Super-Spies Agree: United States To Surrender Control Of World
The National Intelligence Council (i.e., all above-ground government spooks) issued a report today predicting how the world would look by 2025 (AP/AFP/BBC/WaPo). I find these exercises entertaining, but you needn't bother reading a fairly standard novocaine-laced acronym-strewn litany of bureaucratically paranoid woe telling us what we already know.
The good: the world, apparently, will still have people left on it to fight each other. The bad: the US will not have enslaved everyone in McFreedom Fry Camps and make them keep buying plastic-electric thingies or else undergo the re-application of microwave blasters. The folks paid $100 billion or so per year to think about Complicated International Shit foresee more resource wars, a strong possibility of dramatic climate change, global instability (as in, umm, war), more WMD use by the bad people, and China will of course kill us all, perhaps after joining up with India, which will then be killed, too, after totally running out of water and starting to die on its own.
The US share of global production at the end of WWII was 75-80%. Not much way to go but down after that, and when it became obvious the world would be multi-polar (at the fall of the Soviet Union, circa 1990), we could have started using a temporary windfall of pre-eminence to craft treaties, international standards, alliances, back-room deals, and legal language which would grant a most-favored status, both economically and culturally, to the US for 50+ years. If you've ever watched Star Trek, you will have noticed that they speak English in space.
Instead, the power structure here tizzed out, ignored the real opportunity and over-reached in the worst possible way. It truly sucked to watch them do this, and know. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) surmised it could leverage a temporary military technology advantage (or in their inflationary terms, a Military Revolution) into a hegemony set in re-bar. If India or China got out of line, we could simply step on a pipeline or two and cut off their blood. Amongst the many things the PNAC crowd, which is to say Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their coterie failed to notice was that the real military revolution was occurring not with lasers shooting from the sky, but with citizen-soldiers (a.k.a. terrorists) using prepared positions, cheap explosives, sophisticated evasion/cohesion, and disposable cell phones.
The United States, in all likelihood, will be one nation amongst many. An ideology of exceptionalism will have trouble clutching up to that world, but there is reason to think it can happen. Other nations, as they've matured, have done it. I mean, look at Germany. And of my god, the Japanese, the Swiss. You will find few nations with a more innate, quiescent sense of superiority than the French, but they live rather peaceably these days, secure in the knowledge they're living better than anyone else. I can imagine far worse outcomes for my nation of birth and conscious choice, and am reconciled to the fact that the refrigerator in our kitchen was built to the standards of the European Union.