this will probably set the world on fire...but ive been thinking this lately and i need to get it out of my head.
the prevailing wisdom of today's masses thinks that america's demise as a national power will come from emerging nations currently undergoing massive amounts of economic growth (ie, china and co). i disagree. i see a few problems with this view, but the major issue is that chinas domestic and foreign policies/ideology are so fundamentally at odds with long term economic growth, and unless there are more progressive/drastic changes in this regard (i doubt it), i see their recent strides as more of a short term phenomenon that is likely to end haphazardly or at best be hoarded domestically (do people really think china has interest/capacity to be the new super power given its history and the way the role is now defined by todays global standards?)
i believe the greater threat to americas dominance is its politics. the displacement and upheaval from the 60s has dissolved into an absolutism that has crippled the promise of any kind of practical, functioning government working to resolve the countries issues. Legitimate debates have been thinned into soundbites for the masses and the thirst for power for power's sake (mostly by the republicans) has taken/pushed things to the extreme. Its winner take all. choose sides or be damned. to be flexible or compromise is to be weak. meanwhile, america has massive issues that need to be resolved. the mounting burden of its debt, the gap between the rich and the poor growing again, health care coverage for the masses, social security for soon to be retiring baby boomers- these problems are all snowballing into each other. these problems are heart-stoppers, yet the public is disaffected and the politicians shortsighted by the next election. and the worse part is that everyone sees it coming.
no. americas biggest problem isnt the threat of an outsider. its that its cannibalizing itself from deep within.