Thursday, December 28, 2017


The Atlantic has an interesting article (here) by Richard Haas,"America and the Great Abdication." Haas weaves grand history together with contemporary developments to make a very powerful point about the state of our world today. We are reminded that in the past great empires would decline in one of two ways. Either they would overextend themselves, what has often been referred to as imperial overstretch, or they would simply be passed up by stronger, newer powers.

In the case of the former think of how Rome overextended themselves, and became corrupt at home. In the case of the latter think of France and England, and the rise of the United States after World Wars I and II.

What's happening today, as the world increasingly ignores Donald Trump and the United States, cannot be attributed to imperial overstretch (yet), or the rise of a new power. In real simple terms, the United States is losing its "great power" status because the Trump administration is walking away from America's global responsibilities. Simply put, we are abdicating.

With the United States still making its interests known around the world, this is not calculated isolationism. No, the United States is not leading when it comes to maintaining alliances, building institutions, or making the rules because it can't be bothered.

There's no strategic thinking here. It's simply, "I'm taking my ball and going home."

That's right the United States is simply walking away from what it has participated in, and what it has done responsibly, for the better part of 75 years. While there are several bright global lights, the negatives outnumber the positives. The reality is the global community is starting to unravel and, as Haas puts it, becoming "a world of growing disarray" - and that's not good a thing.

In our global sea of anarchy, the United States can become swamped.

You can read Haas' discussion on the topic by clicking here.

- Mark 

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