William Hamilton – American exceptionalism: It’s the geography, stupid
September 15, 2009
Read the traffic that moves through the left wing media such as the Daily Kos, MoveOn.org, and the George Soros-funded Netroots Nation and you come face-to-face with an element in our society that is absolutely furious that the United States is such a world power and, despite the current recession, remains the world’s wealthiest nation.
The left wing and the left-stream media would have us believe that the United States and Americans are universally despised and reviled. But anyone who has lived abroad for any time knows that is not the case. While America and Americans are often envied, that is far different from being despised and reviled.
In his book, The Next 100 Years, Dr. George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor – a private intelligence corporation – provides reasons for America’s current dominance of the world’s geo-political and economic system. Essentially, our success boils down to: location, location, location.
According to Dr. Friedman, there was a 500-year-period when whoever controlled the North Atlantic controlled global trade. During those years prior to World War II, control over the North Atlantic was contested by various European powers, notably Spain, France, and Great Britain – with Great Britain’s Royal Navy the ultimate winner.
But, after World War II, global trade across the Pacific Ocean became equal to global trade across the North Atlantic. With the colonial powers of the Old Europe totally spent by two World Wars, only one major nation had direct access to both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. It also had the natural resources to dominate global trade across those two oceans. By 1980 (the start of the Reagan Era), the geography of trade had shifted to the point that the United States became the center of gravity of world trade. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the world’s only superpower.
According to the Family Care Foundation, if all the people on our planet were compacted into a village of just 100 people, then the village would consist of: 60 Asians, 14 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 Latin Americans, 5 from the USA and Canada, and 1 from the South Pacific. The hate-American-crowd is upset because 5 of those villagers – all Americans – are in control of 32 percent of the world’s wealth. Other sources place that figure at 50 percent. Yet how is it America’s fault that other nations have chosen less successful political and economic systems?
Is it our fault that for the last 233 years, the United States enjoyed the political freedom to engage in free-market capitalism while other nations have failed or are failing because of their adoption of unworkable economic systems such as socialism and/or the socialism’s evil twin: fascism?
Based on what one reads on the left wing Web pages and liberal periodicals, the hate-America-crowd dismisses geographic, demographic and economic factors as the basis for America’s success. They would rather believe that America’s success is because of secret meetings held between Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter.
Seriously, what the left wing takes exception to is the fact that the United States is an exceptional nation. Academics even call it: American Exceptionalism. For example, one of the factors that makes America exceptional is our ability to control the seas and keep them open for peaceful world trade. Because our aircraft carrier task forces also allow the United States to project force inland in aid of struggling democracies and, sometimes, to stabilize some less-than-democratic oil-producing dictatorships, the Left wants them either scrapped or mothballed.
There is, however, a way out for the hate-America-crowd. They would be welcome in a number of other nations. Unfortunately, many of the countries that would welcome them with open arms are listed on the annual Freedom House survey as “not free.” But they could give living there a shot. Nah. They might find something to complain about and be shot.
– William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
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