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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is the U.S. Still A Superpower?

Today on Real Clear Politics, there were two stories featured next to each other. The first one by John Bolten argued that Obama's policy toward Iran is naive. The second one, in Slate, argued the exact opposite and proclaimed Barack Obama's foreign policy view to recognize a new reality. Now, what was interesting to me was what Slate saw is the new reality.

But here's a fact of our times (and Obama seems to have a grip on this, perhaps because he's not so immersed in the diplomatic subculture): A presidential visit is not the cherished commodity that it once was, because the United States is no longer the superpower that it used to be.

When the Soviet Union imploded, so did the Cold War system whose existence bolstered our power and influence. After a while, many leaders—who once turned to the United States to permit, enforce, and legitimize their dealings in the world—began to go their own way, pursue their own interests, build their own alliances, not necessarily against the United States (though sometimes it worked out that way) but, more to the point, without giving much thought to Washington's feelings about the matter.

Those that argue against meetings between the President and leaders of countries like Iran and Syria point out that the prestige of the office of the President of the United States would by default bring prestige to our counterparts in Damascus and Tehran. Slate argues that this is a fallacious arguement because the office no longer holds that prestige because we are no longer the super power we used to be.

This statement is rather stunning. For instance, our GDP is just over 13 trillion dollars yearly and that is as much as the next four, Japan, Germany, China, and England, combined. We maintain bases all throughout Europe and Asia in order to protect those countries. That's because our military dwarfs any other military in the world. In fact, in his book, America Alone, Mark Steyn argues that one of the reasons that it is easier for Europe to create socialized medicine is because it is the U.S. that provides its military power. Certainly out terrorist enemies don't perceive the U.S. as no longer the super power that Slate claims it used to perceived to be. It is the U.S., not France, Germany or even England, that is their number one target. It is the U.S., and its military might, that has been leading the response to the GWOT. It is the U.S., not the rest of the world, that lead the charge to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq.

This arguement from Fred Kaplan is not merely fallacious but frankly just downright dumb. The U.S. wasn't perceived to be a superpower because of its stand off with the Soviet Union. It had a stand off with the Soviet Union because the U.S. was the only country strong enough to take the Soviets on.

Now, I will give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn't believe this nonsense. I will assume that his meeting with Iran will take into account the prestige that its President would have in meeting with the President of THE ONLY LONE SUPERPOWER. Let's however try and limit just how much nonsense the MSM will spew. The U.S. remains a super power and that status is not due to some misguided perception but reality.


Anonymous said...

you are absolutely right that America is still a superpower. You use our GDP and military to prove this successfully. However, we are second to the EU in GDP (2007-14953.060) and our GDP (2007-13543.33) is not growing as fast as that of China (2007-11606.34 up 1500 from 2006) and in less than three years China will over take us as the largest single country GDP.

Your argument that we have military bases all over the world because we are a superpower is somewhat true, however that is mostly a vestige of the cold war and world war 2, many countries not being allowed militaries because of treaties and the sizes of the two superpower armies making it cost prohibitive for any other countries to even attempt the massing of comparable forces. In fact after the end of the cold war many of us wondered what America would do with its massive military. I suppose we've found things.
In places like Saudi Arabia, the royal family uses the American military as a way to have a strong military presence in their country without having to have a strong military, from which they would have to fear coups and such. They pay for that service with oil. None of this is to be taken as an argument that we are not a superpower. we are.

and the fact is that if our president went to Tehran or walked the streets in Gaza, it would perhaps add to the prestige of the Iranians or the Palestinians but it would also greatly add to the willingness of the peoples of those regions to talk with us, to take our opinions and advice actually into consideration. And as Hussein Agha and Robert Malley made plain in their op ed the more that america has nothing to do with the peace process, even (or really especially) ceremonially, the more America will be marginalized in diplomatic processes. Which you may respond to with a laugh and a good show, old boys toward these countries for handling their own, however that isn't the position of the superpower. The superpower oversees these things even if it has nothing to do with them (and to oversee does not entail to back a side, the two are mutually exclusive in fact), especially in areas where our interests have been sunk so deeply.

mike volpe said...

With all due respect, the EU is not a country but rather many countries. If you compared the US GDP to the entire rest of the world, I am sure ours wouldn't be bigger either, but they are both apples and oranges comparisons. While the EU has formed trading partnerships and they allow for easy travel back and forth, they still remain separate countries and that will always be.

I don't much care how quickly China is growing. People said the same thing about Japan in the eighties and we all see how that turned out.

Our military bases still protect South Korea from North Korea, and if those bases are obselete, you could fool the countries that they are in because they aren't demanding we leave.

Just like with WWII, and the Cold War, the U.S. is again leading the way in the current GWOT. We are now and always have been the military super power that dwarfs all military power. Without the U.S. countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece would be very vulnerable because their militaries are nearly non existent.

As for our President walking the streets of Tehran, you are just naive. That would be used in every single Middle East media to show that Ahmadinejad has all sorts of new credibility because he got our President to walk hand in hand with him. Our generousity has never been recognized. Whenever any disaster strikes anywhere it is always the U.S. that takes the lead, and I never see that highlighted anywhere.

Anonymous said...

You don't quite get to dismiss the EU as a 'group of countries' - when outside powers deal with the EU, in most cases they deal with the EU as a group. Military matters are an exception, but that is changing too.

In particular, economic negotiations are done with the EU, not with any member state. The EU has a bigger GDP than the USA (though a smaller GDP per capita): if China had to choose between dropping all trade with the US, and dropping all trade with the EU, it would choose to drop the US, by this measure. This gives the EU tremendous economic clout, at least equal to that of the US.

The US's military reach and power is simply untouchable at this point, but this doesn't seem to matter how much it used to. Things may be improving in Iraq, but it still took 4 years to start beating a bunch of guys armed with kalashnikovs and roadside bombs. Like the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan, America's failure to easily crush a far weaker force has shown the limits of American power. And America's failure to get the electricity or water grids online (after four years!) shows that America's imperial power (sorry, 'force projection') is not to be feared as much as we might have thought.

'Whenever any disaster strikes anywhere it is always the U.S. that takes the lead, and I never see that highlighted anywhere.' Do you have any evidence for your first claim? The thing is, as an European student who spends half of each year in America, I've come to the following conclusion: you're not as special as you think you are. America is just another country -- a powerful one, with much to admire, yes -- not a 'city on the hill'. In particular, America is much less generous in terms of aid than its citizens seem to believe.

I was planning on moving to America indefinitely, but in the next year or two, I'll be returning home. Why? I like life in the US a lot, but I have a chronic condition and the terrible medical system is getting to me (and I have good insurance). Don't believe the propaganda - I've found the care to be much better, and much faster, in England. The dollar's collapse has also slammed much purchasing power: I'd rather be a tourist in DC spending Euros than a tourist in Brussels spending Dollars.

We are entering an interesting period in history, it will be fascinating to see how America no longer reacts to being top dog, rather just one big dog among several.

mike volpe said...

I didn't dismiss anything. You can't fairly compare the GDP of one country to that of a group of nations and then try to limit the power of one country because it has a smaller GDP than the entire group. Of course, it is an apples to oranges comparison. The EU is still a collection of nations, and not one nation. Why don't we compare the GDP of the CAFTA nations to the EU while we are at it.

The EU maybe a strong collection economically, but militarily the group of nations would still never cross the U.S. As such the EU would never make such a threat or see all our European bases immediately be sent home and all those nations fend for themselves militarily.

Apparently, even if you admit the U.S. is about to win in Iraq, you can still spin that negatively. The U.S.' military might is just as important as it ever has. We are in the beginning of a long GWOT and besides some help from Britain, almost all of the military fighting is being done by the U.S. itself.

Like I said, it is much easier to provide socialized medicine when another country provides your military.

I don't believe the hype. Some anonymous poster on the internet is not going to convince me that socialized medicine is the right way to go. I know what is happening in Europe. You folks are having trouble procreating in any numbers that will sustain your society. The nanny state you have created has plenty of reason for that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply.

"Why don't we compare the GDP of the CAFTA nations to the EU while we are at it." If those nations operate as a single unit economically, then yes, that might be a sensible and informative comparison. The Eurozone/Schenhen countries have the same currency, and passport-free travel. True, they are not one country. But they are somethign more than a 'group of countries'.

Interesting point about socialised medicine, but I think you're wrong. The only reason having 'military protection' would make socialised medicine more feasible is if socialised medicine is more expensive than the US system (and hence only affordable by scrimping on the military). But this isn't true: the US spends more per person on healthcare, and gets worse results. Socialised healthcare is cheaper, as well as better, thanks to cutting out the middleman.

Birth rates are a problem in the EU (especially south-east Europe), that's true. But if you remove the contribution of Hispanic and other ethnic minority groups in the US, the 'core' white American population isn't doing much better.

Are you going to provide some evidence that "Whenever any disaster strikes anywhere it is always the U.S. that takes the lead, and I never see that highlighted anywhere", or is it just something you've been brought up to believe without questioning?

mike volpe said...

Again, comparing the EU to the United States of America is apples to oranges. They may have the economic strength to match the U.S. together, but they are a collection of countries. Thus, while they may have as much trading power as the U.S., if one of them gets attacked they look to the U.S. not the EU for protection. The EU doesn't have a military, and the military strength of all the EU nations combined is miniscule compared to the U.S.

I am not saying that the EU is not a powerful force. It is, and there are plenty of powerful forces in this world, but their power and influence is dwarfed by that of the U.S.

As for birth rates, that is just pure nonsense. The U.S. birthrates are just fine.

As for the U.S. coming to everyone's aid, well that is just a known fact. Our foreign aid is billions yearly. We provided millions for aid to the tsunami, earthquakes, cyclones and every other natural disaster anywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Well, strictly speaking America is a federation of states, which is exactly what the EU is, parse all the words you like. Just because the EU states enjoy much more leeway in their federation than American states do in ours doesn't change that fact. Also, they have a single currency economy (w/ the exception of the british). On top of all of that, in my original post i said that China would be soon atop us with SINGLE COUNTY GDP. obviously i was well aware of your objections before you made them and made my point before you went ahead and made the objections i had already dealt with.

seriously. read BEFORE you react.

Also, with your statement that EU countries still remain independent countries and ALWAYS WILL BE you purport knowledge of the future, and strange, already disproved knowledge of the future at that. I guess you didn't follow the situation in Belgium between June of 2007 and March of 2008, did you? I mean, seriously, when Nato takes care of your defense and the EU takes care of your economy what do you need a government for? social services, in europe, and as soon as they figure out how to federalize that acceptably among the countries... who knows what could happen. but, Mike, it has already begun to happen.

And wow, Mike, i actually never said our military bases were obsolete... nope, re-read myself and i never said anything about that, however now that you bring it up: our bases in germany serve what purpose exactly? and in Saudi? and in Italy? and Spain? and Portugal? and Australia? and Canada? and Yemen? and the UAE? and the Dominican Republic? and i can go on if you want. but i'll let you explain to me why those bases are needed.
and yes our bases in South Korea are needed bc obviously the South Koreans cannot be trusted with their own military, and our presence there in South Korea has not made the North more militaristic in reaction whatsoever. That just happened because Northern Koreans are just violent by nature. When the Korean Peninsula was a proxy for American and Chinese aggressions our presence was required, perhaps, though our presence in Japan probably would have been enough after the 70s. North Korea no longer receives overt Chinese support so now we are keeping up a presence for what was a pawn in a larger game fifty years ago...

Also, Mike, why do you say that if a EU country is attacked they come to the US?
are you saying that the UN and NATO are the US?
or that all of the military that is sent by the UN or NATO is the US's?

As for aid, it is true that our foreign aid is magnificent, if not always, ever, beneficent.
and in my travels around the world i've heard much praise for our foreign aid, from the Arabs in Jordan especially.

We still have the rank of super power, but it is an outmoded rank in the new world that is being created. Or perhaps China will prove me wrong and it is only our super power-ship that is outmoded.

mike volpe said...

Did you just say that the EU and the US are no different? Are you serious?

I shouldn't even respond to the rest of the comment after that nonsense.

Then, you claim that if a country were attacked they would go to the UN or NATO. The UN of course would never do anything because they never do. If NATO did anything it would only be because the majority of the effort were headed up by the U.S.

This arguement is silly. If you actually see no difference between the U.S., one country, and the EU, a collection of countries, then you aren't in a position to offer any constructive points to this debate.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you either need glasses or to re enroll in third grade reading.

i said that the EU and the US are both federations of states with single currency economy.
is there anything wrong with that statement?
anything untrue about that statement?
do you have any intelligent answer to that argument other than "are you serious?"
yes Europe's states have been independent for hundreds of years in some cases, (fifteen in others) and these old states still hold the old nationalisms and so the federation is much looser than the American federation, HOWEVER that doesn't change the fact that they are both federations of states. does it?

your mentality is outmoded if you think that countries throwing in with each other to create an economic giant isn't the creation of a new economic superpower.
who cares if it is one "country" or not. it is one entity that economically acts as an individual.
your argument is about 50 years late and reactionary even then.

whether it is one country or twenty, the EU is an economic superpower that acts as one entity, slowly admittedly. And it is a larger economic superpower than the US.

and the US is steadily destroying its military in afghanistan and iraq. if we escalate the problems in those places or with Iran and/or Pakistan's new government we will further hamstring our military.

China's standing army is twice the size of our fully mobilized army, with four times our mobilized army in reserve.

and about those bases you brought up?
no answer?
and about the situation in Belgium and its ramifications?
again, no answer.

so since you had nothing new whatsoever to offer to any of my statements, since you had no coherent arguments against mine, i suppose that means you concede the argument.

well. its been real.

mike volpe said...

You need to get a clue. If you arguement comes down to pretending that the EU, a collection of countries, is no different than the U.S., one country, then it is you that has no arguement. If you insist on continuing with that lame line that there is no difference, I won't respond to anything else.

Anonymous said...

wow. now i'm angry.

Mike. I own clue.
i said the eu is a federation of states with a single currency economy, like the US.
have you ever heard of logic?
didn't think so.
i never said there was no difference between the EU and the US. I actually have spoken on those differences in multiple posts.

i would appreciate it if you would actually read what i've written and respond to it.
not to some halfwitted idiot idea of what you think someone like me would say. bc now you have repeatedly put words in my mouth as a way to not address the words i have spoken.

How old are you?
15 or 16?
spouting off what your dad says at the dinner table but too afraid to bring him the questions i've asked you?

i mean, you still haven't addressed any of the things i've brought up.
all you do is try to reduce my argument to "there are no differences between the EU and the US."
i never even espoused that point of view.

one of the largest is that the EU has a larger GDP than the US.

apples and oranges, my ass.

we're talking about clout around the world, but you won't allow the EU into the discussion bc you want to have a rule about single countries v. federations...

you fool.

are you serious?

you argument is called a petry dish because it's focus is tiny, it is completely controlled and the outcome means nothing.

good luck trying to function in the real world when you grow up.

mike volpe said...

I don't know why you need to get all bent out of shape just because I have a different perspective from you. We are having a substantive debate here. I didn't erase any of your comments, and so if you think that I misrepresented any of them all you need to do is go back and quote yourself. I will do it for you.

" Well, strictly speaking America is a federation of states, which is exactly what the EU is, parse all the words you like. Just because the EU states enjoy much more leeway in their federation than American states do in ours doesn't change that fact. Also, they have a single currency economy (w/ the exception of the british). On top of all of that, in my original post i said that China would be soon atop us with SINGLE COUNTY GDP. obviously i was well aware of your objections before you made them and made my point before you went ahead and made the objections i had already dealt with."

Strictly speaking, you just said there is no difference between the U.S. and the E.U. Thus, I was just using your own words.

Of course, there is a huge difference between the U.S. and the EU, and that is why their comparison is ludicrous. Just because a collection of about 20 countries, together has a bigger GDP doesn't mean they are more powerful together. For instance, there is no EU military. The EU does NOT speak as one voice for all the nations. For instance, when Britain followed the US into Iraq, there was nothing Germany or France could do about it and vice versa. That's because while they share trading power, that is almost all they share. They don't share governments or cultures. The EU is a loose confederation of countries brought together mostly for trade. That is only one way to determine a superpower.

The U.S. could do the same thing, and if you believe conspiracy theories the North American Union is fast apporaching. Of course, the U.S. doesn't need to and it would be difficult to pull off since the U.S. has comparable GDP's to the EU or any other trading conglomerate, and the U.S. would dominate any trading conglomerate.

Furthermore, again, the U.S. has a dominant military which is different from the EU which doesn't have a military. Finally, the U.S. has a dominant culture which is different from the EU which has no common culture.

As I have been pointing out, it is bunk to try and compare the EU to the U.S. which is the point of each of my responses, however there is no reason to get upset. I am not going to agree with you no matter how hard you try. If I thought your position was the right one, I would have argued it from the beginning. The point of the debate is not to convince the other side they are wrong. The point is to present your arguements as clearly and substantively as possible so that unbiased observers can be convinced.

By stomping your feet like a little kid as you just did, and alluding to me as a teenager, all you do is weaken your own arguement because you prove to everyone that you cannot stand up to any serious scrutiny.

All you need to do is point out where I am wrong and why and that will speak for itself. You don't need to turn this into a third grade shouting match that only cheapens your own arguement.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for finally actually addressing one part of my argument with an argument and not just referring to your one line repartee.
it took a lot for me to actually get an argument out of you.

And still Mike, this is only one part of my argument. And still a misread part of my argument.

so i said:"Well, strictly speaking America is a federation of states, which is exactly what the EU is, parse all the words you like. "

and you said: "Strictly speaking, you just said there is no difference between the U.S. and the E.U. Thus, I was just using your own words."

okay mike really? so a basketball and a football have no differences bc they are both balls? and a bouncy ball is no different from either of them, because it is a ball too.
this is the substance of your argument against me?

just bc both the US and EU are federations of states doesn't mean they don't have massive differences.

But just because they have differences doesn't mean you get to dismiss the fact that the EU has a larger GDP.
I won't and haven't argued that politically there is much unity in Europe.
I won't and haven't argued that militarily there is much unity in Europe.
However, economically they work together, much as the early American states did.
There are major differences between the US and EU chief among them the longevity of the independence of European states previous to any thought of unification, and the longevity of the American federation. These aspects make the federations two very different kinds of federations, and i would never argue that they are not very different, though they have similarities.

So, you still can't say that this line is untrue:

"the EU and the US are both federations of states with single currency economy"
can you?
please do if you can.

the proper response on your end would have been "sure they are, but that doesn't mean there aren't major differences." not bc i changed your opinion, but because the statement is fact.

you can see it from your context and i from mine and take different ideas from it, but the statement itself is fact.

and if you say again i said there is no difference between the EU and the US i will be very angry. i never said that. explaining similarities doesn't entail denying differences, the world is actually quite dynamic. and, i have outlined differences now. and you have outlined some as well.
i think we get that there are differences.
but if you are going to try to say that the US is a superpower on the world stage, you do not get to dismiss players from the world stage because you don't like that they are alliances. they are major players in the world power sphere, alliance or single country, if you are sitting at the table with the major players of the game you can't dismiss the EU. you can't.

you said: "I didn't dismiss anything. You can't fairly compare the GDP of one country to that of a group of nations and then try to limit the power of one country because it has a smaller GDP than the entire group."

but this is politics and economics, not monopoly or some childhood game. it isn't fair. it is real, and the limitation of power is not something made in argument, it is something that is made in reality. and if a group of nations builds a trade conglomerate that has a larger GDP than that of another, the limitation of power on the other is real and not arguable.

anyhow. we have completely deviated from the original intent of this argument bc you couldn't get off the third sentence of my first post.

We may still be superpower, but with our economy the way it is, right at the moment that the mass baby boomer generation needs social security, right at the moment our military is overextended in two wars, with 1.5 million of our young enlisted world wide(not just deployed in those two countries), and not in a position to help the economy rebound, or to help pay for the social security that will be needed, and many of them coming home in need of help themselves, and the housing market crash, that has hamstrung most states budgets bc they were relying on projected income that doesn't exist now and are having to cut back educational funding, which means the next work force will be less qualified than this one and ... well, i mean you can see the downward spiral that we are set up in at this moment.

and mike, genuinely, i am not bent out of shape because you disagree with me, i enjoy spirited debate, but when you disregard the entirety of my argument choose to put words in my mouth and argue against points i never even tried to make, yes, then i get bent out of shape.
please excuse my ad hominem attack. i was frustrated, and it actually served its purpose since you tried to coherently argue against... well, still against a point i haven't ever tried to make... but, well, at least it was an argument this time.

mike volpe said...

Look, you just proved my arguement for me. It's exactly right. You want to have it both ways. When it was convenient for you, you claimed that technically there is no difference between the U.S. and the EU. Now, it isn't convenient and you start pointing out all the differences. That is the point. There is no comparing the U.S., one country, to the EU, a collection of countries.

Which is why the whole premise of your arguement is bunk. You continue to claim that the EU is more powerful than the U.S. becaue they have a bigger GDP. Well, of course that is nonsense. It is a collection of countries so of course it is greater. On the other hand, besides trade and economic issues, the EU countries don't share common cause on most anything else. They don't have a common military, language, or culture. They don't even have any sort of powerful common government. That was the point I was making.

As to the U.S...yes, there are problems. I don't know any country that doesn't have any problems. So what. What was happening in the U.S. in the '70's was much worse, and yet we not only survived but thrived. Whatever problems we have as a nation we can overcome.

In everyway, we lead. On the economy, military, and politically, the United States leads. To point out that the baby boomers need social security as some sort of proof the U.S. is about to fall down the tubes is nonsense. Again, things were much worse back in the seventies, and the eighties started a period of twenty five years of nearly uninterrupted growth.

Again, besides, whatever problems the U.S. has they are small potatos compared to the problems the EU countries are facing. In Europe, people aren't having any children. The countries are being overrun by immigrants, and you want problems. What will happen when this generation is retired and their won't be any workers, because they had no kids, to support their nanny state.

Again, the sum total of your arguement that the U.S. is not a superpower is that the EU, a collection of countries, has a bigger GDP. Even though you, yourself, admit that it is an unfair comparison to make. Second, the U.S. is facing a crisis in social security, and our military is extended by two wars. Of course, our military is extended because whenever there is a war, we are the ones to lead.

Guess what during periods of any serious conflict, our military gets extended, and yet after many such conflicts our military continues to be the most powerful in the world, and frankly it isn't even close.

Finally, you say that China is growing faster. Good, Japan did the same for a while. We will see. Right now, they are still much weaker than the U.S. Until their growth means they overtake the U.S., let's hold off on supplanting the U.S. as a superpower.

Anonymous said...

Austen Brown, the EU has a major population problem along with a dying economy (in the long term - the current growth in Eastern Europe as it catches up to the rest of the world creates the illusion of stronger European growth than there actually is), along with an inability to project their military power and an unwillingness to try.

China is growing fast, true, but military power is more than simple economics. There is much to be said for the "fungibility of power," but at the end of the day, China does not have the type of technology or institutional knowledge to create an America-challenging military - and will not for some time. That also assumes that China has the intention of challenging the US, which is not at all clear, despite the rhetoric of certain leftists trying to disrupt US-China trade by implying that there is such an intent.

Anonymous said...

perhaps the chinese military is not yet ready to battle the american in technology, but in numbers they have us beat by four times. also they effectively mobilized to try to save sichuan province after the earthquake... better than we did with katrina with over nine hundred thousand troops stationed in the US.

also, just look at today's new york times--

Booming, China Faults U.S. Policy on the Economy
Americans once scolded the Chinese on mismanaging their economy. But in recent weeks, the fingers have been wagging in the other direction.

is that China on the economic high ground?
" “U.S. credibility and the credibility of U.S. financial markets is zero everywhere in the world,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, a professor of economics at Columbia University... ." a biased source perhaps.

Brown Says Europe Will Tighten Iran Sanctions
After talks with President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Britain would freeze Iranian assets and increase its troop strength in Afghanistan.

is that europe acting as one entity? well, it is moving in that direction, undeniably with the nudging of america... but never with france as self sufficient as it is... oh, but

In Defense Policy, France Turns to U.S. and Europe
France has decided that its security lies within Europe and the NATO alliance, marking a significant shift from the country’s notions of self-sufficiency.

but that is alluding to NATO, which America is a part of.
true, but my point is that it is happening, Europe becoming a single entity, with its mind on defense no less. and it has been for a while now. and it may take some time, but it will.

Mike. you said
"EU countries don't share common cause on most anything else. They don't have a common military, language, or culture."
America hasn't traditionally had a common culture.
i believe we had a civil war about cultural differences. and that war didn't change the differences, it just oppressed one side, even if it is not politically correct to see the south as oppressed by reconstruction, it was.
and our common language is fast being supplanted, there are television stations, radio stations and newspapers all over the US that run exclusively in Spanish. And the canadians have more than one language and culture, are they not a country? How many languages are spoken in India? in China?
as for a lack of common military in the EU, it is true, but they are working on that. and the fact that they are trying to do it... well, that in itself means that they are beginning to see themselves as unified.

and this statement i find ludicrous
"What was happening in the U.S. in the '70's was much worse"
according to the New York Times Paul Krugman:
"Jimmy Carter’s overall economic record was much better than most people realize — the average economic growth rate under his administration was 3.4 percent per year, slightly higher than the growth rate under Ronald Reagan and far better than growth under either Bush."
according to Krugman "The difference [between the '70s and now] is that the problems look a lot worse this time: a much bigger bubble, more financial distress, deeper consumer indebtedness-and sky-high oil prices added to the mix."
and allow me to add the housing bubble bursting which as i said before has hamstrung state budgets by depleting funds that have already been spent, and the war in Iraq hemorrhaging money... the baby boomers heading into social subsidy, an american economy largely dependent on the service industry and commercial work force, which is dependent on other countries for real products, while the rest of the world suffers from food riots at least in part because of the devaluation of the american dollar, at least according to the CRS report to congress which listed the reasons for food price inflation as 1. demand for corn for ethanol, 2. poor harvests, 3. the weak dollar, 4. change in eating habits and 5 increase in input costs.

to close with another quote from Krugman:
"So if history is any guide, we should be looking at an extended period of economic weakness, probably extending well into 2010, and quite possibly even longer."


Anonymous said...

oh wait mike, i missed my best example...

so Rome, didn't have common culture, or language or cause in its empire... so it wasn't a superpower?

mike volpe said...

DAusten, did I notice you quoted from Krugman? I think that let's everyone know where you come from. Here is a piece I wrote about Krugman...

Anyway, that is an aside.

Let me take both of yours at once. First, if your "best" example happened when we were still B.C. that isn't much of an example. I don't know if you heard but things have changed since then. Culture travels the globe much faster now. In any case, of course Rome was still a superpower even though they had multiple languages. In fact, the Soviet Union had multiple languages and it was still a superpower. It does detract from a country's reach when their culture is difficult to define, but then again during Rome's time, there was nothing anywhere near its enormous size, power and scope. Again, the main difference is that Rome was a country unlike the EU which is a collection of countries. You seem fixated on disproving me by focusing on a trading conglomerate and you constantly ingnore the fallacious nature of that argument. Since it isn't actually one country but several it makes for a bad example. They don't have a military, any sort of a powerful government, common language, or culture. The U.S. has all of those. Thus, again, saying the U.S. is not a superpower because the EU, a collection of countries, has a bigger GDP is pure nonsense.

As to your second point, once you admitted that the Chinese military is nowhere near the strength of the U.S. military that is the end of that portion of your argument. If it is ever rivaled to the U.S. then make the argument, but until then the argument is bunk.

As to the second part of your argument, that is also bunk. When President Bush went to Europe he met with Merkel, Sarkozy, and Brown. Do you know why? It's because they are heads of state. Just because Europe finds common cause in the issue of Iran doesn't mean that Europe is suddenly a monolithic being that always acts as one. They don't. French people don't vote for the British Premier and vice versa.

Second, you constantly reference Krugman. Krugman is a socialist idealogue. He defends Carter and attacks Reagan. Enough said. If the crux of your argument are things in the NY Times and Paul Krugman, that speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I can't believe you haven't brought up this guy's statement claiming that IN THREE YEARS China's GDP will overtake America's. Three years?

..and to the guy that said "America's failure to crush an easy foe". Crush? Do you know what "crush" means? And do you really think that if we wanted to "crush" them, we couldn't do it? Just say we aren't good at nation building or scoping out suicide bombers from ordinary citizens or something, but to say we can't "crush" them? LOL, statements like this make me wish we would, sometimes.

I don't know where AB got his 70s stats. Under Carter we had double digit inflation, very high rates, high unemployment, an average annual growth of 1%, a growing budget deficit, basically heaven for the declinists. We had "lost our standing in the world" and wondering "how are we going to make America an America that the world respects again". LOL, sound familiar?

mike volpe said...


there was all sorts of propaganda in much of the statements and I didn't want to respond to all of it. I wanted to make the point clear that comparing the EU to the U.S. is ludicrous.

Nothing he said ever made China a bigger superpower than the U.S. Everything was, soon they will catch up. Well, when they catch up then they will be bigger.

Of course it is silly to claim that China which combined with three other nations, has a smaller GDP than the U.S. will suddenly have a bigger one in three years. It matters not. I deal in the here and now. Now, the U.S. has the overwhelmingly largest GDP. Period.

As for the military, the U.S. is the unquestioned leader in all things military. We all know this. He was basically making a machiavellian anti Bush anti Iraq war argument. We lost in Vietnam. Our military still came out and is by far the strongest. Claiming we can't crush the insurgency is a sign that our military is weaker than some unnamed military is a weak argument. The argument was much more anti Iraq war than anything else and I didn't feel like engaging it.

Anonymous said...

Austen Brown,

Sorry for the delay in addressing your last comment.

First, it is wise not to quote Krugman or Stiglitz; neither are reliable sources on general policy. Stiglitz has made some possible theoretical contributions to economic theory at a very esoteric level, but all of his general pronouncements, especially as relates to globalization or the fate of the world economy, is total bunk. (And I don't just say that because of his neo-keynesian view either.) Krugman has become a political hack, and has been since the mid-1990s.

As to a direct military confrontation, I doubt that China will be ready to take on the United States any time soon. Engagements between the main armies of countries and the United States military has historically been a strong suit of ours; our enemies have done much better when they resorted to guerrilla tactics. A war between China and the United States would almost certainly be nuclear, but a conventional conflict would certainly end in our favor.

Ability in disaster relief has little bearing on combat effectiveness. I do not concede that the Chinese response to their recent earthquake was more effective than the American response to Katrina; it is very possible that the opposite is the case.

Anonymous said...

I was interested to read the arguments on this blog, but was a little surprised to read the following: "Some anonymous poster on the internet is not going to convince me that socialized medicine is the right way to go. I know what is happening in Europe. You folks are having trouble procreating in any numbers that will sustain your society."

The decline in European birth rates has nothing to do with socialised medicine. The low birth rate is due to social changes rather than medical. Women in Europe are simply opting to focus on their careers first and waiting until later to have children which is causing the size of the current working age population to decline.

mike volpe said...

Yes, I am sure it is just a coincidence that the low birth rates happened at the exact same time as Socialism spread through Europe.

Of course, the reason for low birth rates is quite complicated. These so called social issues are the spread of secular progessivism policies that de emphasizes religion and made societal revolutions standard.

All of these things go hand in hand with socialized medicine. There is no question that socialized medicine contributed to the dying out population of Europe.

Anonymous said...

Europe doesn't actually have ANY socialist countries. They have several countries with socialized healthcare and education, but not a single fukky socialist nation. In fact, if one were to get technical, the last actual socialist society was the U.S.S.R.

Andropov G said...

Additionally, I don't actually see how socialized medicine cotributes to a lower birth rate. Socialized medicine seems to have a positive effect on health in a country, since countries with socialized healthcare have lower infantile death rates and higher average life expectancies. Sorry for anonymous first post.

Andropov G said...

Sorry about the "fukky" typo in first comment as well. I didn't even see it.

Andropov G said...

Sorry about the "fukky" typo in first comment as well. I didn't even see it.

mike volpe said...

You should have seen the birth rates in the Soviet Union.

The standard of care is worse not better in socialized medicine.

I said that the reason for low birth rates is quite complicated and never blamed it entirely on socialized medicine.