Moving Beyond Bush

In the current issue of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria writes about the Davos conference,

… for the first time in my memory, America was somewhat peripheral. There were few demands, pleas, complaints or tantrums directed at the United States. In this small but significant global cocoon, people—for the moment at least—seemed to be moving beyond America.

“There has always been a talk by a senior American official as one of the centerpieces of the Forum,” said a European who has advised the Forum for many years—and who asked to remain anonymous because of his relations with U.S. officials. “And in the past, people eagerly anticipated who that would be—Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice. This year, almost no one inquired. We expected disappointment. But there was none. No one even noticed.”

Part of the reason is that people are moving beyond George W. Bush. Europeans and Middle Easterners in particular used to rail against Bush. Now they think that their views about him and his policies—whether on Iraq, global warming or unilateralism—have all been vindicated, so why keep ranting? Besides, he’s a lame-duck president, his weakness on full display in last week’s plaintive State of the Union address.

But there may be a larger phenomenon at work here. This year’s conference theme was titled “Shaping the Global Agenda: The Shifting Power Equation.” The emphasis, and some of the talk at the conference, focused on that shift in power, with speakers foretelling the rise of Asia (and implicitly, the decline of America and Europe).

Zakaria goes on to discuss what might happen if another nation, most likely China, stepped in to the leadership niche, or what might happen if no other nation took on the job, and his projections are gloomy. Although our leadership is, um, substandard at the moment, you can say the same thing about a lot of other nations’ top dogs. Must be something in the water.

6 thoughts on “Moving Beyond Bush

  1. My thoughts, too. If this is so, than Bush has done us more harm than we may have realized. I feel very gloomy about this.

  2. What’s sad is that all of this was predicted shortly after Bush took over. If the USA wants to be at best a stick in the mud (eg global warming, stem cell research), or at worst go megalomanically insane, it was predicted that the other countries would move ahead scientifically on the one hand, and form their own political and economic alliances on the other.

  3. It has to happen. The nature of nations is that they get so big and so powerful that they have to decline. It is the balance of yin/yang. I remember hearing many years ago (don’t remember where) that China was destined to be the next superpower of the world. I love the Chinese because of their philosophy of the world. If this comes to pass, let’s hope they can do better with their destiny than other nations have. I personally don’t think the decline of the U.S. as a superpower is anything to mourn. After all, change is the only thing we can be certain of.

  4. I don’t want to start a fight (because I know we’re on the same side here) but I had to comment about #3…

    ..I love the Chinese because of their philosophy of the world…. I personally don’t think the decline of the U.S. as a superpower is anything to mourn.

    Chinese philosophy is one thing, but their repressive, autocratic government is quite another. As our influence diminishes, and as China becomes wealthy and powerful, it will become a harsh master over many. There is no way I’d want to live under it.

    While the USA has morphed into a fully owned subsidiary of some of the planet’s greediest capitalists, the loss of a system of governance founded on the radical, Enlightenment notion of government by We the People is something to be deeply mourned. This stunning achievement is rare, and right up there with what the Greeks achieved in their time, and will be remembered by future generations in the same light.

    More down to earth, the fall of the USA’s star in the politcal heavens portends great suffering here at home, as our money becomes worthless and as the Fox-fed masses here seek an outlet for their anger over their sudden change in status. It’s no accident that liberals have been vilified by the right over the last few decades, we are being set up as the fall guys.

    As for the plutocrats who own this country, they’ll simply move on, like locusts to another field.

    Change is constant, but not all change is good or easy to deal with.

  5. It so happens the next post up will be infused with much Chinese philosophy. Moonbat is right; the Chinese government for many years has not been very, um, Chinese, philosophically speaking. Just think of what they’re doing to Tibet. I don’t want any one nation to be dominant, but I’d rather see continued U.S. dominance than Chinese dominance.

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