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Politics In the Rear National will and developments back home for the intervening nations.

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Old 10-03-2011   #1
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Default America against the tide: influence declining

A short article by a thoughtful writer on the USA, Geoffrey Hodgson, which needs to be read:

It starts with:
A passing incident can often be revealing of something deeper. An example is the encounter of the United States treasury director and a group of European finance ministers on 16 September 2011. Timothy Geithner, having invited himself to the Europeans' meeting, proceeded to lecture them on what he thought they needed to do to clear up the continent’s messy financial affairs. Maria Fekter, the finance minister of Austria, responded (to general surprise) by remarking on Geithner's manners. You have lectured us, she said in effect, but not listened to our own ideas....

Yet what was striking is that Fekter didn't say (as she might have done) that Geithner had a nerve in condemning European politicians for evading tough decisions when he had just flown out of a Washington in which the US president, Democrats and Republicans had embarrassingly failed to agree on a debt-reduction package. ....

A trivial moment in itself, but it confirmed that a time has arrived when American foreign policy is now pushing against the grain of history.
And ends with:
The historic claim of the United States to be the champion of democracy, and to be the world’s political as well as military leader, will be hard to maintain. President Obama, and his Republican opponents with their cartoon version of American history, may try to suggest that today America still has history on her side. The words no longer convince.
The author also mentions Saudi Arabia's role, so I suggest the article will not re-appear in the main US media, but we know at least one SWC member will retain the link in his archive.

I know the themes of retrenchment by the USA have appeared in other threads, along with other attempts to look into the future of late. Or as Ken White has shown in recent posts, being in a mess is a regular feature and hitherto the USA and her closest, changing allies have been able to carry on.
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Old 10-04-2011   #2
Bill Moore
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That was a hard hitting article, one that I think that also could have been written in 1979 when Jimmy Carter was President and the world was concerned (or cheering) the lack of American leadership. The author appeared to be pointing out facts and opinions about America's recent decline without any particular agenda. Did I miss it? It almost seems as though he is scolding us in hope that we'll once again effectively assume our leadership role again on the world stage after learning from our hubris in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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