Saturday, August 14, 2010

After Empire by Dilip Hiro-a book report

The Birth of a Multipolar World
Whenever I see a title like this I can’t resist reading. I wrote an article dated June 9, 2005 entitled American Empire by Andrew Bacevich. In it I referred to two others, After the Empire by Emmanuel Todd and The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson. The article summed up my conclusions of all three books. This was included in My Last Angry Man book. I just recently wrote a review of The Post-American World by Fareed Zakara dated 7/19/2010. I had sent this to you by e-mail and also placed it in my blog,
This book I am reviewing was published in 2010. It takes the theme from the earlier ones and brings us up to date on where we stand as a nation at this time in his estimation. His conclusion mirrors Zakara’s book which was published in 2009. Much of the earlier predictions have been proven true. Having lived through the decades where we became the strongest and best nation in my time on earth, it continues to sadden me that the decline is accelerating with a total lack of understanding by our elected leaders on what is needed to reverse the downward spiral. I am convinced it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to recognize that we cannot go it alone in the years to come and we must accept that dropping bombs and sending our carrier fleets to trouble spots around the globe will no longer be acceptable to the rest of the world nor with our own people.
The tragic preemptive wars started by George W. Bush have done the greatest harm to our standing in the world. The loss of lives of our servicemen together with the lives of Iraqis and Afghans and squandering over one trillion dollars has hurt us greatly. While all of this was taking place President Bush gave away billions in tax breaks mainly benefiting the richest among us. We as a people were not asked to shoulder the financial burden, just go out and spend to keep the economy moving and leave the fighting and dying to others. At the time I felt this was disgraceful. Now that President Obama echoes this thought I haven’t changed my mind.
Before I start with the review I just have to share information on page 45. He reports that a team of American experts calculated the IQs of the U.S. presidents since George Washington using a complex process. They found that George W. Bush scored poorly on “openness to experience, cognitive proclivity that encompasses unusual receptiveness to aesthetics, actions, ideas and values”, a factor closely associated with intelligence. Compared to Bill Clinton (182), John F. Kennedy (182), Abraham Lincoln (195) and Thomas Jefferson (199), Bush’s score was zero.
If you took the time to read my Last Angry book will know my low opinion of him. He was a disaster for America and the world. How he got thru college is beyond my ability to comprehend.
There is so much I should report but the enormity of it all prevents me from condensing the book content into sound bites that might spur you to read. The sum total of it all is that America continues to extend itself militarily throughout the world and exhausting itself financially by going deeper and deeper into debt. The rubber band can only stretch so far and then it will snap. Our perceived enemies need only to wait us out while they grow stronger.
Communism is defunct now replaced by pseudo capitalistic systems that mirror capitalism but remain managed under tight control. It appears to be effective. Countries like Russia, China and India have been increasing their GDP by healthy percentages on an annual basis improving the lives of their citizens while America has floundered with stagnant growth, increasing joblessness and decline in the standard of living we had enjoyed for decades. These countries while allowing some freedom still keep a tight lid to prevent the excesses that are rampant in America as seen by the financial meltdown that has still not run its course.
Our political system has deteriorated into warfare between the major parties. Billions are spent annually swaying the voters which in the end changes nothing. No candidate has the courage to take controversial positions if not wanting to seem radical. Staying the course is the most radical position they should take. With Corporations free to spend all they wish I see no hope of getting sanity and honesty back into the system.
In his epilogue chapter he says, “By strictly regulating the appreciation of the Yuan against the dollar, China continues to sell its products at prices lower than those of American-made products”. He also states, “That China and Russia will prevent the United Nations from authorizing military action against Iran, no matter what it does with its nuclear program”. This means we go alone or with a few allies. A multi-polar world is taking shape. His last sentence is, “That marks the end of the American Empire”.

Jack B. Walters
August 14, 2010

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