William Hamilton: Will America survive the 21st century?
December 28, 2011
Ever since the advent of the Obama administration in 2009, we have witnessed the steady decline in America’s influence across the world in contrast to a rise in the influence of Iran across the Middle East, of Germany across the Euro Zone, and of Red China in the Far East and even in South America.
Ironically, Germany, the author of World War I and World War II, is now one of the world’s leading economic powers. Red China, which lives or dies by its ability to make goods cheaply and sell them to debtor nations such as the United States, will eventually have to import labor from other countries or abolish its draconian one-child-per-family policy that is producing an abundance of males and a shortage of females which, in turn, produces greater than normal aggressive tendencies in males and which usually leads to war. Mr. Obama’s response is to cut the U.S. defense budget in half.
Until we invent an affordable, reliable replacement for fossil fuels, the United States must remain involved in the affairs of oil-producing regions such as the Middle East. Alternatively, the United States could develop its own abundant fossil-fuel resources and young Americans would no longer be dying or being horribly wounded in the Middle East.
But the greatest irony of the 20th century was what happened to Great Britain. At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire reigned supreme. In World War I, the New World in the form of American troops sailed to the rescue of Europe’s Old World. To survive World War II, Great Britain had to ally herself with the dreaded, communist Soviet Union and, more naturally, with the capitalist United States.
By 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the world’s greatest superpowers. That same year, the British voters threw the conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill out of office and replaced him with the socialist Clement Atlee. Britain sank to second-class status, although Britain did experience a brief economic upturn during the Thatcher Era.
As for the Soviet Union, by 1991 the inherent flaws in the USSR’s socialist economy were no match for American capitalism backed by our brave armed forces and the determined leadership of Ronald Reagan. Those factors spelled doom for the other major victor of World War II.
With the presidential election of 2012, the United States must decide whether to continue more deeply into the socialist economic model that doomed the once-mighty Soviet Union or return to its capitalist roots. On the Left, about 40 percent have made up their minds to continue Mr. Obama’s socialist experiment. On the Right, about 40 percent have made up their minds to return to the prosperous capitalism of the Reagan Era. Thus, the economic fate of the United States will be in the hands of that perennial 20 percent, which usually remains undecided until the very end of the election cycle.
If that 20 percent freely chooses to continue along the path of socialism, then we might one day be reminded of how the late historian William Manchester described the 1965 funeral of the man who saved Great Britain from being overrun by the Nazi hoards: “Therein lay the terrible grandeur in Churchill’s funeral, a quarter century after Dunkirk. The nation was bidding farewell both to a great Englishman and to the greatness of England. When his flag-draped coffin moved slowly across the old capital, drawn by naval ratings, and bareheaded Londoners stood trembling in the cold, they mourned, not only for him and all that he had meant, but all that they had been, and no longer were, and would never be again.”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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