‘The danger for Western democracies is not death but sclerosis. The daunting challenges they face — budgetary pressures, political paralysis, demographic stress — point to slow growth rather than collapse. Muddling through the crisis will mean that these countries stay rich but slowly and steadily drift to the margins of the world.’
Zakaria has been arguing that America would no longer get to be the ‘director,’ and that we are seeing the rise of the rest, especially Asia. In the new piece above, he’s now arguing that we may become little more than bit players.
Here are some previous Zakaria articles, for those interested, as I think he is a deeper analyst with a wide ranging mind, who’s hit a slightly more liberal, mass audience, sweet spot:
Where he’s coming from, on this site: Fareed Zakaria At Foreign Policy: ‘Remembering Samuel Huntington’…
There was the plagiarism kerfuffle a while back.
If we focus in on just America, the demographics are better than Europe and Japan, but perhaps on a similar arc. We’ve seen the slow decline of institutionalized religion, traditional marriage, and a rise in delayed decisions by many women to have children. The boomer generation is retiring en masse and we’re stuck with entitlement programs in drastic need of reform, where some mix of more tax revenue (flat tax?) and less spending will be necessary.
Politically, in the meantime, under two terms of Obama’s leadership, we’re extremely polarized and subjected to an ever-growing sclerotic State. Many Americans are becoming angry at D.C. As for my dogs in the hunt, I’d humbly argue that the rise of feminism, post-modernism, environmentalism and multiculturalism have grown in influence in our culture and institutions, and incline toward Statism, and generally point Europeward. This is accelerated under progressive leadership.
Yet, we’ve also seen a steady rise and growth in the size and scope of government before Obama, stretching back for decades. Perhaps we’re at the end of the ‘greatness’ model, as technology, globalization, and other forces are pressuring us to change, where we’ve been taking our supremacy and economic prosperity for granted.
See Also On This Site: Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?: From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…Are we going soft and “European”… do we need to protect our religious idealism enshrined in the Constitution….with the social sciences?…Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People..Repost-Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?
America in Decline?: Fukuyama seems to think so, but maybe he’s still reeling from the Iraq war…From The New Perspectives Quarterly: Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Is America Ready for a Post-American World?…Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In Decline?…Richard Lieber’s not necessarily convinced: Richard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set