Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Building a World We Want to Live In

Years ago, I pointed out to the Good Doc that America would not always be the world's sole superpower. While preeminent, we should be building global institutions to make the world an agreeable place when that day comes. As China's economy grows, so too will it's military potential. As emerging markets develop, America's relative place grows smaller and the corridors of power more crowded. I think I said the size of China's economy would eclipse ours in about 2025. Of course, my B-I-L completely rejected my forecast and any effort to leverage our position through alliances and protocols.

Financial Times suggests that events are moving faster than forecast:


Jim G. said...

Obama wants to manage a nation in decline. It is what we deserve. We have been an illegitimate superpower for way too long. We became a superpower by stealing resources from around the world with imperialism and a military, and it's time we found out what the rest of the world has had to live like because of us. And nobody can convince me that that is not Obama's attitude and mind-set.

Jim G. said...

So does Baxter, and Terry and Crazy Rich and...

Baxter said...

The Good Doc would rather pretend that all is well even after his "Starve the Beast" brethren have hollowed out that which unites us - the federal government.

Why would we want to maximize our influence while we have it? Lets just withdraw from the world. Lets just take our ball and go home. "Out of the UN!" cries Tea Party darling, Rick Perry.

Patriotic Americans support our president. Defeatist Americans support the would-be-president of secessionist Texas and his fellow travelers...

Baxter said...

This one is worth amending/expanding: The Good Doc & I actually have similar goals as to what the world should look like in the future. We just have completely different approaches in getting there.

I want what we call "Western Civilization" to simply become "civilization" in the future. Though imperfect, it is the best model available. It means democracy, pluralism, freedom of speech, religion, thought, equal rights for the races and sexes, rule of law, free markets and social safety nets (among other things).

We can move the world in that direction, slowly but surely, through cooperation. We will make a lot more progress leveraging our values with those that share them in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. If we take an arrogant, unilateral approach we will find the world working against us no matter how noble our cause.

My geopolitical State Dept "To Do" list over the next generation would include consolidating gains made in Eastern Europe. Through sugar rather than vinegar, I would try to move Russia into a more consistent westerly direction. I would pay attention to South America and try to integrate the western hemisphere as much as possible.

India needs support in joining the developed world and inculcating a western outlook throughout it's population which currently held primarily by the elites.

We need to allow China to slowly move towards a western system as directed by the gravity of free markets, education and technology. We need to help those forces without being heavy handed or to otherwise encourage communist revanchism or backsliding.

The West enjoys a huge advantage. We are right. We don't want to blow it by lording over others while we can. We need to build the world we want to live in when we aren't the preeminent power. That day will soon be here.