Friday, October 9, 2009
Decline Is a Choice
ADVANCE COPY from the October 19, 2009 issue: The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.
by Charles Krauthammer
10/19/2009, Volume 015, Issue 05
The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.
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This explains the praise showered on President Obama by Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro. This is the meaning of our attempt to install a dictator in the Honduras on the model of Castro and Chavez; it is the meaning of our recent betrayal of Poland -- on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of that country.
It explains why Obama initially responded to the open theft of an election in Iran by professing his confidence in the Iranian government and why the State Department recently cut off funds for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in New Haven, Connecticut, which was collecting information on the imprisonment, torture, and murder of those in Iran who protested against the theft of that election (for the details see this post).
It explains the deliberate insults offered Gordon Brown of Great Britain and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, which I catalogued here and here. And, of course, this explains the speeches given abroad again and again by President Obama, apologizing for American behavior in the past. and signaling a radical shift in American policy.
It is for this change of posture that our President has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And if you think that the United States is the principal source of evil in the world, you should vigorously applaud. My bet is that in his acceptance speech Obama will confirm Charles Krauthammer's worst fears and my own. -- Hillsdale College Professor Paul Rahe