In the last decade, we’ve authored two wars ( plagiarized?), shaken the entire planet’s economic foundation, backed out of multiple global environmental commitments, and led with striking acumen in environmental disasters. Everyone loves to see a champion fall. In the case of the mighty US of A, it’s especially fascinating viewing.
As our superpowerdom wanes, Europe prepares to celebrate. About every country over there has been through this before; the Greeks we’re the golden age kings until they had their Gods renamed by the Romans (and credit stolen for flat pita bread covered with tomato and cheese, olive oil and oregano.)
The French finally fell to the Germans after centuries of fending off the Gauls. They were on such a role with Napoleon. That he’s remembered for a layered desert is inexplicable. But somewhere along the way, this military juggernaut became the Continents’ great capitulators: a mystery often attributed to deGaulle’s closely cropped moustache. Even on the soccer field, no one takes a dive quite like the French.
The British were betrayed by the US after raising them from infancy. Instead of a thank you, we swilled coffee over tea, turned cricket into baseball, and kept the crust on our sandwiches. With our prompting, India and Africa followed our revolt, and the once flourishing might of the United Kingdom was reduced to the power Simon Cowell had over the lowest common denominator of American prime time talent.
They’re snickering at our demise now. All of them claim they knew it wouldn’t last while we were kicking their asses. But Father time marches on, and the passing of the torch or the wrenching of it from our cold dead hands, will be no different for the next world power.
Or maybe it will.
Maybe for the first time in history, the fallen empire will have the last laugh. Not from any re-emergence to power, but simply because the next champion will be so intensely awful, so unforgiving and mercilous, the world will wish that the last asses were back in driver’s seat. It is a possibility when China’s behind the wheel.
You think things were bad when we were in charge? That we were hubristic and greedy and deaf? Take a second and think about what it will be like kowtowing in Mandarin. Or eating eel for breakfast? The Chinese can incarcerate you for viewing internet porn. They like to do that when they’re not using military force against Buddhists monks.
Sorry, was I proselytizing? No matter. We’ll be doing their laundry soon enough, if we’re lucky… Others will be laying railroad track across their western frontier, just as they did across ours. It’s a land with innumerable demands.
Europe and the rest of the world will be missing that good old American hegemony then, you can bet. The one that lied and bilked and disseminated unrelentingly bad big budget movies, many of them in 3-D.
But was it so bad?
One wonders what kind of place America will be when it’s no longer number one. Will we start drinking as much as the Russians have? Or become scrambling, wheelers and dealers like present day Italy? Maybe we’ll morph into some mixed-breed of over achieving, hyper-active, capitalistic intellectuals like you find on an ecstasy binge in present day East Berlin?
I can only guess. But those of you that have great grandchildren may see it come into fruition. Hope they like eel for breakfast, those little ones…