Monday, June 3, 2013

Inside America: Is America in decline?


By Namo Abdulla - for Rudaw

Washington, D.C - After the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the United States emerged as the world’s number one superpower. Or so many thought.

American author, Francis Fukayama, wrote his most famous book, The End of History and the Last Man.

Fukuyama argued that liberal democracy, or the kind of political system that America has, may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government.”

But if the U.S. had enjoyed a decade of unchallenged supremacy in 1990s,  it would not bid farewell to the second year of the 21st century before coming under the worst attack in its modern history.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, America waged a war against a broadly defined enemy-- terror.

Iraq and Afghanistan would soon fit that category.

Over the past decade, America has spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of lives in foreign wars,but the loss was not just in life and money.

As war turned much of Iraq and Afghanistan into havoc, America also started to see it’s global popularity diminish.

Then in 2009, the "Great Recession" hit America, making the first decade of the 21st century even worse for what continues to be the world’s largest economy. Domestically, Americans started to feel severe impacts. In 2009, shortly after President Barack Obama assumed the White House as the first black president, the unemployment rate reached 10 percent, the highest in decades.

Currently, jobless Americans make up 7.5 percent of the population and since economic growth has slowed to a trickle, leaving many in the dark about America's ability to achieve full-economic recovery. All this comes at a time when its allies in Europe are suffering bigger crises.

America welcomed the second decade of the 21st century and in 2010 President Obama officially ended a long and costly war in Iraq.

But some Americans still criticize Obama’s Iraq policy.

Jay Garner, who was appointed in 2003 as Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq, following the 2003 invasion, tells Rudaw that the U.S. has “lost” the Iraq War.

“The Iranians have far more influence in the Arab Iraq than we do,” he said.

Just one year later, good news came to Americans after Obama announced the success of a strategic strike on a safe house for Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Americans took to the streets cheering as the news went global and the death of the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks was official, bringing closure to a shaky period in American history.

But in 2011, the unexpected happened. Average Arabs took to the streets to topple dictators who had been longtime allies of the United States.

Amid the world’s economic and political upheavals, China is the one country that has not only gone unscathed, but also has increasingly risen as a global superpower to challenge US supremacy.

China owns more than one trillion dollar of US debt.

Does the rise of others mean the decline of America? Has the 21st century already marked the beginning of the end of what many call US hegemony in the world?

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