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Decline Is a Choice – by Charles Krauthammer

October 8, 2009

ObamaThePostAmericanWorldDecline Is a Choice

The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.

by Charles Krauthammer

10/19/2009, Volume 015, Issue 05

On the other side of this debate are a few–notably Josef Joffe in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs–who resist the current fashion and insist that America remains the indispensable power. They note that declinist predictions are cyclical, that the rise of China (and perhaps India) are just the current version of the Japan panic of the late 1980s or of the earlier pessimism best captured by Jean-François Revel’s How Democracies Perish.

The anti-declinists point out, for example, that the fear of China is overblown. It’s based on the implausible assumption of indefinite, uninterrupted growth; ignores accumulating externalities like pollution (which can be ignored when growth starts from a very low baseline, but ends up making growth increasingly, chokingly difficult); and overlooks the unavoidable consequences of the one-child policy, which guarantees that China will get old before it gets rich.

And just as the rise of China is a straight-line projection of current economic trends, American decline is a straight-line projection of the fearful, pessimistic mood of a country war-weary and in the grip of a severe recession.

Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that

somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline–or continued ascendancy–is in our hands.

via Decline Is a Choice.

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3 Comments
  1. October 9, 2009 5:17 AM

    Well, it seems to me that Obama is promoting what Charles calls decline. That is the key difference between this President and, let’s say, Bill Clinton. Although Clinton was quite foolish in his policies towards the Mideast, China, etc., he still had a notion of protecting the nation’s interests.

    This is the first time – at least since Carter and far more exaggerated than the Carter regime – in which a President actively seeks to reduce or eliminate American power. For all the conspiracy talk about how Bush and Clinton were one-worlders, Obama is an open one-worlder who seeks an amalgam of liberal-socialist-Marxist systems with ‘moderate’ Islam, or all Islam that is not al Qaeda. His heart is in the East, as he made clear in his tour of Europe and the Islamic world, skipping over Israel. He ‘shows the soles of his shoes’ to Israel, as in a photo of him talking to Bibi, which some say was deliberate Islamic symbolism. Even if not, he has declared that Egyptian human rights abuses are no business of the US, and that American policy since 911 was a mistake, a knee-jerk reaction based on prejudice against Muslims. Obama appeases Putin, jerks the missiles from Eastern Europe, distances himself from Britain, and treats Israel pretty much the way it’s treated on college campuses with a large number of jihad-supporting Muslim students and ‘students.’

    Bill Clinton at least had a notion of American strategic interests, and could at least think about a Chinese strategic threat – even if he did not effectively act against it. The concept that a majority or plurality of American voters could contemplate Barack Hussein Obama as a national leader is beyond any rational analysis.

  2. Abijah permalink
    October 9, 2009 12:44 PM

    At the root, America’s decline is spiritual. The manifistations in morality, corrupt government, failing schools, etc. are merely symptomatic. Begining in the 1960s, the nation began a rejection of its Judeo-Christian heritage, the core of our strength and exceptionalism. Our decline has been breathtakingly rapid and real with real world consequences. To quote Walt Kelly’s character Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” There are Americans who are self-loathing and project that loathing on the nation actively seeking its destruction by any and every means. These are consumed with the hatred of America as we have historically known it;they live and breath soley for its destruction. These tortured souls turn the young, the naive, and the spiritually bankrupt from reliance on God to Godless Government. It happened in pre-revolutionist France, Weimar Germany, Czarist Russia, and it is happening in our times to the countries of the European Union and the United States of America. This is a post-Christian, post-democratic 21st Century and what lies at the end of this road is nothing less than Hell on earth and total conflagration. It’s not preordained, it our free will choice if we continue.

  3. October 10, 2009 1:30 PM

    The decline of America has followed the Gramscian trajectory of cultural subversion – a long, slow march through the institutions. This subversion has been led by such as Herbert Marcuse and other desciples of the “Frankfurt School” of post-Soviet neo-communists (Horowitz’s term)who have successfully injected their Marxoid poision into the psychosocial bloodstream of America. With the Obama presidency we are at the tipping point of a crisis between what once was and what the radical Left has subverted us toward. My guess is that we will end up with some blend of the two but definitely more totalitarian.

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