ZAKARIA: Finally, they are burning the barricades in France again. Can you hear the people sing? Well, surely you can hear them shout about what the French have been forced to do to actually improve their economy.
But first, here’s my take. Donald Trump’s positions on public policy have shifted over the years, months, even days, but on one issue he has been utterly consistent.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country is utterly a hellhole. We are going down fast.
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ZAKARIA: This notion of a country in decline is at the heart of Trump’s campaign and his message, which is of course to make America great again. But in fact it is increasingly clear that the United States has in recent years re-enforced its position as the world’s leading economic, technological, military and political power. The country dominates virtually all leading industries from social networks, to mobile telephony, to nano and biotechnology like never before.
It has transformed itself into an energy superpower, while also moving to the cutting edge of the green technology revolution. And it is demographically vibrant, while all its major economic peers, Japan, Europe and even China, face certain population decline.
Joshua Cooper Ramo, the author of an intelligent new book “The Seventh Sense” argues that in an age of networks, the winner often takes all. He points out that there are nine global tech platforms: Google Chrome, Facebook, Microsoft Office, et cetera, that are used by over one billion people. All dominate their respective markets and all are American.
In a pair of essays, scholars Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth point out that China is the closest the United States has to a rising rival, but only on one measure, GDP. Brooks and Wohlforth note that half of China’s exports are actually imported into China as parts assembled there and then exported out mostly for Western multinationals.
In the military and political realm, America’s dominance is even more lopsided. Take the most potent form of forced projection, aircraft carriers, the United States operates 10, China currently has one, a secondhand Ukrainian ship that it had to retrofit.
In the realm of high-tech warfare, drones, stealth, Washington’s lead is even greater. And perhaps most important, the United States has a web of allies around the world and is actually developing new ones like India and Vietnam. Meanwhile China has one military ally: North Korea.
The complexity of today’s international system is that despite this American dominance, other countries have in fact gained ground. In 1990, China’s share of global GDP was 1.7 percent; today it’s 15 percent. Developing countries as a whole have gone from about 20 percent of the global economy to 40 percent in the same period. And while GDP is not everything, it is a reflection of the realty that no single country, not even the United States can impose its will on the rest.
I tried to describe this emerging landscape in my 2008 book, the “Post-American World”, in which I wrote, “Washington still has no true rival and will not for a very long time, but it faces a growing number of constraints.”
China has large and growing influence in the world, as could be seen by its ability to create the Asian infrastructure investment bank this past year over Washington’s objections. Rising regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, assert their own interest in the Middle East, often disrupting American efforts.
[10:05:06] Even Pakistan, an ally and aid recipient, quietly defies America and Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.
The reality is that America remains the world’s leading power, but it can only achieve its objectives by defining its interests broadly, working with others and creating a network of cooperation. That alas does not fit on a campaign camp!
For more go to
and read my “Washington Post” column this week. And let’s get started.
Tabacco: When the Donald refers to America’s ‘Past Greatness’, undoubtedly he means Economic Superiority. At no time in the Past has America demonstrated Social or Moral Superiority since 1776, never mind since 1492. To reiterate that squalid History one more time would be both redundant and unnecessary.
When Donald uses the word ‘hellhole’, I must assume he refers to Racial/Ethnic/Religious Intolerance here, which he himself is exacerbating. He can’t blame others for his own rhetoric, now can he! The best way to exacerbate this ‘hellhole’ is by electing Donald President!
When a Politico such as Donald speaks in such ambiguous terms (as he always does), all listeners must do a helluva lot of ‘ass-u-me’ guesswork. QED!
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People