led a military coup against Allende’s government. Allende died in the fighting in the presidential palace in Santiago. Over the next few years Pinochet, with the help of 400 CIA advisers, privatized the social and welfare system and destroyed the Chilean trade union movement. Pinochet also received help from Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative government. This included Britain supplying arms to the regime and blocking attempts by the United Nations to investigate human rights abuses in Chile. Declassified US archives prove that the United States government approved funds for actions to prevent Allende’s election and, later, to destabilize his regime. The role of the US in the coup itself has not been established, but a document released by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2000 titled “CIA Activities in Chile” revealed that the CIA actively supported the military Junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet’s officers into paid contacts or agents of the CIA or US military, even though the agency knew that they were involved in systematic and widespread human rights abuses. The situation in Chile came to international attention in September 1976 when Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and minister in Allende’s cabinet, was murdered by a car bomb in Washington, D.C Gen. Carlos Prats, Pinochet’s predecessor as army commander, who had resigned rather than support the moves against Allende, had died in similar circumstances in Buenos Aires two years earlier. Slowly the US to starts to distance themselves from Pinochet to finally condemn his rule.

    Iraq 1979.
    The US looses its biggest alliance in with the Middle East after the 1979 Islamic revolution and we all know about the occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by militant students. The US was desperately looking for a new alliance in the region.
    Who better than the new president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, he, in 1979 achieved his ambition of becoming head of state. For years he was the power behind the ailing figure of the president, Ahmed Hassan Bakr. Therefore Donald Rumsfeld, yes the one and the same, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad on December 20, 1983 and since that time Saddam received support the US, e.g to fight the Iranians at least until the end of the war in 1988. The United States supplied the Iraqis with intelligence, and committed the US Navy to safeguarding the flow of oil out of (and the flow of money and arms into) Iraq, but secretly sold arms to Iran in order to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua, and gain influence with hostage-holding Muslim militias in Lebanon. Not to long ago he is removed from power on false pretences and against UN advise.

    Afghanistan 1979.
    In 1979 “the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA” was launched in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal. The Islamic “jihad” was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade. This operation was largly financed by “our government” trading drugs and we are not talking about pot. In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166,…[which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, … as well as a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan’s ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan and supply operations for the Afghan rebels lead by Usama Bin Laden. Pakistan’s ISI was used as a “go-between”. The CIA covert support to the “jihad” operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISICIA’s Beardman confirmed, in this regard, that Osama bin Laden was not aware of the role he was playing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): “neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help”. Motivated by nationalism and religious fervour, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. We all know the rest of the story.
    And so on and so on.

    If you read old roman scriptures, at the end of the 1st century A.D., the economic situation of the Roman Empire experienced a marked downturn. Civil wars led to the ruin of Italy, and money needed to rebuild was lacking. The empire had not conducted wars of aggression since the time of Augustus, at the beginning of the century, maintaining instead a defensive policy. Coming to power in 98 A.D., the emperor Trajan proposed an ambitious solution – to resume a policy of military aggression, to conquer new territory for Rome, and thereby to resuscitate a moribund economy. And that is precisely the way the Bush administration has tried to raise the efficiency of the American economy, by seizing control of Middle Eastern oil. Rome’s neighbor, Parthia, was chosen as the target of Trajan’s campaign.
    Parhia was a state located on the territory of contemporary Iran, extending from the Hindu peninsula to Roman Syria. It was considered the second superpower of the ancient world. In addition, Parthia was at that time considerably weakened by internal strife, nomad incursions, as well as the separatism of individual rulers. Judging by everything, the Romans hoped that defeating Parthia would not be too difficult.

    Like the Romans the US currently has a dramatic rising “SAG” factor. The term stands for Stupidity Arrogance & Greed and will cause the collapse from within. Afterall, historically, what do all self announced “superpowers” have in common, they’re gone. If you could buy an american for what he is worth and sell him for what he think he is worth you will never have to work again. The political mess the US is in right now is caused by the brilliance of marketing and stupidity of it’s people.

    I personally think that there is either a Dr. Joseph Goebbels reincarnation or a very very good student off his somewhere in the Whitehouse, the propaganda levels have gone up dramatically over the last 4 years. The Germans didn’t think there was anything wrong with it either in the 1930’s. It is scaring the hell out of me.

    Whatever happened about sepration of church and State? Now that the imbecile is re-elected. I am not shocked that he is an imbecile but it is very worrisome that he was re-elected. This indicates to me that the US has elected to be in a collective state off stupidity.

  64. Thanks Ricardo for supporting everything I wrote, you are the perfect example of the “A” in the SAG factor (Stupid, Arrogance and Greed). You are very likely also not part off the 7% of Americans that have a passport. Therefore you can’t actually base your conclusions on experience vs. the propaganda you are given on a daily basis.
    You are not to blame personally; the propaganda already starts in your school system, you teach kids how to pass an exam to make the school look good instead of actually teach how to use their brain and think for themselves. Americans in general mistake regurgitating data for intelligence; the capability of actual critical thinking is never learned.
    As expected you run out of anything intelligent to say and revert to name calling as your only option, typical, but I won’t come down to your level.

  65. With regards to SAG, right on Mr Smith.

    I’m sorry but I’ve been reading this blog for some days now and I can’t help myself any more. I’m with Jack Smith on this. I would rather have my eyeballs pierced repeatedly with hot pins for the rest of my life than live in the US. It’s not because I’m jealous it’s not because there aren’t aspects of the US, that aren’t great and wonderful, a lot of the people are lovely, I have some fantastic American rellies and I love their go getting attitude but there’s no middle ground, no moderation in anything, every issue is right or wrong, black or white and no matter how hard you pretend, life’s not like that.

    I enjoy conversation that has more than one level, I want my children to be educated properly, I hate brass bands, I watch opera, I make jokes and have a sense of humour, I have a sense of mischief, I love to have people take the mickey out of me – being pc is not the same as respecting someone – and to take the mickey back, I like to watch films which are not so obvious I’ve guessed the entire plot by the end of the first 10 minutes. I appreciate the power of emotion but not when it’s phony and I like to direct the power of my emotions with facts – I like living somewhere where people acknowledge their emotions but do not let them entirely govern their actions without thought or analysis. I want to live somewhere where people think, albeit briefly, before they act. I don’t want to live in a nation which routinely tortures its prisoners of war (Vietnam too) and where, in many places, every day life has the texture and subtlety of a cartoon.

    I couldn’t handle the naivety – the idea that big businesses won’t cut corners and lie to consumers because it’s unethical. Too right it is matey but it ain’t gonna stop it happening, it happens all the time they’re run by humans and we’re like that. Then why is it that if we can get solar power to work well here the UK to reduce our energy consumption and energy bills by up to 20% in some places why is it not everywhere in the southern US. I asked my friend in Texas “Oh if it worked the government would have tried it” he told me. Well heloooooo! WAKE UP!

    I would like to live somewhere where the educational system teaches children to think (not necessity my country). Education is not some State Board meeting in a room going “ok there are five theories as to what caused this event, which shall we tell them is true”. What you do is teach all five theories and teach the kids to look at the facts and think through which one might be the most plausible. You do not teach them that the second world war started in 1941, the date you joined, when you were one of the last two countries to join (had to wait until you’d economically crippled your only contender for big western empire afterwards) and a quarter of the globe (and that’s just one of the countries at that time) was involved from 1939.

    Finally right with Mr Smith on this one…. He’s not the only person whose noticed the parallels between Bush courting the “Christian” (yeh about as Christian as Jack the Ripper) right and Hindenberg thinking he could control the National Socialists….

    It’s really not because we’re jealous it’s because to the rest of the world it looks like every man jack living in America is a raving nutbar, a whole nation of them with lots of money and lots of power versus another one, Mr Bin Laden, who has lots of money and lots of power. And we’re all stuck in the middle! No wonder we’re shit scared!

    Also how does Osama Bin Laden causing 9/11 suddenly commute into “Let’s get Saddam”? No logic and since Osama is still at large who’s next?

    To the rest of us America looks like a large friendly dog running round and round a coffee table enthusiastically wagging its tail and knocking glasses, cups and priceless artifacts to the floor in all directions. It’s only a matter of time before everything on the table of value is destroyed, no wonder everyone looks pissed off.

    And yes, I have actually been there.

  66. Sorry about that, I really respect your answer and I apologize for the namecalling; I was 6 years old when I was watching Roger Maris attempt to break Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1960 61? and later in life I wondered how I was hooked into that it was ok for Mickey Mantle but not Roger Maris to break the record, and the hell it put Roger Maris through, how does that happen? That the media can infuse into a 6 year old to be against someone for no good reason. No I am not the American you think I am, I would never be caught dead with a commercial on my clothes, I tell people here that the reason other countries get our precios foreign aid is because we are raping that country and don’t you forget it, and the anti-abortionists and anti-smoking idiots, I ask them “Do you really think that rich people are not going to have abortions and smoke cigarettes anymore” Talk about insulting someone’s intelligence which they are doing by saying yes to that question, so I punch them in the mouth, I flat out refused to go to VietNam(the draft lady thought I was funny and gave me a college deferment, didn’t go to college for a year after that too, go figure) That war was just to take the energy, freshness, opportunity and spirit of young people finally agreeing not to treat each other by the color of skin(sad sad). It was just to kill us young Turks, besides the oil that’s probably why Bush is still President, the dinosaurs are in the way of progress and don’t want to keep up.

  67. I think your piece is interesting, it sounds more like schadenfreude than disciplined analysis of trends in world affairs.

    There is no consensus on whether the united states is, in fact, in decline in terms of its economic power, military supremacy, or political influence. I am no fan of the current administration or the invasion of Iraq, but I am also not sure if the world would necessarily benefit from an absolute decline in American power. Europe is not ready to provide for its own security, let alone the security of other unstable regions. China is, for sure, on the move towards becoming an economic giant, but the process is fraught with problems and their success is by no means assured. We look to china for investment opportunities and as a market for our goods, but the Chinese look to us for the same reasons. And as a Canadian, I’m surprised that you fail to recognize the importance of the United States with respect to Canada’s interests. A vast majority of Canadians live within 50 miles of the US-Canada border. The United States is Canada’s biggest trading partner and this relationship is only becoming more pronounced.

    You suggest that people are turning their attention away from the united states as their pursue their own interests and livelihood. On the contrary, international coverage of the American presidential elections bordered on saturation. When Alan green span sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. When we experience recession, the rest of the world is soon to follow. This is not a value judgment; this is a statement of facts.

    I do feel that the United States and the rest of the world would benefit significantly from modifications in a variety of American policies, but regardless of how much or how little bush continues to pursue the wrong objectives, the United States will continue to play a very important part in world affairs.

  68. It took me a long time to read all the posts. Let me propose this, though it might not be new: Let America recall all its troops and aid money and let the rest of the world do what they want. That’s what everybody seems to want, right? I guess it doesn’t matter if 200,000 Kurds get killed; I guess Bosnia was OK; I guess we should let the Hutu’s in Africa die. As long as they don’t impact us what difference do they make? Sometimes I think idealistic prattle in a real world is easier than coming face-to-face with the problems; as long as you have somebody else’s son dieing for your right to be free and say whatever you want. “Man” is not yet living in an “Ideal” world and expecting to impose idealistic concepts is great; start with the terrorist. I don’t think America will ever fall, but I do agree that someday the rest of the world will catch up and America won’t be the biggest power; it will only be one of the major powers. I tire of the world taking from us then spitting at us because they can’t achieve what we have. So let’s forget about the rest, bring the troops, money, and jobs back home and let the world eat sand and drink French wine. I’ll stay here in the good ole U.S., kiss my wife and kids before I go to work every day, complain about the moral majority, surf the net, but don’t f*&k with me because I’m still an idealist who’s willing to fight for my freedom. I think there are many like me through the U.S. Thank God…oh yeah, just God, not Christian, nor Catholic, not Allah, nor Jehovah, just God. Good luck guys. The world is going to need it.

  69. Hello Tired, look I promise we’re not jealous and we don’t hate you. It really is because we’re scared.

    Bosnia and Hutu’s was a United Nations approved effort and it was about protecting people and keeping the peace, stopping people from attacking each other, not attacking them and imposing order. There’s a difference. Saddam Hussain was a sh*t of the first water but the attack on Iraq was mounted on evidence that can only, at best, be described as dodgy. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Better to just be honest and say you’re going after him on human rights grounds or because you can’t kill the real perpetrator, his family being mates of your dad’s and all.

    Let’s face it, all those Kurds got killed because Bush senior encouraged them to rebel with a promise of aid which he then didn’t deliver – my government’s probably just as guilty as yours on that score, too. But that’s why there’s such trouble in Iraq now, all the opposition leaders against Saddam Hussain were killed then. I don’t think the rest of the world wants to spit at America, we know you have the best intentions, it’s just frustrating watching what your nation does when we know what it could do and living with the consequences of its actions – especially in the UK where we’ve already done the Empire thing and don’t understand why your government is text book copying the mistakes our forefathers made rather than learning from them.

    So look, it’s more of a case of this, what your country does affects us so we don’t want you to do all the silly things our countries did when they had empires. I think some Victorian someone or other compared the world and the British Empire (which, at the time, the 2nd half of the 1800s, was a bit like the US now) to a man on a horse. So in the current case, the US being top dog, you’re the man and the rest of the world is the horse. That means that wherever the man riding the horse decides to go the horse has to go too. So when the US government does things that have long term economic, environmental or terrorist repercussions for your country like as not they will for the rest of us as well.

    So one of those is terrorism, well, luckily in the UK we’re used to that, funded largely by a lot of actually very well meaning Irish-Americans in the States (it’s just that they didn’t mean well for all of us). Having lived in London throughout the bombing campaigns of the early 1990s I know what happens when a bomb goes off and what the victims look like afterwards. I suggest that if you want to start with terrorists, go for the jugular, the funding organisations. So for example, in the 1990s Noraid would have provided a good starting point. I appreciate it’s probably a bit below the belt of me to mention this because it wasn’t US Government funding and at least it meant, your government had the respect of both sides (since both were getting funded by people in the US) and was therefore able to play the crucial role of neutral facilitator in the peace process.

    However, doubtless there are similar US organisations funding terrorist and extremist groups in other parts of the world just as there were and probably still are in the UK. I’m sure if the funding was stopped or at least discouraged at home your and our government wouldn’t have to keep sending troops abroad to mop up the results. I hope my government is listening to this one, too.

    But I digress what I’m trying to explain is that it’s not that simple. Take Kyoto – you see the thing is, say you do as you suggest, when you kiss your wife goodbye every day and go to work in your SUV which does less miles to the gallon and is less fuel efficient than a routemaster London bus and which pollutes 10 times as effectively it’s not just your environment you’re knackering it up, it’s ours too. There’s a whole world out there, it doesn’t just stop at the border. It’s this apparent lack of awareness that any other country exists – international news quarantine and all that – which scares us even though it clearly doesn’t apply to you personally. The World, is a big round green and blue thing, the stars and stripy bit is an important bit but it’s not the sum total – anyone visiting the states or watching your tv would think there was nothing beyond the borders of the United States but ocean.

  70. Historically speaking, the United States of America is, without a doubt (and for better or for worse), one of the most influential forces that this world has ever seen.

    It is a country that shoved aside royal rulership and pursued a form a governance that, at the time, no one had even considered…but which has since spread, in some shape or form, across the world.

    The people of the United States are, by and large, a decent and hard-working bunch. As a Canadian, I admire their work ethic, their confidence, their persistance.

    Since its inception, the US has pushed boundaries, sometimes angering people, sometimes making enemies. But a nation does not become so powerful by being a nice guy. Let’s face it–this world is not fair, and any nation–ANY NATION–when seeing an opportunity for greatness, will act accordingly to pursue its interests.

    The odd post that vilifies the United States by including the usual catch words: “zionist” “oil” “capitalist” or “freedumb” fail to see that the countries whom they so admire (the former Soviet Union, China) would never allow them to post comments or voice dissent or protest government policies.

    Those yearning for a Chinese Empire to counter the US should remember how the communist state crushed their own people with tanks.

    The US is not perfect, nor is it the embodiment of good and fair play….just like all 6 billion of us humans.

    We just have to look out and take care of each other.

  71. Some good points have been made in your argument, as well as others’ posts.

    First, three reasons why the US seems to be ignorant of the plight of other nations:
    1) The US is geographically isolated from much of the world.
    2) That isolation created a people who’s concerns rest at home, with themselves. In Europe it is necessary to know what is going on in other nations; many of them border each other and therefore would affect personal affairs in a greater way than someone living across the Atlantic.
    3) As a result, the American people are used to thinking more of themselves than anyone else. It is a habit that has been engrained in them for many generations. The fact that the US is the world’s most powerful nation only heightens their supposed disregard for external affairs.

    I have to say that historically speaking, the United States has been an agressive nation. The US has used threats, etc in order to receive political and economic support. A few past examples would be the US demanding Spain to liberate Cuba before the Spanish-American War and Theodore Roosevelt using the US Navy to force Latin American nations to agree to let Americans build the Panama Canal.

    The threats worked, because the US was a formidable force over 100 years ago, or at least no nation wanted to become involved in a conflict at that point. As a result, the US has adopted a policy of using threats and force to get what they want, because Americans believe it will work like it has in the past.

    In response to Carl’s post: In 1820 the US created the Monroe Doctrine stating that no other nation could interfere with the affairs of countries in the Western Hemisphere. The US did this because France, England and Spain still had an active interest in colonizing what is now the Western United States, and the Americans feared the implications of having European powers so close to their fledgling nation.

    Latin and South America did not ask for the US to write the doctrine; the US did so of its own accord, believing that they alone would be able to handle the affairs of its neighbors. America may have had good intentions, but the doctrine, along with years of wrongful interference and neglect, have caused Latin and South America to be resentful of the US.

    Winning wars against great odds (American Revolution, War of 1812, etc) being successful in international affairs, and the shock of being suddenly placed as the number one nation in the world (a result of WWII) has created an arrogant and somewhat senseless America.

    The Roman and British Empires did not last forever, and neither will America’s. The United States needs to realize that every nation has a right to be treated as an equal, and dealings with other nations should be done without threats of retaliation.

    Threats get tiring after a while, and people eventually stop listening to the person making them. If the US is not careful, it will continue to isolate itself from the rest of the world, and nations will begin looking elsewhere to put their trust.

    An isolated world full of resentment and suspicion were the causes of the World Wars and the Cold War. To prevent a similar tragedy, the US and the world needs to meet on an equal playing field. We need to be more open to different cultures and ideas. We need to not let terrorism control us to such an extent that we create barriers in an effort to protect ourselves from the possibilty of attack.

    Now, when media and politics have made terrorism the main issue, we need to help each other. Nations need to put more trust in one another if they wish to put an end to their fear of attack, whether from a terrorist group or each other.

    But first, of course, that trust must be earned.

  72. I like your writing Steve and I appreciate all the views that I’ve read in this thread. Many people have wrote about many similar things that I agree with and others that I disagree with.

    There’s a few things you need to keep in mind when you’re looking at such broad and diverse topics as this. First, the lone primary conspiracy is this: “Those in power want to stay in power at all costs.” Even if some of those costs mean parents sending their children to war and welcoming them home in caskets.

    As was said to one of the lead investigators during the Watergate scandal, “follow the money trail”. That gives you the answers that lie behind the curtain that the Wizard of Oz doesn’t want you looking behind and the undercurrents in the streams of life that the media machine (the US is the home of the best run one thus far) wants you to watch superficially not be a “free thinker” and dig deeper.

    The spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution of the United States of America are what reflect the Spirit of America. Similar, if not identical ideals are written in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in the Consitutional documents that have been and are being created in countries around the world. Yes, the United States stands as a beacon of hope to those people in countries who are not fortunate enough to have the luxuries of freedom and liberty. Carrying that message to the world is a noble task, that each of us who live in a free sovereign naton can empathize with. It is also the battering of a people or a nation with the flashlight of democracy which cause them to withdraw from the hand which is extended to them.

    I agree with Michael Scheuer, when he says that “best ally Bin Laden has is US Foreign policy”. Situations that we have on our hands now as a world with varying perspective, didn’t just appear with the rising of the sun one day, these situations have come about over time and aren’t going to be resolved without time and effort. When we consciously stop pointing the finger, or pointing our weapons to brow beat another into our way of thinking or perspective, we will begin to make progress. When we raise our hand clench in a fist to strike a blow or defend ourselves, we deny ourselves the opportunity to present ourselves with an open hand to shake the hand of our fellow human being and seeking their friendship. After all, we’re all stuck here on Noah’s Ark. So in the end, we’re all in the same boat.

  73. It’s just you. Descend is the verb. “I descend down into the mine.” Descent is the noun. “My decent into the mine was scary.” See?

  74. I’d like to point out that when a non-American levies this kind of criticism at “America” or “Americans”, they’re probably not actually dumping on middle-class American web programmers who kiss their wives and invite the neighbours over for Sunday barbecues. We know you’re the salt of the earth and all.

    Chances are that their targets are actually the American government and their exercise of political and military power around the globe. Maybe we could keep the sentimentality to a minimum?

  75. > dave regurgitated
    > The odd post that vilifies the United States by including the usual
    > catch words: “zionist” “oil” “capitalist” or “freedumb” fail to see that
    > the countries whom they so admire (the former Soviet Union, China)
    > would never allow them to post comments or voice dissent or protest
    > government policies.

    Let us measure a handful of students against the 10,000s of thousands of civilians your government has murdered in the Middle East chasing oil dollars … which is the greater crime?

    I am a bit afraid that I am going to use too many big words or write in too long sentences for the average Ahmurikan to read, but here goes …

    There is no doubt that the students deliberate revolutionary sacrifices brought change, how much change do the death of those grandmothers and babies under high altitude bombing bring to your military-industrial elite? Did those grandmothers and babies chose to oppose … and, yes, give me time and I will prove your government has siolenced and murdered far more many of its own citizens than died in Beijing. You know it too.

    Its interesting how enthusiast Ahmurikans are to prove the dumbass SAG [ stupid, arrogant, greedy ] Theory and how cartoon clear their black and white, two sides, with us or against us comic strip world is.

    You run past them how the it was the Yankee elite built up the Stalinist State, engaged in widespread internaional policies of abuse of human rights; torture, genocide, corrption of foreign national states, and yet all they can see, and kneejerk off to, if that if you criticise them, you must be a ” Commie “. The propaganda, those lies that seperate the American people from their own salvation, is almost perfectly complete.

    Its is hysterical that in a country with a greater disparity [ inequity/lack of distribution ] of wealth than Bangaldesh, the developed nation with the greatest need for social reform; that is you dare so much as whisper the word Socialism, they kneejerk off as though had invited them to an orgy of ebola sufferers.

    Although they have no idea of what Socialism means nor its fruits. Few having actually travelled to countries living the benefits of social reform from Northern Europe to Asian states such as Kerala [ incidentally the ony state to vote in and out communist leaders at will that benefits from the higest literacy rates, healthy care and living standards of all Indian states ].

    When Ahmurikans *really* believe in their punch drunk stupor that their way or quality of life is in any way higher than those of, say, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, I crack up – have been and lived in both.

    The poverty, the racial division, the gullability, the succeptibility to propaganda, the lack of education, the fake, the false, the waste, the despoilation … who are they kidding?

    Only themselves it seems. No, folks dont want to go to Ahmurika. They do want to go where all their nations wealth has been taken though! And it is true that ease money does attract garbage. But let’s define terms here:

    ” America ” is an ideal target state that has not yet been reached thich was founded by a bunch of disaffected British with the Post-Enlightenment Scots having a disproportionate influence.

    ” Ahmurika ” was founded on the basis of murder, rape, theft, trickery, exploitation, slavery and deliberate policies of genocide.

    ” Americans ” continue to consider the meaning and implication of those high ideals, their responsibilities to the humanity and the planet.

    ” Ahmurikans ” continue to want the right to jerk off to as much hardore porn as they want – and make sure everyone else wants to – [ seems to be the foundation to their Freedumb of Speech ], eat themselves into obesity, guzzle as much petro-oil and other natural reserves as they can in the process rolling tanks and carpeting bombs over anybody that has what they want and want give it to them … but it is OK, because when the last tree is cut down, SuperJew *** JESUS*** is going to come back, make it all into heaven again and they are going to rule for the thousand years [ the ones that Hitler never got perhaps ].

    Now, of course, there are the ” Real Ahmurikans ” perhaps we could call them the

    ” Ahmuri-Nazis “;

    those that actually pursue this agenda, the vicious bully Mammonists, [ you cannot call them Capitalists because they have thrown Adam Smith out with the bathwater ], those that actually profit, look to profit from this concerted abuse, dangle the gilded carrots of hope to the hungry hounds below them so that they might support what they do, those that are happy to get into bed with any mass murderer, war criminal, thug mafia elite from Chile, to China, [ yup, your guys were covertly supporting China too ], to Iraq, to the Zionist State of Israel [ i state that clearly to respectfully differentiate it from the spiritual state of Isreal that is a similar ideal to ” America ” ]; and continue on their historical ” successful ” agenda of murder, rape, theft, trickery, exploitation, slavery and deliberate policies of genocide.

    and there the ” Dumbass Amurikans “;

    those fall in with the Real Ahmurikans for the sake of a buck, to feed their addictions, and may be out of fear that the bully turn on them – as it has done on a regular basis. Ask a Red, Black or Japanese American. Ask anyone that has felt a State Trooper’s baton or round. Ask anyone that has proposed an alternative to the Ahmurkian Automobile State. Ask anyone that has attemtped to establish – nevermind successfully demonstrated – an alternative to Corporate State Servile Dependancy Suburban lifestyle.

    Wake up America!

    … and for the record, no I am not a Commie or even a Socialist.

    My politics – and religion – end somewhere in the first few pages of the Bible – where it makes no mention of National Nazi State rule – and says Humanity’s responsibility ends with the stewardship of this planet.

    Note, the Stewardship, i.e. the service and maintenance, of the Planet, not the Domination and destruction.

    It interests me to see how similar the Ahmurikans have usurp the ideal of ” America ” as their own and confused the Americans.

    In the same way the ” Mammonistic Zionists ” [ … the ” AshkeNazis ? “. It does not seem to be a Misrahim or Sephardic issue ] have usurped the religious ideal of ” Israel ” and confused the Seminites.

    No wonder there is so much political intrigue between these two Nazi States – and that it threatens the future and safety of the entire planet.

    Both seem to believe that vicious human rights abuse, heavyweight propaganda wars, money, military and malicious skullduggery can bring about their end goal – without any kick back.

    I wish I actually knew what that end goal was.

    Freedom? It looks like Hell to me.

  76. @ Daniel Schierbeck

    D’Oh! Look at me Mr Proper-English-Lecturer and I misspell descent in my example sentence! Arrgh.

    I’ll try to answer your origin question, although it really doesn’t make sense. It’s The Descent of Man. Not Descend. But origin means “the creation of” or the “birth of.” Descent in this case is “the fall of.” Two very different things.

  77. I find it odd that so many of you are quick to call the United States an Empire in Decline. 1) The Connection with what the united states is as the sole superpower and the word or concept of “Empire” is tenuous at best. Name a major formal colony the US owns. If you can, then name one yearning for independence (its hardly imperial to rule someone with their consent). 2)You base your assumptions/ conclusions about American decline on your own hopes rather than on facts. It has been said on this forum that Europe may rise again to contain or at least challenge the US. Not with their economy. The Unemployment rate in Germany for example is 10.8% (US=5.4%), France 9.4% (the lowest in NINE years), EU-wide the rate is 8.9%. The US has the fastest growing developed economy in the world.
    3) the EU is not united nor will it be anytime soon 4) Europe is experienceing population decline (i.e. Italy, Russia soon Spain) It isnt america that has become content and begun to rest on its laurels, Its the rest of the Industrialized world that has. You dont get married and raise children because they “interfere” with your lifestyle.You’re rather hostile to your immigrant populations (Frances law banning the Hijab)
    5)European countries have rather weak national charcter (in other words they are relatively SPINELESS)One might say this is because of their hands-on experience of WWI and WWII and the Cold War, and they know the sorrows of empire, but alas why they have such a weak character is not so relevant as the fact itself. National Character is the sort of “X factor” that Hans Morgenthau listed as one of the prime factors in National Power.(One of the reasons the French,with a very modern military succumbed to Hitler in Six weeks and then collaborated with germany vis-a-vis the Vichy regime, while the backward Russians handed Hitler his ass regardleass of the fact they lost at least 12 million people.) I am not saying there will never be a challenge to US supremacy, but it certainly will NOT come from Europeans. India and China hold promise. I rather like India myself for the long-term. In the shorter term they are build what will soon be the second-best navy in the world.(by soon i mean 25 years or so)But they do have MAJOR population problems and have not dealt with them as effectively as China has.

  78. just to back up some statements I made earlier, EuroStat is projecting the population in the 10 states that form the political and economic core of the EU will experience a net poulation loss of about 27.5 million (even taking into account net immigration)by 2050.According to the UN, the picture is even more dramatic in eastern europe. They project the following
    Estonia: loss of 52%
    Latvia: loss of 44%
    Ukraine: loss of 36%
    Bulgaria: loss of 35%
    Russian Federation: loss of 30%
    Lithuania: loss of 28%
    Belarus: loss of 25%
    Hungary: loss of 24%
    Romania: loss of 20%
    Croatia: loss of 19%
    Czech Republic; loss of 17%
    Moldova: loss of 16%
    Poland: loss of 15%
    Serbia-Montenegro: loss of 11%
    Bosnia: loss of 10%
    Slovakia: loss of 8%

    In 1950 the USA was 1,5 times the size of Russia – the Soviet Union was of course larger than Russia alone. In 2050, the USA will be almost four times the size of the Russian Federation.
    America’s census in 2000 contained a shock. The population turned out to be rising faster than anyone had expected when the 1990 census was taken. There are disputes about exactly why this was (more on that shortly). What is not in doubt is that a gap is beginning to open with Europe. America’s fertility rate is rising. Europe’s is falling. America’s immigration outstrips Europe’s and its immigrant population is reproducing faster than native-born Americans. America’s population will soon be getting younger. Europe’s is ageing.
    Unless things change substantially, these trends will accelerate over coming decades, driving the two sides of the Atlantic farther apart. By 2040, and possibly earlier, America will overtake Europe in population.
    According to Bill Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan, the median age in America in 2050 will be 36.2. In Europe it will be 52.7. That is a stunning difference, accounted for almost entirely by the dramatic ageing of the European population. At the moment, the median age is 35.5 in America and 37.7 in Europe.

    . With 400m-550m rich consumers, the American market would surely be even more important to foreign companies than it is today. And if so, American business practices—however they emerge from the current malaise—could become yet more dominant. The World order in the twilight of our generation (mid 21st century) will likely look like this: Superpowers: U.S. alone, Great Powers: China, India, Europe, tertiary/lesser powers Brazil,Japan,Indonesia,Russia

    As much as many of you yearn to see a US decline, You’re not likely to see it in your lifetime, sorry but the data doesnt lie. As americans say, or at least Texans (whose company i have enjoyed since immigrating to this country) Y’All can either wring your hands and bang your heads, or…sit back,relax and enjoy the fireworks.

  79. In the initial post Steven said:

    “I grew up with a feeling that America was the center of the world. There were people in the rest of the world, but that was just the backdrop to America. Maybe someday, the whole world would come to be like America.”

    As an American I don’t feel that way. I’ve never thought America was the “center of the world” and I live here. Also, I have a passport and travel. I have never felt I was better then other people just because I live in America. Never.

    America is simply the driving force from an economic standpoint. Period! California’s GNP is larger then almost every country in the world and that is just one of our 50 states. If it wasn’t for our technology and over-the-top demand for products where would India or China be today?

    BTW: I work w/ a number of firms in Canada and you all love the exchange rate! Plus, is there any currency in the world more accepted then the US dollar? No there isn’t and there is a reason.

    Now, I have read many of the above posts … and I sense that many people don’t get three things:

    (1) America may be more diverse then any other nation in the world (other then China — although I have not gone there yet — hopefully in 2006). Visit NYC, rural Illinois/Iowa/Kansas, Louisiana, heck, just Northern/Central/Southern California. The diversity of people, beliefs, et al is staggering. This benefits us greatly. This is a diverse country.

    (2) We own most of the world’s intellectual capital and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Don’t believe me, ok, pick the world’s top ten universities. Where are most located? There is a reason people from all over the world come here to get their education. I don’t know a lot of people leaving for Norway (nothing against Norway BTW) to get an education. In the early 90’s 25% of my grad school class at Louisiana State University were from either Japan or China (think about that).

    (3) Most IMPT! of all don’t assume that Americans represent our elected politicians. All truth be told I am sad Bush is our president, but he is MY president and I am not going to put down our entire nation because 52% of the people that voted, voted for him. And neither should you. I’d like to “bitch slap” the guy back to Texas, but I can’t.

    Oh, one last point. I may be the most non-violent person you’ll ever met. But I can defend myself if I have to. So yes, our military can kick your military’s ass. I am a firm believer you should always try to talk and/or walk away from conflict (again, not the current position of our government), but if you can’t, then you kick some ass.

    Hey Europe, wouldn’t you be speaking Russian right now if it wasn’t for us? Poland, Hungary et al aren’t you happy you now rule yourself? Hey Pacific Rim nations wouldn’t you be speaking Japanese if it wasn’t for us. Hey Germany and Japan, you started something you couldn’t finish in WWII and what did we do after we won. We helped rebuild your country so you could compete against us in business and we don’t complain about it. Heck, I drive a VW and only buy Sony and Nikon equipment. Doesn’t that say something …

    America isn’t perfect, not close. But is your nation perfect. That is all I got to say …

  80. Tommy–

    America does not own the world’s “intellectual” capital and never will. The American academic system is well in need of reform. I dropped out of a major University. There was nothing to be sought. Most are failed institutions and do not foment intellectual revolt.

    America has not birthed a great mind for some time. Remember, this is a country who pissed on Whitman, who imprisoned writers who questioned, who treated Ginsberg as a threat to America. The most intellectual of Americans are often, but not your common, street dwellers or criminals.

    We no longer turn to artists, writers, or sages for vision or diginity.

    There is accuracy in Steven’s generalization, white American’s are often ethnocentric.

  81. @ Juan: Okay, I’ve figured it out now 😉

    On-topic and @ CommieBoy (hehe): I think you’re right in some aspects (American direct and/or indirect support of genocides in Vietnam, South America, Iraq etc.) But you just can’t generalize, all Americans aren’t homophobic cowboys like George Junior. But still:

    I happen to live in Denmark, a country that has been heavily influenced by the social democratic movement (not to be confused with the revolutionary communist one.) While the industry and business definately has suffered because of the regulation and high taxes (up to 60% income taxes, 25% when you buy anything), I could imagine how it would be to live without the upsides of this semi-socialist state:

    – Free public healthcare. Spending your vacation in Copenhagen, are you? Oh, you broke your leg? Thinking you’ll have to pay top dollar ’cause your an American? Think again. There’s no charge whatsoever. Everyone is treated equally. I may add that the public healtcare isn’t just something the poor uses, it’s for everyone (the only private healtcare here is basically dentists and plastic surgery.)

    – Free education. From elementary school to the university, it’s all free. We even got free music lessons.

    – Well-working social care system. There may be some looners that won’t take the money, but otherwise all “poor” gets ’em. If you’re unemployed and can’t afford to pay for a place to live, you’re provided with an apartment (it may be small and shitty, but it’s there.) We don’t have people dying in the streets.

    That’s the most important things in my opinion. Of course I think it’s crappy when I have to pay 200% taxes when I buy a car (no shit), but I know the money goes to a good cause.

  82. Daniel: I dont mean this as an attack on the system in Denmark, but if you would rather live in a socialist system thats fine, Americans by and large do not. We prefer a system in which you are guaranteed a bit less, but where the individual has a far greater potential.Our system rewards productivity, work hard and smart and you can get very rich.Produce very little and you will recieve very little. Its hard to get fairer then that. Of course, you may have a different concept of what ‘fair’ is. Denmark is your country, not mine. I will say this however (given the nature of this thread), that capitalism is the system most conducive to the creation and maintenance of National wealth and Power, because it inspires fierce competition that leads to innovation and great productivity.

  83. @ Zakarian: What about those unable to produce anything? Mentally ill, handicapped etc., should they be abandoned? In the extreme form of capitalism they would have to take care of themselves. Survival of the fittest.

    It all basically comes down to one thing, and that’s whether or not the human being is a social animal. In capitalism (still talking ’bout the extremes here) the human being acts independently from other groups (family, neighbours, state). The “state” or “nation” is merely the sum of its individuals, and doesn’t nor should try to restrict the absolute freedom of its citizens. This of course provides great wealth for those able to make a profit, but leaves nothing for those who aren’t.

    In socialism Man acts on the basis of one or more groups (again; family, friends, etc.) The state should therefore guide its citizens, help push the weak in the right direction. This gives some very big benefits to the lower “classes”, such as education and healthcare, that they couldn’t afford in a capitalist country. This is very visible here in Scandinavia (i.e. our illiteracy rate is basically zero.) But of course the socialist state has its severy downsides. The industry just can’t develop as fast when there’s a very high minimum wage. On top of that comes the taxes.

    I agree with you that it is a matter of choice, and I must say that I enjoy the upsides of your capitalist way of life when I visit the US (mmm, beeeeeeef,) but I don’t know if I could imagine living there. Well, maybe I could, it seems that Denmark’s current government (#&%&!#% liberals…) is trying to make us the 52. state…

    Well, all I’m saying is that there’s more to socialism than communism.

  84. Undoubtedly there is more to socialism than communism, and the United States is not a PURELY capitalist state, we do have free education through 12th grade (age 18) and needs-based health care subsidy programs (medicare and so forth), not that I think those programs are administered very well. There are also many private charities and I think you will find that the vast majority of the disable are aided and are not allowed to simply wither and die(nor do we have euthansia).

  85. Of course not, I was still talking about them thar extremes. To be perfectly honest, there isn’t really THAT much of a difference between the US and Scandinavia, we’re just slightly further out on the left wing, you’re a bit on the right wing (well, a lot, considering Bushy Junior and his homophobism.)

  86. Nice discussion. I think some are naive to think that the middle eastern crisis is all the fault of America. Go back to the history books and take a look at some of Europe’s policies on the region and their imperial efforts. The collapse of America is the collapse of the world economy. We consume so many of the worlds exports, its becoming problematic. Our trade deficits are at record highs, and the value of the dollar is dropping as a result. Eh, but whatever.

  87. It has been the deliberate policy of this administration to weaken the dollar in order to protect industries here and to reduce the trade deficit. ..anyway. I am really more concerned with the mideast. America does not deserve all the blame or even most of it, nor do the Europeans…I’m not sure what the popular version of history is these days, but it is important to start at the beginning. The plain reality of is that from the Battle of Ajnadain (637) to the Battle of Fallujah (2004) this is just a continuation of a near 14-century civilizational struggle started my the moslems. they deserve an equal share of the blame themselves.

  88. I have to disagree with you Zakarian – the current problems in the Middle East is a result of the cold war (even to some degree the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.) The amount of money and weapons that went to less-than-trustworthy warlords is staggering. Now, it’s not because I’m trying to cover up for Europe, we Europeans have spoiled lots of places (especially Africa), but during the cold war it was the US and USSR that were the major actors, West Europe (especially Britain) only really played a role in the field of espionage.

    It’s no secret that the US sponsored the mujahedins in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussien in Iraq, the Ayatollah in Iran and so forth, just as the Soviet Union sponsored the opposite sides. That’s the real reason why we have these problems today. If the American administration is wondering why all the Iraqis hate them, they really ought to take a look at all the suffering they (well, their predecessors) have caused for the people of Iraq.

  89. Without a doubt the driving force behind the US policy in the mideast in I have to agree with Zakarian, 40 of the past 55 years has been the Cold War. However, this is NOT the primary factor shaping the perceptions of the people of the region, particulary the Militant Islamists who are in fact the enemy. They see essentialy ALL foreign intervention by the west as ‘Crusades’, which is obviously a reasult of the less recent policies of western nations, including the Post-WWI partition of the Ottoman Empire, the elimination of the Khalifa (Caliph), and of course the Crusades themselves, which only occured as a result of the Attacks and conquests of the Moslems in the 7th and 8th Centuries. (sure there were other factors driving them , but if the moslems had minded their own business and stayed in their sandbox they never would have been necessary).

  90. “…if the moslems had minded their own business and stayed in their sandbox they never would have been necessary”

    So you don’t think the internal power-struggles in Europe had anything to do with it? Dude, read some history books.

  91. I didnt say that there weren’t other factors, but the statement is true. The people of Palestine,Egypt,Syria,Mesopotamia,and North Africa were niether Arab nor Muslim until the conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries.Thus the statement stands that if the Arabs had remained in Arabia there never would have been crusades, since the purpose of the crusades was to roll back those Arab conquests. The Europeans had no interest in taking the arabian desert.

  92. I believe it was the *Shah* of Iran , not the Ayatollah. There was a small amount of weaponry, mostly small arms that was SOLD to Iran in the early 80’s, sponsorship usually entails GIVING something.It was a business transaction incidental to the sponsorhip of the Contras.

  93. I respect your commentary, Steve. However, its kind of hard to talk about “America” in just a generic, general sense. It’s so large, so populous, so diverse, so free, that generalizations of it as a country do little good. Since the government has little control over the populace, the government may veer in one direction, while the people head in another (like the last four years or so).

    Talk about gullible! This quote was taken from the 2nd post up, this is a prime example of the cancer that is infecting America right now. Most Americans, having been caught up in the premediated 9-11 strategy of fattening American corporations beltlines even further, are caught in a cross fire of misinformation provided by the media and government both. It really is a Orwellian America right now.

    Case in point is the new 388 BILLION dollar new Intelligence Bill. WIth the government running full steam ahead post 9-11 with the civil right crushing Patriot Act, the Bush administration, shocked that they were able to even sell this to the American people, decided to shoot the dice and go for broke with Patriot Act 2. They did not move fast enough on their attempt to insert a tracking chip in every citizen in the country. So what did they do? The usual predictable con job that they’re now famous for. A two pronged attack. First control the media message, second, play on the hearts and minds of the gullible public. SO they paraded a few shill 9-11 family members before the cameras to gain sympathy, quiet opposition, and further their cause.

    As they’ve proven in the past with clever word play,(think “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests”… which really mean dirty skies to help industries pollute freely and to rape forests for lumber) they pulled it off. Now all we have to look forward to is the government having the ability to arrest anyone, at any time. And now with the new bill, if the FBI should call you a terrorist and arrest you for reading a particular book in the library or protesting at a peace rally, you are not allowed to discuss your arrest or subpeona experience with anyone. If you do, you will be arrested again. Now that sure is going to help make our country safer, isnt it?

    And so it begins, last week they arrested a Catholic priest for attending a anti war rally and put him on the Homeland Security Terrorist List. I really am in shock at how bad things have gotten just since Bush and Cheney cheated their way into the White House. They really shouldnt call it the White HOuse anymore, it should be called the Black House. This is the beginning of the Fourth Reich people, and if you can’t admit that to yourself, you are either in denial, or your nuts.

  94. > This is the beginning of the Fourth Reich people, and if you can’t
    > admit that to yourself, you are either in denial, or your nuts.

    Not your. You meant you’re. A contraction for “you are.”

  95. I live in the Province of Quebec so I’m a Canadian too.

    I remember the days when me and my girlfriend drived down to visit Boston or Providence for the weekend. The US Border Patrol smiled and made jokes. It was clear our two countries, Canada and the US of A were good neighbors.

    Enter George Bush.

    I will not go back to Boston anymore, unless my employer forces me to. Why? The last time I crossed the border, I was met by, not one, but two, fully armed (painted in the face and everything) marines carying live assault machine guns. They were standing on each side of my little car while a couple of weirdly serious border policemen were asking me questions I never thought I’d be asked, as an honest Canadian citizen.

    Granted, the twin tower event is as bad as they get. True, the grief will never go away. This being said, is it any more intelligent to make enemies of someone like me, who has always been positive about our ‘North-American’ heritage?

    I’m afraid the US government isn’t doing things right.

    It’s easier for Canadians to go to Cuba than to go into the US… go figure the logic in that!

  96. Here is an article written in 1973 by Canadian Gordon Sinclair on ‘The Americans’. It’s a bit dated now of course but the sentiments are relevant I think. No one’s perfect and it’s tough to lead. Who would you rather live next to??

    Broadcast June 5, 1973
    CFRB, Toronto, Ontario
    Topic: “The Americans”


    The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.

    As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.

    They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Misssissippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

    When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

    When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries into help… Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

    The Marshall Plan .. the Truman Policy .. all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent war-mongering Americans.

    I’d like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.

    Come on… let’s hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar or the Douglas 107? If so, why don’t they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or women on the moon?

    You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times … and safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them … unless they are breaking Canadian laws .. are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here.

    When the Americans get out of this bind … as they will… who could blame them if they said ‘the hell with the rest of the world’. Let someone else buy the Israel bonds, Let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won’t shake apart in earthquakes.

    When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.

    Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don’t think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

    Our neighbours have faced it alone and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.

    I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians. And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

    This year’s disasters .. with the year less than half-over? has taken it all and nobody…but nobody… has helped.



  97. Canadian Eh? It figures.

    Why is that people from outside a country’s borders always feel they somehow have a ‘grander view’. I’ve travelled the world and discovered that no country without it’s faults. Some are just more ‘visible’ than others. Be careful that elephant doesn’t roll over on you while it sleeps!

  98. A bit of “Doom & Gloom” perhaps?
    Such things have been predicted before, but never happened.
    The closest time was 1969-70 during the Vietnam War/Civil unrest.

    As for Europe, why unite it? It could have been like a confederation
    of states, like ths U.S. was before the Federal Constitution.
    Not that this will save them from falling before us (U.S.),
    They(Europe) are just as/if not more so dependant on mid-east oil.

    As for Aisa, (Japan,China,and the “Young Tigers”)
    Japan has deep problems with banking(THE hart of any free nation),
    and has a “overload” of uninvested savings in their banks.

    China, much potential,BUT economic ability is little without social,
    moral,and intelectual freedom. Future turmoil here, how much-who knows?

    The “Young Tigers” being Korea,Tiwan,Veitnam et al
    It is an area like slow setting concreet, until some common rules,
    and stability exist, they will have to rely on little outside investment
    and go at it alone.

    Africa: This all that needs to be said.

    South America: Argentina,will it pull down the rest of the continent?
    civil unrest? It ALWAYS spawns a revolution there,but will it spread?
    could it pull the rest of S.A. ?

    And the list goes on and on and on…..

    MAKE NOTE: Not mentioned above: Russia,Ukraine,Poland and the Baltic States.

    Poland and the Baltic States could rival and surpase Europe if they become
    a gateway into Russia/Ukraine, and the benifits to both sides….
    Beyond Europe, maybe even the U.S.

    Now, think about this:
    The U.S. Government PAYS farmers NOT to grow food (33%of the land give or take in any year),
    so (for example*) if it take $.05 to grow a head of lettuce and the farmer ONLY gets
    $.09 to sell it there is $.04 profit, if it was $.05 to grow and paid $.06
    ONLY large CORPERATE farms would be in business beacuse of the small profit.
    * not actual prices < writers license >

    Adendum: I would sooner bet on Quebec seperating from Canada.

  99. america being the cultural melting pot that it is is kind of like the roman empire. we do certainly overindulge ourselves but i dont see america falling hard like rome did. i see a more gradual dissent of importance on the world scene like the british empire. i understand that most of the world hates us but they should really direct their ire towards our scheming fundamentalist evangelical christian leaders, not the average american. as far as how those leaders were elected in the first place is sort of a combination between really really good propaganda and a benign ignorance amonst southern and mid-western voters. i dont blame them they just dont know any better. As far as the world goes they can hate us but ironically its kinda like hating themselves since america represents pretty much every nationality on earth in its citizen body. for all our flaws people living in america are generally good and happy with our lot in life. play hate the superpower all you want it makes no difference to the fact that are constitution, ever so flawed as it might be, allows to live happy and free.

  100. >”Meanwhile, America responds by talking louder, listening less, and tightening itâ??s borders.
    >In ten years, or fifteen, or twenty-five, the lights in America will dim and it will see beyond
    >its own glare, look around, and see that it is no longer the center of the world and that
    > the rest of the planet has moved on without them.”

    When the most influential financial markets exit America this will happen. Think about what it would take for that to happen and reassess your time estimates.

    My prediction is once we humans establish life on another planet, thrive and then have several wars of dominance then the light American light will dim.

    I just don’t see the Hong Kong Exchange or Australian Stock Exchange taking over…

  101. Sunny: I get your point and I hear what you’re saying about the article being dated but there’s two things I’d say in reply.

    One: The American Government shafted Britain after the war, well during, actually, with loans. CF my previous post. Faced with the stark choice of starving, becoming part of the Third Reich or borrowing money from the States Britain had not choice but to borrow at the kind of interest rates which the Mafia might consider embarrassingly excessive these days. Far harsher than the terms on loans to Germany and Japan.

    Two: Lucky the US Government has never paid their United nations subs then huh?

    Zakarian: just a general point in Europe we have plenty of stomach to fight a necessary war…. in the case of my country long enough on our own for your government to wait until they could be sure to join the side most likely to win. It’s just that we don’t have much stomach for unnecessary wars, wars which destablise the world, wars like the war with Iraq which wasn’t strictly necessary and the sabre rattling at Iran, just as it’s becoming a bit more stable and less extreme, which is a really, really bad idea.

    Nobody’s saying Europe is any better but at least we’re more realistic about the motives of our government and the way human beings operate. Take the rose tinted goggles off and think.

  102. To begin I would like to make known that I have no alliegence to any country whatsoever. I’m neutral towards the affairs of all human governments. That being said I would like to step forward and share some much needed enlightenment:

    “Human society is steeped in nationalism. Each nation and ethnic group is driven by the desire for self-determination. Nathional sovereignty combined with the spirit of competition and greed has produced a volatile mix. In one case after another, when national interests conflict with global insterests, national interests win out.

    Nationalism … has been like a plague on humanity, leading to untold suffering. Nationalism with its resultant hatred of other peoples has existed for centuries. Today, nationalism continues to fan the flames of divisivness, and human rulers have not been able to stop it.

    Many authorities recognize that nationalism and self-interest are the root of the world’s problems. For example, former United Nations Secretary-General U Thant observed: “So many of the problems that we face today are due to, or the result of, false attitudes …Among these is the conept of narrow nationalism– ‘My country, right or wrong.'” Still, nations today, engrossed in self-interest, are clamoring more and more for their own sovereignty.” — June 1, 2005, Watchtower.

    The US is no different then any other world power that has existed. It’s fall is inevitable.

  103. Brian: Actually, that was exactly what happened with the Roman Empire; it slowly faded away, over the course of several centuries (one could argue that the decline began after Augustus’ death.) I believe that the US was the “leader” of the western world between 1945 and 1991, but now other countries are tired of being bossed around, just as you wouldn’t want the US foreign policy to be dictated by France.

  104. If anything I would have to say that America is slowley diminishing from the inside out. Yes we have the best military and have the most advanced equiptment. But what happens when you have everything and lose your morals.
    Is the world really all about how much money or power one country has. If so then were in a sad place because if you would take america as your prime factor you could see that great countries really dont fall from getting blown off the planet but they slowley dissapate due to lack of leadership and public unrest. While this is happing there always some one ploting to take out the big dog to be the next. North Korea could blow Los angeles off the map but what about the rest of the state what about 49 other humongous cities and military bases. All the world has to do is lead good oh rich and stupid america to spend there money in there countires and have everything imported. Its so funny that after going into a world war with a country 30 years later and your driving there vehicals all over your country. America has sold it soul to the highest bidder we put on a great front for the world but truely our country is in a sad moral state. Democracys is not the best way in the universe to run a country one example there are places in america that look just as bad as Iraq you would think your in a third would country. How come in los angeles If you cross a certain street everything gets this glorious make over and look wonderful yet on the other side of the street is a dirty ghetto that now one seems to care about. What about our school system how can you spend 87 billion dollors on fixing up another country when your schools for the next generation have no money to support a music program. If American wants to establish it self once again as an unstopable dont mess with me country it better find god cause thats the only way. Cause you better belive every other country is probley working against us and with the terrorist while they shake our hand and smile in our face and we countiue to sell our soul to these countrys in the name of Democracys its a hipocracy.

  105. To quote Scott

    “The US is no different then any other world power that has existed. It’s fall is inevitable.”

    Spot on. CF Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Persia, the Mongols, Spain, France, Britain and the USSR…..

    That’s how life works. Ever heard of Livvy’s Circle? (think it was Livvy) he talks about how democracy gets more and more tolerant until nobody can be bothered any more and it declines into anarchy. That’s what happens and I suspect it’s happening now. Maybe this time we’ll be smart enough to look out for each other and find a new solution to the dark ages which result….

    Let’s hope hey?

  106. The problem more than anything else is the psychotic nature of people, and the U.S. as the world’s biggest pain in the ass. Politicians are interested in what they can collect from contributors and getting re-elected, so unless the public becomes mobilized on one point, what we as individuals are interested in isn’t very important. However, since most people are of the opinion they can run other people’s lives better than they can, there is plenty of interest in imposing our will on others.

    We can see this in the huge and vicious controversy over Gay Marriage. Why is it other people’s concern how other people live their lives? Because they don’t like how those other people are living. Nothing more than that. And it’s part and parcel of the same thing. The U.S. Government is of the opinion it can get involved in anything it cares to, or where it thinks it can get away with it, or where they can make political points.

    This is why the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, even though the 9/11 hijackers were all from Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan wouldn’t allow a major oil company to run a pipeline through it, so the country got confiscated. Someone said if you look where the U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are, they are exactly where the pipeline is going to be installed.

    President Bush’s father got lots of brownie points and popularity for tossing Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait. (Not that I think there was anything wrong with that; if he hadn’t been stopped, his troops would have been in Riyadh shortly thereafter.) So Bush Jr. figures he can get popularity by invading Iraq too. But rather than admit that, they have some fake claims that there were “weapons of mass destruction” present. It was figured by the time anyone figured out they weren’t there, the claims that they were would be forgotten. And they were right.

    So when you have a very strong military power controlled by people who have no interest in anything other than short-term gain, you get all sorts of psychotic actions. And it makes your country a pain in the ass to everyone else.

    I happen to love my country. But I am ashamed of my government, which I consider a disgrace.

  107. Not GLOBALIZATION but REGIONALIZATION. All signals point to an increasing western hemispheric integration. Despite strong opposition inside America and abroad, the Bush administration just keeps going, sending Zoellick, and then Rice, and others in order to consolidate FTAA. I agree with most americans that excessive trade with the rest of the world is rapidly damaging the american industrial base, however this rule does not apply to western hemispheric trade. Exactly the way it happened in the 19th Century, America has to do what placed her at the center of the world, isolation and internal developement, but now in a bigger scale. Instead of empowering only the US, it has to use the whole western hemisphere. Failing to recognize the pan american factor avoids a correct understanding of the policies of this administration.

  108. America:
    As a boy growing up in America we were taught some things are not right
    moral laws applied to every one. You did not fear your neighbor, and fear
    to walk the streets of your community, is it not time to ask our selves why? We believed in God and his Bible not,sex drugs and alcohol prayer
    was spoken in the home, school, church, and community.
    As I read the articles, some were good, yet none faced the facts
    America is drifting to destruction, as we drift from God and the Bible.
    I know, this will change no minds, Satan has blinded spiritually most
    Americans. Fred L Jones

  109. Hey, I’m an American and totally see where you are coming from. I’m a young kid overall, in high school and I’ve expressed my ideas and how this country is going down the drain as it becomes a “fascism” and a atheist regime that is limiting its resourses to make smarter bombs instead of smarter kids and happier people, when I went to Canada, I enjoyed the country. I liked kecthup chips. and I saw how People in the US think Canada is the same and there is a lot people who doen’t have it easy like most people do here. people here tend to think they are better then other people form other countries because we have had it so easy for too long. I believe this is a wake up call to the US to maybe change it’s ways from being so ethnocentric and destructive! In World War one we would of went to war along side the Germans if it weren’t for the resources of the English and the Germans attacking our ships and people! I believe that Canada and the US should teamup and work even more to better the world as neighbors, Christians, and not as critizers. and both nations could show amazing strentgh in science, technology, and culture. well that is all i got to say!

    please respond! thank you.

  110. Americans somehow have this belief that we are the center of the Universe and the rest of the world is of no importance.
    The U.S. economy makes up 18% of the World’s economy and we have 50 trillion dollars in debts throughout our economy(Trade,Government,Consumer,Corporate,etc) and rising rapidly.
    Our economy is largely based on Services, high value-added industry is a thing of the past. America has 14 million manufacturing jobs while the E.U. has close to 40 million. We now have deficits in high-tech products,low-tech products and we import more food than we export now.
    Our healthcare is rated 37th in the world and by far the most expensive with millions of people without coverage. Our Higher educational system is the most expensive in the World and our Primary school system is rated at the bottom compared to most other industrial countries.
    We have 30 percent of the World’s prisoners and millions more on probation, Are we free?
    This number is also increasing rapidly as we become the World’s Police State.
    Our military is shrinking, we will have less than 200 ships within a few year, down from 600. Our Airforce and Army are also much smaller than they used to be only a few years ago.
    We are no Superpower militarily as Iraq(a weak country) is proving. What if we had to fight a strong country? No way could we win with our present situation. No merchant Marine fleet,diminished industrial capacity,deteriorating educational system, deteriorating infrustructure(roads,schools,water/sewage systems,electrical power grid,etc). The people here are delusional and live in a fantasy world!

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