America is Fated to Lead

 

Here's a piece from one of my favorite public intellectuals, Robert Kaplan, writing in the National Interest.  The title of the article, America is Fated to Lead, is deceptive (and perhaps sarcastic).  The piece is philosophical, nuanced, introspective, and full of doubt, expressed through hypotheticals, counter-factuals, and what-ifs.

How many times in human history have confident politicians declared that a new age was upon us?  Liberal Internationlism.  Isolationism.  The final phase of human history: Communism.  Pax Americana.  Japan's State-Driven Capitalism.  The End of History: Liberal Democracy.  The New World Order: Liberal Interventionalism.  Pax Sinica.  A slogan for each generation, each dying at an accelerated rate.  If one is not filled with doubt about what the future holds, one should return to the coma from which one has pretended to wake.

Economic Experimentation

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that Brad DeLong and his fellow traveler Paul Krugman didn’t send me into a rage with their inane and insane proposals. But it’s still worthwhile to mention this article, because it represents all of the incompetence that has held the United States back, and merely adds one more obstacle to overcome (the unstoppable left-wing urge to intervene and meddle) on the road to recovery. One of the best and most depressing books I read in recent years was Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man. Unlike DeLong’s broken study of the Great Depression, Shlaes’ research shows how FDR’s unpredictable and constant meddling with the economy inexorably crushed the recovery and extended the Great Depression. How many times must it be said? Businesses require stability! Stop the madness! </rant off>