If You Read Only One Article Today,
We Would Humbly Suggest This One
For at least 20 years, since analysts nervously predicted the imminent eclipse of America's world dominance by the juggernaut that was then Japan, we've been treated to a series of learned books and articles about how America's global dominance would soon come to an end. But I can't recall a better, more nuanced exploration of this subject, ever, than this wonderful piece by Fareed Zakaria, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. Excerpted from his soon-to-be published book, it brilliantly explores the pluses and minuses of America's chances of remaining the world's pre-eminent power in coming decades.
I think he makes a persuasive case that America's steady flow of immigrants and continuing pre-eminence in higher education and such foundational sectors as nanotechnology and biotechnology suggest that the country can maintain its global edge for decades. But he does rightly worry about how our "dysfunctional politics" keeps us from making relatively modest course corrections. "As it enters the twenty-first century, the United States is not fundamentally a weak economy or a decadent society. But it has developed a highly dysfunctional politics. What was an antiquated and overly rigid political system to begin with (now about 225 years old) has been captured by money, special interests, a sensationalist media, and ideological attack groups. The result is ceaseless, virulent debate about trivia -- politics as theater -- and very little substance, compromise, or action. A can-do country is now saddled with a do-nothing political process, designed for partisan battle rather than problem solving."
In any case, I look forward to your thoughts.