Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I'm sure Howard Fineman is a good guy (hardly a netroots freak), but seriously, he should read some of the scholarly literature on hegemony and U.S. power. Signs in Europe of a post-post-9/11 anti-Americanism simply signal that continent's ever increasing irrelevance in great power international politics. See, "Europe can’t even be bothered to hate America any more":


I got on a recently completed three-week trip to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Black Sea. America is no longer admired, imitated, or feared. We remain—for now—a safe haven for dollars (of which there are too many in the world). But we increasingly are seen less as a model or as an empire than as a cautionary tale of national neglect and decline.

Some Europeans can’t quite hide their schadenfruede. The British—whose publications and personalities are increasingly (and annoyingly) influential in the colony they lost 227 years ago—are global leaders in condescension (think Simon Cowell). But for America they add a special twist of bitter lemon to their analyses. It’s the triumph of the doddering older brother who no longer has to be grateful to his junior. Memories fade, and the Brits no longer feel they have to be kind out of homage to our having saved them from Hitler.

A couple of examples from the genre. Writing in the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash sees a Third World shabbiness when he visits the United States. “Every time I come back to the United States,” the Oxford don writes, “the airports, the roads, the public spaces look more tattered, battered, old-fashioned. Modernity is no longer self-evidently here.”

Edward Luce, a brilliant and diligent reporter for the Financial Times, surveyed the American landscape and came up with a mournful portrait that echoes, in equal measure, Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, and Robert Altman. Citing incontrovertibly bleak statistics about the struggles of middle-class Americans, and the growing disparity between the really rich and everyone else, he concludes that the U.S. is losing its essential character: it is no longer the land of opportunity and upward mobility; no longer the place where the future will surely be better, and more prosperous, than the past ...

Oh God ... tha's all I can read.

Folks are better off reading Michael Mandelbaum, "The Downsizing of American Foreign Policy." And Mandelbaum's no declinist, by the way. Let's get this economy pumping (ahem, President Obama), and we'll get America back on top in world public opinion (hope and change ain't doin' the trick).

Do States Ally Against the Leading Global Power?"