Symposium 2012: Has America lost its role as a superpower?

RMC3: If we’re not a superpower then who is? Russia? China? France? Germany? We’re the only game in town. We’re it. We are the world’s superpower. We have been for a long time and I hope we will be for a long time to come but I’m not too sure about that. We have the world’s most sophisticated military. We found Saddam Hussein in a spider hole in the middle of Iraq. It took us a while, but we finally got the man believed to be Osama bin Laden. We have the best military might in the world, no doubt about that in my mind.

Yes, the Chinese have a big military with a lot of people, but they’re not an aggressor nation. They stay to themselves and mind their own business. And honestly, they may be smart, but we’re a few steps ahead of them when it comes to military technology.

And here’s another fact: there is not one nation on the face of the planet that wants the might of the U.S. military coming down on them. So when it comes to military strength, there’s no match anywhere else in the world. Realistically, if we wanted to march into Mexico and take over or take over Canada with our military, no one is going to stop us. If we wanted to march into Saudi Arabia and take over the country, no one is going to stop us. Oh, they might get all ticked off and bang their fists on the table at the United Nations, but that’s about all they’re going to do.

Despite our current soft economy, I still think we’re the world’s superpower economically. Despite everything that has happened in the economy and the massive amounts of money that have been printed by the Fed, everyone still wants the dollar. No one has abandoned the dollar in favor of the euro or the peso or the yuan renminbi or the rupee. No one sees those currencies as stores of value. No, everyone still wants the almighty dollar. And everyone outside the U.S. still wants to come to this land of opportunity. We still have a remarkably vibrant economy. We may not be growing at the levels we grew at back in the 1990s or early 2000s, but we’re still a lot better of as a whole than most other places in the world. Yes, China is doing great economically, but only because of the U.S. buying power. If we stop buying Chinese goods, there’s no one to pick up that slack—the Europeans can’t do it, the Russian’s can’t do it. If we stop buying from China, their factories shut down and their economy tanks. So, they’re doing really well but it’s all thanks to the United States.

Now, having said that, I am concerned at the direction we’re moving as a nation and how that could impact us down the road. If we continue moving towards the social progressive policies of much of Europe, we’re going to go down economically. We’re close to a tipping point economically with our national debt, massive budget deficits, huge black holes known as entitlements, and the on-going printing of money by the Fed. All these things will eventually cripple us economically. And when we go down, we’re going to take a lot of people with us, and there will be no one to pick up the slack at that point. Where’s the money going to go? The euro? The pound? Maybe, I don’t know. If there’s a massive capital flight from the United States and a redenomination from dollars to another currency, we could well lose our role as an economic superpower.

But practically, we are the world’s superpower and probably will be for a long time.

Cartwright: We haven’t been the world’s superpower for a long time. Sorry to burst your bubble, my friend. We’ve got a great military, but they’re tired of fighting two wars over the last decade. And we’re going to see some massive cuts in the military during a second Obama term, whether we get a deal on the fiscal cliff and avoid the spending cuts under sequester or not.

Obama and his liberal friends don’t believe in a strong military. They see that as a bad thing. They think if we scale back our military we won’t be as threatening on the world stage and these other countries will like us. Unfortunately, that’s a fallacy. These other countries are going to hate us whether we have a big military or not. But here’s one truth, if we appear weak, these other countries won’t respect us. They won’t fear us and they won’t respect us. If they’re afraid of us and our military, they’ll respect us. But look, the military isn’t the only issue. These other countries need to fear and respect our leaders. When Obama went on his apology tour when he got in office, it made him and consequently the U.S. look weak, and other countries lost respect for us. So, in this regard, we’re not a superpower.

And I don’t buy the assertion that we’re the world’s economic superpower being espoused by my patriotic friend here. Let me say that I admire his patriotism. I don’t know of many people who love this country as much as he does and who believe inherently in this country as much as he does. I know that what’s happening in this country now and what’s happened of late has really torn him apart and challenged his belief in this country, but I also know that despite everything he still believes in America and that America is the only game in town. I hope that ultimately he’s right about the resilience of the American economy, but I don’t think we’re the world’s economic superpower anymore.

We’re being financially crippled more and more each day that passes. We have an unsustainable federal debt that is going to increase even more in a second Obama administration. We have unsustainable budget deficits that will bankrupt us. We have trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare, and nothing is being done about any of these issues. The Federal Reserve has printed trillions of dollars that will ultimately lead to hyperinflation and higher interest rates.

Our economy is stagnant right now. We’re going no where fast. We’re sort of muddling along…just like Europe. Obama wanted us to be more like Europe, and he got us there with his deliberately destructive socialist progressive policies that the liberal Democrats have all seemed to embrace. He’s saddled the economy with a massive takeover of our healthcare system that will result in a host of new taxes for businesses and individuals in 2013 and beyond, and no one really knows about this and no one is talking about it and no one seems to care about the impact Obamacare is going to have on the economy. But one thing is for sure, Obamacare is going to have a giant sucking sound on the economy, and that’s only going to put us further and further in the tank.

There are a whole host of places that are growing and performing better than the United States right now and that have been doing better than us for the last few years. Did you know that we rank about 160 in terms of GDP growth compared to other countries? That means that there are about 160 other countries whose economies grew at a faster rate than the United States last year. Pretty sad, isn’t it? And we’re the world’s superpower economically? Hard to believe given that statistic. We don’t have to be at the top of the list every year, but 160?

Our best days are well behind us. With all of our political and economic problems, how can we be the world’s superpower? We’re being eclipsed each day by other countries, such as China. The administration is making it harder and harder each day to do business here in America, but guess what, it’s real easy to do business in China. We’re becoming less competitive as a nation, and China is becoming more competitive. They’re producing products of higher quality at a lower price than we can here in the U.S.. We’re falling behind in terms of a well-educated and productive workforce; our labor force is becoming lazier and lazier, working less and less, and getting dumber and dumber. Hell, the majority of our people want to sit at home and play video games and have a government check sent to them or a check from mommy and daddy. We’re not keeping up with the rest of the world in productivity, work ethics, or education and we still think we’re the world’s superpower?

No, my friends, we’re done as a superpower. We’re losing our influence in the world each and every day. We’re losing respect from other nations but more importantly we’re losing our self-respect.
Sydney: Many people seem to interpret this question through the prism of China’s growth and its growing superpower status. These people seem to think that once China becomes a superpower then America will automatically lose its superpower status. This is rubbish. The world is big enough for two superpowers–it has had two in the past. So China’s rise does not automatically mean that America will no longer be a superpower. The main threat to America’s status as a superpower is economic. The budget is mired in debt and cuts need to be made. It is unlikely that the defense budget will be reduced in a large way beyond the inevitable expenses that will be avoided now that American troops are leaving Afghanistan. Since it seems that the economy is unlikely to recover in the near future the government will need to be smarter about how it deploys its military forces. Any potential military engagement will need to be carefully evaluated. All Americans would agree that another Iraq or Afghanistan is the last thing the country needs. For the time being America may not be as invincible as it has been for many years but this is not likely to be the case forever. The way the government reacts to China’s rise will be important. The two superpowers will quickly need to establish a relationship of mutual respect.
Michigan: Yes. It is the worldwide consensus that the U.S. is not the world superpower. China now leads the world in manufacturing and holds more U.S. debt than the citizens and corporations of the U.S.. The U.S. GDP has averaged 2.67% since 1980 while China has posted 10.02% during the same period. At this rate China will be the world’s largest economy within 10 years. China is now the world’s largest energy consumer and the leading investor in renewable energy. Two of the world’s most valuable companies are in China and two more right on the edge of the top ten.

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