Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama in Indianapolis

Today I went to Barack Obama's campaign rally in downtown Indianapolis, with my daughter and her daughter, 16 month old Katie, to whom The End of the American Century is dedicated. The rally was on the American Legion mall, which was jam-packed with tens of thousands of people--perhaps 50,000? (who can estimate these things?) Under crisp blue skies, a typical lovely Indiana autumn day, Obama stirred and inspired us all.

I have tried to keep this blog, and my book, nonpartisan, in the belief that the problems I address transcend parties, politics or particular leaders. There is no doubt that the Bush administration has made almost all our problems worse, but the domestic and international problems facing the U.S. precede Bush, and will dog his successors as well.

But it is hard to resist the appeal of Obama, and his speech today addressed both the problems we face, and the things we need to do to address them. He called for new attention and new investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development--all of which are critical to revitalizing the American economy and standard of living. Even more importantly, in my view, he spoke of the need for unity in diversity, for hope in the face of adversity, and for sacrifice in the cause of patriotism. He sees the future in our children, and in volunteerism and service. And he recognizes that some belt-tightening will be necessary, at least in the short term. These are all themes of my book, particularly in my last chapter on "America and the World After the American Century."

Katie was as cute as the button she was wearing, for Michelle Obama as First Lady. I also sported an Obama button. Writing my book was not exactly an exercise in hope, given the overwhelming number of problems I document there. And this blog has not exactly been full of cheerful news. But this afternoon, waiting for Obama amidst that huge, diverse audience, hearing the PA system booming the country-music song "I'm Alright" (Joe Dee Messina), and then seeing and hearing this smart, young, concerned, thoughtful multiracial candidate for President--even I had hope.

"It's a beautiful day not a cloud in sight so I guess I'm doin' alright."

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