Saturday, March 27, 2010

America had a Good Run

The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

–Mark Twain, Concerning The Jews

Yes, that may have happened to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans and even more recently to the British Empire – but that will never happen to America! That is the conventional wisdom of most Americans.

Well here’s some food for thought. Could it be that the recently passed health care bill demonstrates the US empire is declining? David Murrin, the co-founder of the Emergent Asset Management hedge fund manager, argued exactly that on CNBC this week. He explained that this bill illustrates the fact that people expect the state to take care of them.

That’s the opposite of what happens when empires are expanding. Then, they force people to take risks and to go out and fend for themselves, Murry noted, pointing directly to the decline of the British empire after the war, when the National Health Service was introduced, which was similar enough in terms of service for all citizens as the current US Healthcare law.

“This (empire decline) is actually a dead-set course that societies get into and it will happen very quickly I’m afraid,” he told “Squawk Box Europe.”

“…and that’s really the end of a Western Christian Empire.” He elaborated, “it’s bigger than the British Empire, the American Empire. It’s the sum of all the Christian Empires for nearly 900 years. And America is the last one. And when the last one changes and declines, which it’s in and it’ll be very rapid – it’s the end of the whole system.”

He also said that while some view the new American administration as new hope, “unfortunately if you look at historical precedence of underclass and the mechanism of an underclass actually becoming to the fore demographically it is not new hope. It’s the beginning of the end. And we’re seeing that very quickly take place.”

He claims, for a variety of well reasoned arguments that China’s rise to become the first power of the soon to be “Eastern Empire” will happen faster than anyone anticipates. But that is beyond the scope of this post.

To be clear, America is not about to disappear tomorrow. Just like Britain didn’t when its Empire came crashing down. But at the same time in terms of dominance over world events it is likely to become more and more irrelevant. This will be a very frustrating position for Americans to accept even though it is becoming more and more evident to the world that the United States no longer enjoys the super-influence it once did and that countries like Israel won’t be able to be pushed around by America as easily as was done in the past. The excuse that Jews need to live in America to influence favorable foreign policy toward Israel is also losing all credibility (even though it was never a valid argument).

At the same time, while not a rising Empire, Israel certainly is an expanding country. Israelis certainly are risk takers, universal healthcare aside (which the country was essentially born with). Jews should also realize, that America is no different from past glorious empires. It is not permanent – certainly not as a home for the Jews. The Eternal Jewish Homeland is in the Land of Israel. Jerusalem, was, millennium before Brooklyn was conceived, is, even while Brooklyn is at its peak, and always will be, long after Brooklyn is forgotten, the capital of the Jewish people.

Crossposted on Kumah

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