Maybe America is not in decline after all …
Only a few short years ago, the airwaves were rife with frantic warnings of American decline. Now, the conventional wisdom is shifting as journalists begin to realize that this country’s long term strengths—in the opinion even of the Chinese—considerably outweigh those of other places. People often go wrong estimating America’s future prospects by comparing the state of the country to perfection; we fall short and depression ensues. It’s more reasonable and more illuminating to compare America’s strengths and weaknesses against those of possible rivals; from that perspective the United States looks reasonably well placed.
– Walter Russell Mead
Why the optimism? Mead quotes the Financial Times:
The big reason for optimism is structural rather than cyclical. Short-term storms have obscured longer-term trends. These are on America’s side. There is no need to take my word for it. Ask the Chinese…. America’s military reach will be unrivalled for decades. It has a stable political system. The country’s demographic profile is significantly better than that of any potential rival. Washington sits at the centre of the world’s most powerful alliance system. Its intelligence capabilities are unmatched. The US has huge advantages in technological prowess and intellectual resources. Around the world it exerts a strong cultural draw. It has a global outlook.
In addition, there is the great gift of shale oil and natural gas, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Read the rest of Mead’s post here.