« Arizona's 'boom' (in charts) | Main | The kingdom and the power »

March 08, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I hate to say this, but to anyone with half an eye on the international scene, China's ascendance is merely a matter of time.

What that timeframe is a bit uncertain, but I'm guessing that by 2050, and maybe earlier, China will be calling many of the shots around the world, by filling a vacuum trump's "America First" policy has created. China is using its monetary and human capital to build infrastructure in Africa, not only to gain access to resources, but also to gain advantage in leveraging the next cheap labor market.

As America becomes more isolationist, China has boatloads of money just looking for somewhere or someone to influence. Trump's battle cry of "tariffs" will only gain America more enemies worldwide AND push those on the fence to look more favorably at China. Xi Jinping is, as the Chinese like to say, "smiling broadly."

I liken all these small things adding up to a momentum that, once underway, will be incredibly difficult to slow down, much less halt or turn around. It's kind of like that supertanker full of crude oil that takes an unbelievably long distance to stop at full reverse propellers. That figurative Chinese supertanker will run over an American "battleship" that has left itself floating aimlessly--and has put itself in the path of the coming juggernaut.

China will not flourish as a result of American missteps. The Chinese are too invested in our economy. China itself suffers from massive overpopulation and extreme pollution that is causing cancer rates to exponentially increase. Let us not forget that they will also bear huge costs as climate change takes its toll on massively polluted and overcrowded coastal and tidal mega cities. While China has invested in some infrastructure planning and building in Africa the ROI is limited. African nations are among the least resilient societies in the world politically, economically and in terms of sustainability.

Now, to the point: How will we endure? I am nervous but not fearful. I believe we will recover nicely as my generation and those younger oversee a liberal democratic surge. The blue wave is coming.

I must admit to now seeing the world through the lens of a New Englander. Residing in the bluest and most liberal region of the U.S. Perhaps I now find myself residing in somewhat of a bubble.

I say somewhat due to the fact that while Massachusetts is home to the bluest, most liberal State House, it also elected a moderate Republican governor. So, I do see how the center can function whilst immersed in this liberal, highly educated outpost.

"But I'm not sure we're going back to the country we knew, flaws notwithstanding."

"Flaws notwithstanding," really?

The country was founded upon conquest, genocide, and slavery. And on white Anglo male privilege. Cruelty and avarice inhabit its DNA.

I'm ready to give it all back to the First Nations, if Germany will have me back after 150 years. The Diné, Hopi, and Tohono can't possibly fuck it up more than we have.

Except -- as I have discovered -- my German cousins consider me AMERICAN. And the First Nations like a Whopper from time to time as much as us Euro-Americans.

So I -- and they -- are HERE. What can be done?

phxSUNSfan, China is likely already ahead of the US in renewable and non-CO2 energy research and manufacturing, and is well on the road to being THE main supplier of this technology to the world. But they have one thing we do not--a leader who is seen as much less aggressive and mercurial than Trump, and in diplomacy and business, confidence in a leader is a key asset.

Trump's policies are doing a great deal to gain America less prestige and confidence around the world, and this is the momentum starting to gain power I am worried about.

It is this vacuum which Trump's "America First" policy will likely create that China is licking its chops over, because this will allow them to become what they have wanted to be since Mao died--the new America.

How the world interacts with us is something America can only partially influence, not only because it is the other nation's perceptions involved, but also their consequent actions that we have marginal influence over. This influence becomes les and less the more America steps back from the rest of the world.

That is very worrisome, indeed.

Breaking the American political system was probably no one's intention. It happened because the forces of identity politics overwhelmed our institutions and democratic norms. Instead of ideas and policies, we argue over intangible things like feelings and grievances. I spend most of my time here blaming the Republican Party for unleashing this hell on America but I know it's more complicated than that. Even worse, the left is now fighting in this swamp of emotion with as much fervor as the right. 40-some years ago, this vandalism probably seemed quite clever. Now it's the nightmare we can't awake from.

Democrats have probably one opportunity left to save the system which made us the world's most stable democracy. I am not hopeful because the purity pouters on the left want a "revolution" that feeds their highly romanticized self-concept. I came of age in this mawkish melodrama where Beautiful Losers like myself stood up to the forces of oppression and got swatted down like mosquitoes at a picnic. Still, the dream never dies and 1968 beckons.

I'm guessing our next national development will be something closer to an authoritarian kakistocracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakistocracy). For all of you who hated government because of long lines at DMV or "neoliberalism", or guns laws, you ain't seen nothing yet. We may even elect a president who brazenly leverages power for his personal benefit, lies with impunity, stacks the judiciary with hacks and ideologues, and muses about becoming president for life. I apologize for that cynical thought. It can't happen here.

After watching politics for 50 years,Ihave come to believe that Mencken was definitely right-"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."The fact that all the southern states are Republican should tell you all you need to know about the party.Throw in a few small predominantly white states by scaring the hell out of them with Willie Horton type ads and the always on-the-make media coverage and you are home free.The U.S. will always be a country that votes for white privlege until it becomes demographically non-white.Until then you are just spitting into the wind.

Mike -- there's always this:
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."
H. L. Mencken

Mike Doughty, Unfortunately, I think you are probably right.

There are many White Evangelicals who are White Supremacists in their hearts, and their inner racist dictates their "law and order" voting.

Their greed makes them unwilling to care that their white privilege perpetuating political leanings are a major factor in Black unrest and dissatisfaction. This greed exists because the American Dream says you can have it all, and these "Starbucks supremacists" are absolutely unwilling to share.

The "blue lives matter" slogan is a redundant and a conveniently self-serving way to display that racism in politically correct language.

All of the above exists because, deep down, these supposedly moral and upstanding folks truly believe that all people of color are second-class citizens. True equality will never happen until those who are unequal take it by sheer number that can't be nullified by conservative gerrymandering.

Without doubt Republicans can be blamed for most of the policies bringing the country low. Tax policies that deprive government of the money necessary to support institutions making social mobility possible, programs such as higher education, extensive vocational training, and well funded retirement plans, are major drivers of the hollowing out of the middle class.

The Democratic strategy embraced being an advocate for every group with a grievance against social attitudes that didn’t advance their interests, all too often regarding them as ‘victims,’ to make pursuing legal remedies easier. It also made it easier for conservatives to establish democrats as a party that was for everyone but the majority of voters; in fact their enemy. It worked. Fragmenting the population into various identity groups breaks many of the social bonds that enable society to work. A representative government requires subordinating private interests for the good of the whole. Likewise using semantic harpoons like ‘white privilege’ to drown out legitimate concerns by the voting majority isn’t going to win any contests; witness the Democrats absence from most statehouses.

It’s hard to imagine that the notions of sacrifice necessary to build strong societies are going to gain any headway in a society that embraces consumerism and individual expression. We have been fortunate the WWII generation did so much to strengthen the foundation of our national conscience and social norms. It’s too bad the Boomers were too selfish to return the favor for future generations.

"A representative government requires subordinating private interests for the good of the whole."

In a country as large and varied as the USA, how does one determine what exactly is "for the good of the whole." Wyoming and California with their extreme differences in population, possess the same power in the US Senate to decide what exactly is "for the good of the whole". The House with it gerrymander essence allowing Republican population voting minorities to decide what exactly is "for the good of the whole".

Republicans and right wing media have been the ultimate mover in identity politics: manipulating and directing the anger and frustration of less talented and fortunate whites against such foils as government, the "deep state", immigrants and so on.

With a lack of effort in consensus building the US political framework fails. The dark energies of the Confederacy that precipitated the US Civil War still live and breath in the modern era Republican Party. Their ultimate goal is to wreck the Union and put a plantation structured system in its place. The present day Democratic Party's concern for civil rights and fundamental fairness should not be blamed for the party's political losses. The confederate control of the Republican Party and its continuing efforts to break the union will use whatever tools available to accomplish their revolution.

While I am as terrified at seeing more of our Democracy being destroyed every day as all of the above commentators are, I think you fine gentleman are overlooking a huge ray of hope. Women are very, very angry and are channeling this energy into more than marching around.

Mary, along those lines, it's Stormy Daniels tonight on 60 Minutes. Savor the irony of a porn star taking on The Total Explanation Huckster in his own arena. This may be the grudge match we've dreamed about in WWF America.

I think this points out why we need political parties if only to buffer the extremes of the Passionately Certain. Republicans used to nominate boring people to high office before Fox News, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh weaponized white identity politics. Then an abyss opened and coughed up Donald Trump. Always be careful when playing with matches near the toxic waste dump.

If women - and possibly, kids - can save America, I'll bow my head in awe and gratitude. A woman stood between us and Trump in 2016 and was deemed insufficiently telegenic. 53% of white women voted for the guy who mused about dating his own daughter. Not to worry! Franklin Graham not only approves, he's convinced Jesus ordained his victory.

Franklin Graham, like his late, unlamented father, proves that there is indeed a sucker born every minute. Make that every second.

Unfortunately, instead of Barnum's freak show to entertain the suckers, we have Trump's freak government.

So the "burn it down" crowd got their wish...And what do we have to show for it, besides an ever growing pile of ashes?

Well, how about a lifelong criminal, and serial adulterer, with a deep indebtedness to Russian oligarchs, and a man crush on Vladimir Putin, in the White House?

How about the most inept and corrupt cabinet in living history?

How about a white supremacist dismantling the Department of Justice?

How about Jared "Side Hustle" Kushner, and various neo-Nazis, scuttling about the West Wing?

How about a Republican controlled Congress, so afraid of Der Trump's frothing at the mouth base, that they sit by silently while he wipes his ass with the Constitution?

The list of abominations is seemingly endless, with something yummy for every freakish taste.

Are you not entertained?

B. Franklin, but the trump storm-troopers couldn't care less about the damage he's caused, because they haven't the intellect in their small minds to realize how much they--and the rest of us--will be paying for this upheaval. All they care about in their vindictive giddiness is that the "deep state" suffers, never comprehending that the deep state is what America has to keep order and predictability.

It's kind of funny, if you think about it, that Clint Eastwood (in "Magnum Force") talked to Hal Holbrook in the car on the way to the obsolete aircraft carriers about understanding the idea of getting rid of the police disciplinary hierarchy--but that one needed something to logical and tangible replace it with.

Doing an organizational makeover on the fly is hard enough, but trump seems to have nothing to take the place of what he wants to eliminate.

This almost seems like confusion for confusion's sake, and it makes many of our allies less confident of America's true course when Herr Kapitan Klink acts like an alternatively buffoonish and evil clown.

On the other hand, our rivals and adversaries, chief among them China, are salivating at the geopolitical inroads they think they can make at the expense of a rudderless America.

It is precisely this "long game" that an impatient, petulant, ratings-hungry TV personality like trump has NO conception of. We will pay dearly for electing a man who is so easily "blinded by his brilliance" AND "baffled by his bull$#!+."

This is a good piece. Now and then I need to reread a Robinson Jeffers poem.

"That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.
Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you."


Cal, Wasn't that the name of Hitler's personal train?

It was the proposed Luftwaffe bomber that could reach New York and DC. Went nowhere. Our version became the mammoth B-36.

A movie where the Soviets engineer a bloodless coup of the US.

The B-36 is my favorite bomber of all time, Rogue. As you know, a beautiful example of the "Peacemaker" resides at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, much to our state's credit.

Thoughts on the article:
It's interesting we heard for 8 years how weak and passive Obama was internationally because he tried to use diplomacy and get along with everyone. Now we hear for another 4 years how weak and isolationist Trump is because he doesn't know what diplomacy is and doesn't believe in helping other people.

The question is, does all this really matter in determining our national power and influence, or does America just constantly like to preen and worry about its place in the world while it sails its 20 aircraft carriers around the globe?

Part of me thinks that it all still comes down to economics, military might and foreign aid in the end and once we elect a president who isn't mentally ill, things will look much the same as they did previously.

I do wonder, and fear, if the ongoing demographic shift away from white non-Hispanic majority and primacy is going to continue to be uglier and messier than any of us ever imagined prior to Trump.

I think that's the most fearful thing of all, tectonic cultural shifts can be ugly and divisive and the Trump presidency just brought it all out into the open.

Mark, it can't be over-emphasized how much damage Trump has done to the essential norms of the republic, as well as to American leadership in the world.

As to No. 2, yes.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz