Saturday, April 25, 2009

Post-America America

People have been writing about the decline of America since the 1970s, speculating about who would surpass us as the dominant power. The Soviet Union, the European Union, Japan, and China have all been mentioned as candidates to replace us as the dominant power.

Who knew that we'd replace ourselves with a country that casts aside the stale concept of "America" as a nation that has been able to do great good for the world. Mark Steyn put it well:

Barack Obama is giving strong signals to the world that we have entered what Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post calls "the post-American era." At the time of Gordon Brown's visit to Washington, London took umbrage at an Obama official's off-the-record sneer to a Fleet Street reporter that "there's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment." Andy McCarthy of National Review made the sharp observation that, never mind the British, this was how the administration felt about its own country, too: America is just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. In Europe, the president was asked if he believed in "American exceptionalism," and he replied: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

Gee, thanks. A simple "no" would have sufficed. The president of the United States is telling us that American exceptionalism is no more than national chauvinism, a bit of flag-waving, of no more import than the Slovenes supporting the Slovene soccer team and the Papuans the Papuan soccer team. This means something. The world has had two millennia to learn to live without "Greek exceptionalism." It's having to get used to post-exceptional America rather more hurriedly.

I'm unhappy enough that we're to be turned into a version of the EU that has but does not use military power to defend our interests. It is rather odd for our own leaders to cheer on our decline when nobody has been able to actually supplant us due to their own efforts. We're just throwing the game by bowing out. This will not work out well for us.

But the world may get a taste of a world without the America they've complained about for years. We'll see how our president's goals for America work out for the rest of the world. I'm guessing not so well.

As it works out so often, we're our own worst enemy. Or is even that thought a bit too chauvinistic?