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American world leadership is reality, like it or not.

The simple fact is that the moral understandings of the Anglo-American world are the basis of the current system of international power.

America is without military rival, although the recent growth of the Chinese military is changing that.  We can destroy with our armies, but we lack the power to create lasting order once we've created ruin.

Now the economic and "soft power" situation is somewhat more complex, with China, and even more so Europe (look at the EU REACH regulations) being serious challengers to  American power.

I guess the point that I'd make is that the existence of international "systems" is due either to  brute power whether military or through constraining economic relationships.  If there is no hegemon, there is no system.  

The only exception I can see is when there is a common culture that produces common understangings of what is moral and what is not, like Christianity, or an idea of the "West." But even these shared value systems are most often reflective of previous power systems.

As much as it's en vouge to lament the system of Anglo-American power, would anarchy be more preferable?

Would it better to live in a world in which it was common for large, powerful states to invade and annex small, weak states?  Or one in which the horror of colonization is repeated as China creates colonies in Africa and South America? As AIDS devestates Southern Africa, ethnic replacement of local populations by Chinese "immigrants" over the course of 100 or more years is easily imaginable.  

About the possibility of Edwards being president, I'd say at this time he's acutally the most likely despite the shit you see on CNN.  The reason being that national polls have little meaning in determining who wins a primary, and Edwards has consistently lead in Iowa the first state to vote.  Plus, I expect that within the next few months (Late September-Early November) Edwards will begin to receive endorsements from labor unions, which will have a significant impact in two of the early states (Iowa, and Nevada), and whoever wins the early states is likely to surge, and win the nomination.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 02:37:09 AM EST
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Can you turn that into a diary?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 02:41:28 AM EST
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No promises.

I've not been sleeping, and in general anxious, because I'm in the process of moving and figuring out where (or whether) I'm going to get my PhD.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 02:50:43 AM EST
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...and whoever wins the early states is likely to surge...

I thought that 'surge' had been dropped from all lexicons for a mandatory 8 year count.

American world leadership is reality, like it or not.

American world dominance is a reality, though lessening. The effects of American actions are still significant, though not in the ratios that they had been...or promoted to be in the past.

As far as 'leadership' is concerned, I don't believe that this is a proper use of the word. It is also how I feel about the use of the word 'moral' in the next sentence.

...the moral understandings of the Anglo-American world are the basis of the current system of international power.

At a certain point, the actualities on the ground are so disparate from the basic idea that a word is meant to convey, that one should no longer use the term. Like being at the steering wheel of a moving car while completely drunk and calling it driving or even 'bad' driving. Yeah, sure, one can argue anything. But, it isn't in the realm of proper driving. And, likewise, what America is doing (and has done for a long time) is neither leadership nor moral, or even in the sphere of what leadership is or does, or moral as a benchmarking of balanced benefits for the many in the long view.

Making the world safe for pushing Coca-cola and Prozac around the world is neither leadership nor moral.

Finally, two more nags before I dash off to work. You have shifted the argument, equating American X with Anglo-American. Why not go all the way: Anglo-American-Christian-Corporatist. And, since when is anarchy the only choice vs. the Anglo-American-Christian-Corporatist revelation?


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 04:01:11 AM EST
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Would it better to live in a world in which it was common for large, powerful states to invade and annex small, weak states?  Or one in which the horror of colonization is repeated as China creates colonies in Africa and South America? As AIDS devestates Southern Africa, ethnic replacement of local populations by Chinese "immigrants" over the course of 100 or more years is easily imaginable.

Aside from Chinese colonies you're describing what we already have today. The US already does invade and annex small, weak states - or tries to, anyway. So I don't see how a number of smaller competing power blocs could possibly be any worse than one completely out of control and delusional superpower.

The reality is that there is no manifest destiny and no white man's burden. The US tries to rule the world purely for its own convenience and consumption.

It's not about leadership, it's about expedience. And with Bush 43, the wheels have clearly come off the bus.

What happens next is anyone's guess.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 06:03:36 AM EST
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America is without military rival, although the recent growth of the Chinese military is changing that.

You're kidding aren't you ??? America spends more on "defence" than the next 20 countries combined. Bellyaching about china's spend making them into a rival is a Cheney-esque overstatment.

However, you're also underestimating chinese "soft" power. They own you. The only convincing argument I've heard about America not attacking Iran is that china holds the markers on US finance and has nixed the idea. But your own government handed them that power, they didn't take it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 09:03:44 AM EST
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American world leadership is reality, like it or not.

No, American power is a reality. But leadership or even potential for leadership is gone. It's over. No one is looking towards the US right now and no one will. Any US politician tooting that horn is lying or delusional.

Bush just nailed that coffin but he didn't build the coffin. US "leadership" was tolerated during the Cold War, frankly resented after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the wonders of the Washington consensus in the 3rd world and so on and so forth and then Bush and the spectacle of 6 years of utter incompetence and impotence.

You've seen the Pew numbers on US perception in the world, right? If you haven't, you should. The new thing is not the unpopularity of the US gov. That's been there for a long time and before Bush. What's new is that, now, it is transferring to the country as a whole.

As much as it's en vouge to lament the system of Anglo-American power, would anarchy be more preferable?

What do you think the shape of the world is right now? The "choice" has already been "made". It's anarchy.

Would it better to live in a world in which it was common for large, powerful states to invade and annex small, weak states?

You are being sarcastic, I dare hope.

by Francois in Paris on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 03:57:24 PM EST
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