Friday, November 14, 2008

Reality Check in Obamaland

America is no longer in the box seat when it comes to dictating policy to the world. That the United States is still by far the largest single national economy in the world, possessing the mightiest military force and dominance in space-age technology, is a given. That American national debt is preposterous both in its size and the nation’s inability to control it is the matter of daily headlines. That the U.S. is to blame for the global financial crisis is increasingly being declared as such by leaders in the world’s greatest single trading combine, the European Union, especially within Germany. That reality, and its consequences, will be vocalized, very stridently, by nations gloating over America’s demise this week at the G-20 summit in Washington commencing Saturday.

What really counts in international relations is not so much the reality of a nation’s power, but the perception by other nations of that power. And perceptions of U.S. power are rapidly changing around the world, especially since the results of the latest U.S. presidential election were posted.

The U.S. is a drastically divided nation politically. Barack Obama did not win the U.S. election by a landslide popular vote. Thus, there is still a very deep chasm between conservative and liberal voters in the U.S., notwithstanding the impression that the liberal press seeks to tout of a nation caught up in the spirit of Obamamania.

Dream on!

The fact is, there has seldom been a more opportune moment this century for America’s enemies to take advantage of its political, social and economic sclerosis to force their own will upon the U.S.

The perception of America that is spreading throughout world leadership circles, especially among America’s enemies, is of a nation that has had its day. A nation in a state of rapid decline—morally, socially and economically. A nation whose military force is stretched to the breaking point, with a drastically reduced capability to support its national goals, let alone play policeman to the world.

Enter the European Union, in particular the Franco-German connection.
“[T]he political class on the old continent has been upgraded to savior of the financial system …,” Spiegel wrote on October 28.

Those who have been watching developments beyond the shores of America ought to be struck by the new sense of urgency sparking the divisive EU into more affirmative action, with an unusual touch of unanimity, in preparation for this week’s summit of nations convened in Washington to discuss the global economic crisis.

Over the past month, it has been the EU leadership that has driven the agenda to establish a new system to regulate the global economy. The EU has held numerous conferences on the subject, its leaders have visited the U.S. and China and held talks also with Russian leaders to set the tone for Wednesday’s summit in Washington. Last week, EU states voted unanimously on a course of action they will present to the Washington summit, fully expecting that their lead in that forum will be respected and their recommendations accepted. The EU idea is to establish a new form of global economic governance following EU guidelines on the regulation of the global financial system. The Union is already firmly entrenched as a global leader in the regulation of business and commerce—to the extent that it has already extracted massive fines from global corporations that have infringed its onerous regulations. Thus, the precedents are set on which to further consolidate increasing control by the EU of global business.

“The EU agreed on Friday a general line to take at a Washington summit of world leaders next week, which includes initiating a period of 100 days to draw up proposals on reforming the international financial system.

“One hundred days after November 15, the date of the G-20 summit in the U.S., a new meeting is to be held to look at how much progress has been made on the goals” (, November 7).

Of the Group of 20 principal nations meeting in Washington, only the European Union, acting as a federal body with a single voice, has an articulated strategy to lay before the summit. EU President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s finance minister are laying the blame for the global economic and financial crisis squarely on America. Sarkozy, hinting at the anti-U.S. tone the EU will adopt at the summit, declared, “This is a world crisis, but we know perfectly well where it started. We will not allow nothing to be done. Europe will not accept an explanation that says nothing has happened” (ibid., emphasis mine throughout).

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