Thursday, May 24, 2007

'Twilight of America' Hyperbole

Victor Davis Hanson: Is Sky Falling on America?

After World War II, it wasn't long before the Soviet Union ended our short-lived status as sole nuclear superpower. And when Eastern Europe and China were lost to communism, it was proof, for many, that democratic capitalism was passé. "We will bury you," Nikita Khrushchev promised us.

Take oil. With oil prices at nearly $70 a barrel, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez seem invincible as they rally anti-American feeling.

But if we find alternate energy sources, or reduce slightly our oil hunger, we can defang all three rather quickly. None of their countries have a middle class or a culture of entrepreneurship to discover and disseminate new knowledge.

Blame... America?
And European elites can't blame their problems - a bullying Russia, Islamic terrorists, unassimilated minorities and high unemployment - all on George Bush's swagger and accent. The recent elections of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France suggest that Europe's cheap anti-Americanism may be ending, and that our practices of more open markets, lower taxes and less state control are preferrable to the European status quo.

And to the anti-American critics and worriers...
A better way to assess our chances at maintaining our preeminence is simply to ask the same questions that are the historical barometers of our nation's success or failure: Does any nation have a constitution comparable to ours? Does merit - or religion, tribe or class - mostly gauge success or failure in America? What nation is as free, stable and transparent as the U.S.?

Try becoming a fully accepted citizen of China or Japan if you were not born Chinese or Japanese. Try running for national office in India from the lower caste. Try writing a critical op-ed in Russia or hiring a brilliant female to run a mosque, university or hospital in most of the Middle East. Ask where MRI scans, Wal-Mart, iPods, the Internet or F-18s came from.

The man makes a good point.

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