In his 2011 State of the Union (SOTU) address, US President Barack Obama hinted at the perilous decline of the US Empire. Obama’s “Winning the Future” pitch addresses the current alarming decline of the US.
To appreciate the decline of the US Empire, it will be good to read Alfred W. McCoy’s December 5, 2011 article – The decline and fall of the American Empire. In early 1983 during the Snap Election campaign, it was Alfred McCoy who exposed the fake World War II medals of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
McCoy wrote: “A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.”
He added: “Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.”
The NIC (National Intelligence Council) 2025 Global Trends Report which was featured in your Chair Wrecker’s November 30, 2008 column (“US intel report sees the end of US domination in a new world”) had outlined what McCoy asserted.
In his SOTU, Obama said: “At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.” Obama’s focus may be the economy but US imperial capability rises or falls with the US economy.
He added: “The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.”
Obama cited the emerging economic Titans: “Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.”
Obama identified the imperatives for the US if they are to win the future. He said: “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future.”
It’s to be expected that Obama will confine his SOTU to what are normal official US business. US actions pertaining to detested methods that they occasionally apply in promoting their national interests are conveniently avoided in a SOTU.
Two major problems needing immediate solutions are confronting the US, as follows:
1. How to prevent China from overtaking the US militarily and economically.
2. How to secure the US sources of energy in the light of a world fast running low of fossil fuel and the current turmoil in the Middle East.
On both major problems, the Philippines will play a vital role for the US. That’s the reason why the US has this unusual interest to sponsor a virtual Islamic State in Mindanao — why so much USAID resources are being poured in Mindanao. A US military capability in a strategic location like Mindanao facilitates solutions to the China and energy source problems.
A US military capability in Mindanao gives them access to the big oil field in the South China Sea, estimated by the Oil and Gas Journal to equal the second biggest oil reserve in the world. In the event of conflict with China, the US can assume an offensive posture from Mindanao — something that they cannot do from their other bases in the Pacific.
We cannot avoid being placed in the middle of this looming US–China conflict. Neutrality is only possible if we are a strong nation like Vietnam with the capability to stand up to powerful foreign bullies. We cannot even unite even when we have a good leader. United behind the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam defeated France and the US.
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