America must reform herself first before attempting to reform the world

By

Mohsen El-Guindy

In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America. His adventure to discover America was originally religious. He wanted to sail east by traveling west in order to discover a new passage to India, but he found himself in America. And as he said, “The discovery of America was the end of a great pilgrimage and the end of a great spiritual search.” The Spanish Catholic attempt to discover America followed by the French to settle down there had pushed British Protestants to occupy America. Upon the coming of the first British Protestant settlers to the coast of New England, they considered America as the new Holy Land or New Jerusalem to which they escaped searching for civil and religious freedom. America became then the refuge for the persecuted seeking religious and civil freedom. The first settlers considered their new home as the greatest blessing God had ever given to the world, because acquiring religious and civil freedom, possessing private property, as well as sharing in public authority will put American Jerusalem up above all other nations.

In 1854, John Sullivan formed the idea of “Clear Destination” meaning that God had decreed that America will lead the world to freedom, and the future would be that of American greatness. This thought urged the first settlers to open the American continent, so they moved from the East Cost to invade the Middle West then the Far West. They finished opening the American continent with the end of the 19th century. The theory of “Clear Destination” justified the extermination of the Red Indians, and the enslaving of black people, as well as joining Florida, Texas, New Mexico, California, Alaska, Hawaii and Louisiana. With the beginning of the 20th century, America, “The New Holy Land” will convert into a “Crusade Nation”, her message is to spread freedom to all over the world, or as what had been revealed later as “Americanization of the world.”

Mitt Romney the republican candidate for presidency announced that,” God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will. Without American leadership, without clarity of American purpose and resolve, the world becomes a far more dangerous place, and liberty and prosperity would surely be among the first casualties.”

Mitt Romney is repeating John Sullivan’s idea of “Clear Destination” – the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world.Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was “some divine plan” that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, “Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.” Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, “We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.” The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck’s alleged quip that “God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States.”

As Stephen Walt put it, “Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.”

America had started with an idea then, and continued with an idea. The idea was freedom, which was the base of the declaration of independence, American constitution and prospectus of rights. In the declaration of independence the text was, “All men were created equal, and God has given them untouchable certain rights such as freedom, life, seeking happiness…” When Thomas Jefferson noticed that the text of the constitution did not include guarantees for principal freedoms, the first amendment he made was to separate between the state and the church. This was the first amendment made to the constitution in 1801.

After the civil war Lincoln went to another war until the Congress accepted to amend the constitution in order to grant freedom to black people.

In 1917 President Wilson declared the joining of America in World War I, and after the war he declared his 14 points indicating international freedom.

After World War II President Roosevelt presented the principles of the free world; freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from poverty and fear.

After several years President Kennedy raised the Motto that the Americans are the protectors of freedom’s strongholds in the world.

President Johnson talked about the great society and issued the law of civil rights thus confronting discrimination against black people. Then came Carter and Clinton to announce that the message of America was to protect human rights and freedom in the world.

Freedom is therefore the core of the American culture and a great value in the American experience. Economic freedom that sanctifies private property, and allows equal chances for all citizens to acquire wealth. Political freedom that puts the individual above party. Religious freedom based on individual experience and not on the existence of a church or a state’s doctrine.

It is said that the most exultant gift America had given to the rest of mankind was the genius rule order. American democracy allows people and different parties to express their views freely without slipping into anarchy or tyranny of a minority. This is done through separation between authorities, and by applying the principle of control and balance between executive, legislative and judicial authorities, in addition to the independence of local authorities from federal authorities and the separation of the church from the state.

Freedom in its simplicity and revolutionary is the American dream. So America is an idea more than being a place – an idea that attracted the most different men in the world. This is why America is not a national state as countries are in Europe. If America were an ethnic country as was the case with European countries, she wouldn’t have provided for millions of immigrants a complete political and social sharing. Because America is an idea, it became the state of the world and the melting pot in which different roots, religions and languages had molded. The rise or descend of America is the rise or descend of the American idea, the American dream. The rise of this idea is represented by the genius rule order, and the decline of the American dream is a reflection of the contradictions between the dream and politics. Politics had excluded black Americans from freedom and just life as seen in poverty and crime in big cities. Parties of interests and influential forces usually monopolize politics. In this manner the American dream became threatened by the contradictions between wealth and poverty, white and black, money and power, equity and the control exerted by parties of interests.

As it seems, discrimination was still a problem in the U.S. but the law guarantees the sanctity of each man’s rights. Man in America could be exposed to discrimination and human degradation because of his color, religion, sex, but the law equalizes between all people in a similar manner.

The chemistry that links the Americans together is democracy. Civil sharing is the greatest teacher uniting Americans coming from different roots. The immigrants became Americans by practicing political rights and civil duties cited in the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of the Constitution. They share in common social equality based on ideal thoughts about dignity, equality, freedom, justice, and equitable chances. These thoughts representing the American creed are taught in schools and churches and are established through court judgments.

During World War II President Roosevelt said, “Americanism has nothing to do with root or origin, it is related to the heart and mind. The American is the one who is loyal to America and believes in liberty and democracy.”

The characters of the frontiers distinguished the American personality by pioneering, exploring, and self-independence. Thus the American became very pragmatic, dealing with life practically and not theoretically. The successful politician is the one who presents practical thoughts and applies them. So pragmatism here is associated with interests, the American here is only interested in what threatens or promote his interests. He befriends those who have common interest with him even if they disagree with him ethically and morally (1).

In the mid 1990s 14.2% of the Americans (32 millions) lived under poverty line. The richer category was getting richer and the poorer category was getting poorer. During the last two decades the income of the richer category (10% of the population) increase by 18% while it decreased by11% for the poorer category (10% of the population). In addition to that, 35 million Americans lived without health insurance. In the 1990s the more richer category (1% of the population) that includes only 932,000 families was found to possess more wealth than that of the rest of the population altogether (90% of the population).

In his book, “The Endangered American Dream” Lutwark indicated that 15 million Americans lived in social circumstances similar to those of the third world. In addition to that, 28 million Americans were descending to the same degrading circumstances.  Contrary to that the 1% category representing rich families owned 1,25 trillion dollars in the form of real estates, 1,12 trillion dollars in stocks, 221,9 billion dollars in assurance boxes, 524,6 billion dollars in bank accounts totaling 3.1 trillion dollars. The profit coming from the capital owned by these families represented 50% of their yearly income, which corresponded to5.3 billion-dollars/year (2).

The American dream was thus threatened, and this parasitic pick might change it into a nightmare. The society however managed to live with this dramatic shortage in income distribution on the hope that the economy will improve in the future. Nonetheless, the recent years had witnessed the appearance of a selfish new pick of managers and people from other professions who work only for themselves by increasing their share from national wealth without contributing to society welfare. The individuals in this class turned away from public life. Some of them even think that they are not Americans, and linked themselves to a high business culture and pleasure. They isolated themselves from the American actual life.

In truth, the idea of “melting pot” had governed the American directions during the 19th century and until the mid of the 20th century. The aim of the melting process was to Americanize. In other words, to make the Anglo American culture dominates over all other immigrated cultures, i.e. to reject cultural numerousness and establishes one general culture. If this Americanization lasted during the 19th century and persisted until mid twenties, this situation was now changing. “The melting pot” had changed into a “boiling pot”.

America now, more than any other time in the past joins a wide variety of racial cultural groups of people. The white people represent 75% of the population; the Afro-Americans represent 13%, the Hispanics 9%, the Asian 3%. In 1900 the white people from European origin represented 90% of the population. Now they became only 75%. Furthermore, in 186 American counties black, Hispanics, and Asian people represent 50% of the American population. The non-white birthrate, coupled with massive immigration and racial intermarriage, will reduce the founding people of America into a minority. It is expected that by the year 2090 white people from European origin will be a minority in America.

During mid 1980s and until mid 1990s the population of Asian American reached 108%, Hispanics 53%, black Americans 13%. The corresponding growth of white people was only 6%.

Most of the largest cities in America now have non-white mayors, councils and judges. Many parts of the southwest and sections of American cities more closely resemble Mexico than Anglo America. This fact is clearly shown in Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, El Paso, Houston, Miami, Midland-Odessa, Las Cruces, or Albuquerque.

Non-White majorities are now found in many states, like California and Texas.

During the period 1960-1990 the rate of population growth reached 41% but violent crimes increased during the same period by 560%, children suicide by 200%, divorce by 200%, bastard children by 400%, children living without mother or father by 300%. Social spending however increased by 630%, and education spending by 225% during the same period.

The crime curve reached its peak in 1991 showing a total of 14,872, 900 crimes. Among these were 1,911,770 violent crimes; 12,961,100 property crimes; 24,700 murder crimes (3).

Statistics also showed that America witnesses every year more than 100,000 rape cases. A study undertaken in 1993 by South Carolina University revealed that 12.1 million adult women were expected to be raped. Rape was found to be not only directed to women, but also to children of either sex. Statistics also showed that eight out of ten students were exposed to sex abuse (4).

Victim advocates and military health leaders say that sexual assault remains a pervasive problem for women serving in all branches of the military, including those deployed overseas. A new assessment of risk factors for sexual assault in the military says that 28% of female veterans reported sexual assault during their careers. In 1996, the Defense Department surveyed women in the military about their experiences in the previous months, and found that 9 percent of women in the marines, 8 percent of women in the Army, 6 percent of women in the Navy and 4 percent of women in the Air Force had experienced a rape or an attempted rape that year. About 200,000 women serve in the military, so these numbers represent more than 10,000 sexual assaults or attempted assaults each year.

It was natural that the spreading of crime would lead to increase in number of prisoners. In 1994 the number of prisoners reached more than one million. This number further escalated in 1995. The number of prisoners was far less than the number of crimes committed each year. For example, in 1992 the number of crimes amounted to 10.3 million, the number of those convicted in these crimes was only 165,000, whereas the number of prisoners for those crimes did not exceed 100,000.

There is another cause for the increase of crime that is the spreading of weapons. The American society is armed to the teeth. The 265 million Americans own 200 million pieces of weapon. This number increases by 3 million pieces annually. Behind the spreading of weapons in the United States stands a huge industry investing 9 billion dollars annually. A strong lobby supports this industry and is considered one of the biggest groups influencing the American political system. The National Union for Weapon Carriers had been established in 1871 as a consequence of the second amendment of the constitution which stated that the existence of well organized militia is indispensable for the security of any free state, and it is not allowed to oppose the right of people to possess or carry weapons.

The members of the union do not admit that carrying weapons and crime are correlated. They see that men fighting with their own weapons were the ones who won the war for independence. They also see that weapons do not kill man but man is the one who kills his brother.

In the past years, thousands of Americans joined the militia opposing the law released by the Congress in 1994 to prohibit the carrying of 13 kinds of attacking weapons. The militia spread over 30 states, and considered themselves the descendants of the frontiers who fought the independence war, and that their duty is to defend their gun rights and to face federal authority which is trying to violate human rights of the American states.

When the federal forces attacked the residence of David Korish’s followers in Waco, Texas in 1993 and killed the leader of the religious party and 80 of his followers, the militia considered this attack as the ugliest model for intrusion by the federal authority. In the remembrance of Waco attack, Timothy Mackafy destroyed the federal building of Oklahoma in 1995 and killed 200 federal employees and innocent citizens. Mackafy said, “I encourage people to carry weapons. The federal government is acting for an evil end aiming at destroying the freedom of the American citizen.”

The Michigan militia which destroyed Oklahoma building was described by terrorism, new Nazis, and claiming superiority of the white race. Texas militia believes that it might serve with the American army to restore or liberate the United States. As for Montana militia, it believes that white Christians are the only perfect citizens.

The correlation between crimes spread of weapons and militia leads to the conclusion that violence is a structural component in the fabric of the American culture since its early establishment. This is exemplified by the annihilation of the Red Indians and violence against black people. Violence that had been firmly rooted in the constitution, and widely circulated by Hollywood and television, a fact that led to unemployment, poverty and racism.

In the 1960s the international American role faced a debate between the different parties. The problem of the national goal was raised in the media during the election campaigns of Kennedy and Nixon. Nixon explained that the issue of the national goal emerged because America didn’t fight enough against communism that was threatening the free world. The truth was that the rise of the Soviet Union as an economic power was behind the debate around the role of the American national goal. Similarly, America was subjected to economic competition from Japan that had already devoured the markets of South East Asia and was also looking forward to compete in the American market. With Kennedy ruling over the United States, the national goal was determined as the enhancement of economic growth in order to protect the leading role of the United States in the global market. In addition to this, the national goal extended to build the American nuclear power to face any hostile force. In fact there was no difference between Kennedy and Nixon except that the latter concentrated on military confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Kennedy considered that restoring the international political and military role of America depended upon the growth of the economy as well as achieving a surplus in the balance of payment. This however went to the direction of what Nixon wanted i.e. military escalation. It could even be said that military escalation already started before Kennedy came to power. Roosevelt in his farewell speech warned from the danger of escalation of military expenditures on the expense of economic growth. In Kennedy’s time 3.5 million Americans were already working in the military American foundation.

The expansion in military power in the 1960s caused a crack in the American society and weakened public consensus. The split was to the benefit of the New Left, which opposed American world existence. Although the New Left was not Marxist or pro-Soviet Union, it rejected the international American role and the military foundation protecting it. It also rejected any expansion in trade or investment outside America, and opposed the use of force through military allies or bases or atomic weapons. The New Left included youth believing that America cannot be a democratic nation and an empire at the same time. A great split occurred however in the New Left when the movement of civil rights appeared under the leadership of the priest Martin Luther King who considered the struggle against racism a part of international development. Luther believed that the persistence of black Americans to get their freedom was part of the struggle of all people around the world to get their freedom too, and that America the richer, the more powerful cannot lead the world to freedom while she was practicing racism and bigotry.

So as soon as America rose to the top in the 1960s and wanted to perform her international role, she faced a social crisis that hampered her movement.

But how America declined as a global power?

In 1964 President Johnson announced that America was more powerful than before but he didn’t refer this power to economical growth or to the integrity of the American personality. He rather meant superiority in military force and nuclear power.

In 1970 President Nixon announced that America was the richer and the stronger in world history and Henry Kissinger said that America was the greatest materialistic power in the whole world. But after the passage of less than a year in August 1971, Nixon declared that there were dangerous problems facing the American nation. These were: unemployment, reduction in the output of certain industries, escalation of inflation leading to increase of costs of living, withdrawal of the dollar before other foreign currencies, and the dangerous deficit in the balance of payment with nations abroad.

The Vietnamese war was the sign of America’s decline as a global power. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson led America to war in Vietnam aiming at protecting the unity of the American nation against communism. During 1960-1963 Kennedy increased the number of American troops in Vietnam to reach 17,000 and in 1965 America bombarded North Vietnam and the number of troops increased to 75,000 to reach 510,000 in 1968.

It is strange to say that America entered the Vietnamese war with a general American consensus that America, as the leader of the free world could not allow communism to rule over a part of the world. But what really happened was that the Vietnamese war extended to hit the American society itself, and the general American consensus was subjected to more hits. Bombarding North Vietnam carried the meaning of the old European imperialism. The radical opposition to the Vietnamese war became active. In mid1960s Alan Gensberg wrote his book “The Fall of America”, and the Hippies became a social power against war. They escaped to no violence, drugs and sex. They mocked their leaders and took for themselves other leaders like Givara, Castro and Mao. Martin Luther King opposed war in Vietnam and said sarcastically that black Americans were summoned to fight a war 8,000 miles away from America in order to achieve freedom in South East Asia while they didn’t get their own freedom in South East Georgia and east of Harlem. Martin Luther called for no violence to settle peace. The New Left united with the Hippies and civil women movements, and in October 1965, 50,000 demonstrators marched to the Pentagon.

But why all this rejection happened in America?

The American military force enlarged tremendously during the Vietnamese war with military expenditure reaching 10% of the total domestic product. This was tremendously reflected on the American citizens. Ten million Americans suffered from hunger during the years 1968-1969, and 40.7% of adult men were not healthy qualified for military service, and 30 million Americans worked in sectors not contributing to the economy.

With the end of World War II the U.S. was producing 50% of the world production. In 1971 this percentage decreased to 30%. During the 1970s the U.S. consumed energy more than Japan, England, and Germany and Russia altogether. She also consumed 57% of the world’s oil, 42% of silver and 35% of aluminum. America was consuming more than producing, a matter that threatened her self-sufficiency. America depended upon other countries for supply with oil, tin, cobalt, platinum and diamond.

The American personality that was characterized by hard work, belonging, high skills, commitment to high quality products, was faced by high competition from the Japanese personality. The report of the Committee of National Education showed that the American nation was in danger with regard to trade, industry, science and technology. The report emphasized the fact that there were 23 million illiterate Americans.

After World War II the United States of America achieved a huge economical success; enormous surplus in balance of trade, gold storage surpassing that of the whole world, and the dollar became a reference for all other currencies.

In 1971 America faced for the first time since 1893 a deficit in the balance of trade. The danger here was not only in the deterioration of the dollar value, but also in the deterioration of the competition capability against other industrial countries. In 1971 American exports valued 42 billion and 770 million dollars against 45.5 billion dollars imports. As a result of this deficit, President Nixon announced the prohibition of converting the dollar into gold.

During the 1970s the dollar continued to decline in value, and further declined during the 1980s a matter that made America unable to face defense expenditures and costs of international aids and donations.

With the expansion of America as a global power, embarking in the Korean War, Vietnamese war, Atlantic alliance and military aids, America had to liquefy her assets and inclined to borrowings. This was combined with decline in competitiveness as shown by deterioration of raw materials, technology and capital. In addition to this was the misuse of resources, increase of consumption, reduction in savings, and decline in quality of production. After being the biggest creditor in the world, in 1985 America became for the first time since 1914 a debtor, then during the succeeding years she became the biggest debtor in history.

All these factors of decline coincided with the appearance of other global powers, and as President Nixon said, “America and the Soviet Union are not the only super powers in the world now for there are already five centers for global economical power; America, Western Europe, Japan, Russia and China.”

Several problems appeared after the Vietnamese war that contributed to the decline of the American power. This was expressed in the political effects resulting from military defeat and stagnation of the economy that led to reduction in rate of growth and increase in rate of unemployment. Moreover, a disruption occurred in the general creed of the nation for the dreams of President Johnson had sunk in the sands of the Vietnamese war, and his successor Nixon lost control after the scandal of Watergate, then came Ford followed by Carter to inherit a weak presidency during which America hesitated to exercise a global role. Then came Reagan in 1980 attempting to gather the general consensus to support the global role of America, but the Americans abandoned Reagan’s foreign policy after the killing of the Marines in Lebanon and the scandal of Iran-Contra.

During the 1980s America withdrew from financing the international organizations she shared in their foundation after World War II, and became debtor to the United Nations and UNESCO. America even threatened to withdraw her recognition of the court for International Justice, and Reagan further announced that the United Nations was free to move from New York to any other country.

During the war “Desert Storm” for liberating Kuwait in 1991, the United States asked for the first time since the revolution military aids from other countries in order to launch war against Iraq.

It is evident therefore that the trend of events went contrary to what Roosevelt had announced before that America’s global, economical, cultural and democratic power should offer economical and political support to all friendly countries. Roosevelt believed that America, as a world power must benefit the ordinary American in America and the world. He even thought that it was possible to live in peace with the Soviet Union. But history went into another direction, the direction of Truman and John Foster Dallas who made America a military power confronting the Soviet Union, warring in Korea and Vietnam, and surrounding the world with military alliances.

The expansion in military power had caused the moral and economical decline of America.

The question now arises, would the 21st century be like its former an American century?

America at the end of the 20th century, with her people, economy, cities and way of life, was an unmatched huge human achievement. America had changed the wilderness into huge cities and skyscrapers. America had set up a simple pragmatic way of life that attracted hundreds of millions of human beings. This great achievement was attained by hard work, sacrifice and believing in the message of humanity – an achievement that also passed through tragedies and human failures.

The pragmatic capability of the Americans to solve all problems, their belief that nothing in the world was above the ability of man, and that man was sacred, and was the shadow of God on earth, had enabled them to establish a great nation. The American miracle is not due to surplus only, but also due to the thoughts and values that characterized the American personality.

Liberty represents a great value in the American culture. A value taken from the forefathers, the frontiers that moved from the eastern coast to invade the whole West then came their grandsons to Americanize the world under the perception “God had decreed that America leads the world to liberty.”

Individual liberty is the core of the American culture. This is expressed in economic freedom sanctifying individual ownership – political liberty raising the individual above party. Religious liberty based on individual experience free from the influence of church or state. These principles made America a global political and economical power.

If the 18th century was a French century and the 19th century was a British century, the 20th century was certainly an American century. After World War II America produced 50% of the industrial production of the globe, and became the biggest creditor of the world. The American investment abroad was 19 billion dollars in 1950, increased to 49 billion dollars in 1960 then to 81 billion dollars in 1965. After World War II America helped Europe to reconstruct its infrastructure through Marshal Project, and protected several countries against the influence of the Soviet Union through the Four Points Project. Food aid particularly wheat was granted to friendly countries. America was able to contain the Soviet Union and became the only super power in the world (5).

With the end of the 20th century there was no other global power matching the economical, political and cultural power of the United States. Agriculture in America was the first in the world although it represents only 2.5% of the American domestic produce and occupies 2.7% of American labor. Although the local American market consumes 80% of agricultural production, America is the biggest agricultural exporter in the world. In 1996 her world share from agricultural exports was 75% for corn, 96.8% for Soya bean, 28.3% for wheat and 28.1% for cotton. The value of total agricultural exports amounts to 50 billion dollars annually. This amount however forms only 10% of total American exports.

The industrial American exports form only 12% of the world industrial exports, but America took the lead in technology exports. American companies control 50% of the world market for ocular fibers, 73% for information industry, 75% for space, civil and military aviation. In 1996 American technology exports amounted to 140 billion dollars.

The most important American development that occurred at the end of the 20th century was the withdrawn of conventional industry to form only 27% of domestic production. In 1996 the third sector known as the sector of services produced 70% of the domestic products and used more than 70% of American labor (about 94 million Americans).

The development of America after the industrial era in such manner had changed her hegemony into a cultural one. America controls about 80% of the pictures diffused in the world. In Europe the American movies represent 76% of the movie market and 53% of the materials introduced in TV channels. The American companies further control 90% of the video world market. American press supplies 1600 daily newspapers and 5900 radio and television stations around the world with the latest news. America also controls 90% of the Internet sites.

America now is a society living after the industrial era – a society witnessing new industries, the industries of communication, information, entertainment and cultural means. These high technology industries were the levers that strengthened American hegemony over the world, and changed her hegemony from military, and economical into cultural. This new American unique hegemony is not collided with any other similar model, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which formerly had an alternative cultural model. Even china couldn’t prevent the American model from penetrating her society and this also goes for the Soviet Union as well as for the rest of the world. Yet, it is very difficult to predict or confirm that the success of the American model of life and power would make the 21st century an American century.

The relationship between the United States and the European Union hit a rocky patch lately. The two sides disagree vigorously over trade issues and measures to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Relations have been tarnished by the United States’ unwillingness to sign the Kyoto Accord and its decision to move ahead with its proposed missile-defense system. From the European perspective, these are all valid concerns, but what is the cause for the unbridled unilateral streak emerging in U.S. policy? The U.S. global power today is closely connected to the rise of the conservative right, which is now being counterbalanced by a stronger Europe participation in the European Union.

In regard to foreign policy, The American right seeks to have the upper hand. Hence, there is no signing of the Kyoto accord because it would negatively affect U.S. business interests. The major reason why so many initiatives with the purpose of improving global infrastructure necessary for operating global markets have not been implemented is because conservative America has been opposed to it.

On domestic issues, the conservative right believes that an effective capitalist system must necessarily be ungoverned, while society has no choice but to submit to the dictates of business. This attitude dominates despite the growing gap between the rich and the poor, with the lower strata cajoled into an acceptance of poverty by the idea of an elusive right to upward mobility.

The number of incarcerations in the United States-with only 5 percent of the world’s population, is 25 percent of the world’s prison population. This indicates the failure of the U.S. capitalist model. As a result, America is a failed community, the most unequal society in the industrialized world.

The U.S. corporations are solely based on maximizing short-term profits, as opposed to long-term innovation and productivity. The culprit behind this failure is shareholder value, and the main victim is the U.S. worker. America is therefore not the model for the world or its future.

There is a big concern about the future of U.S. leadership and its influence on U.S. society as well as the globe. The United States must concentrate more on developing multi lateral policies instead of the go-it-alone cowboy attitude, and that it must work more diligently to build European support and pursue foreign-policy objectives that will lead to a healthy global future.

It is true that the American power and model of life are not threatened from any other power so far, but the world order in the 21st century will not remain mono-polar i.e. American, and the threat to the American power will come from the inside.

The great empires in history beginning with the Roman Empire and ending to the British and French Empires had fallen under the pressure of military expenditure. The American Empire might face the same destiny. Because America allocates around 300 billion dollars yearly for military expenditure, she became the biggest debtor in the world. In 1997 the foreign debt reached 5,413 trillion dollars. This was reflected on the debts of the American individual that increased to 20027 dollars annually.

In order for America to achieve her national interest she had to depend upon the aids of a number of pivotal countries in the world regions. America now cannot settle by herself the conflicts of the world unless through international alliances.

America in the 21st century will not be the sole super power in the world because other super powers and regional powers do already exist.

However, the most dangerous threat facing America today is the decadence of the American society. In America, 50 boys escape from schools every 30 minutes and 85 commit violence crimes, and 37 teenage girls start pregnancy.

The American society faces social, cultural and racial war. The 267 million Americans living in the United States are divided into 194 million whites (73%), 33.8% million blacks (13%), 30 million Hispanics (11%) and 10 million Asians (4%).

What worries America is that the rate of increase in population during the mid 1970s was not in favor of the whites. The rate of increase in population was 108% for the Asians, 53% for the Hispanics, 13% for the blacks and only 6% for the whites.

America is not like Germany or France that had been set on unified root, language and culture. It is rather a nation with several roots and cultures gathered by the American creed.

Although the Anglo-Saxon culture dominated for centuries and served as a tool for melting the other insignificant roots or cultures in one pot, yet the persistent loyalty of such cultures or races to their roots, and the racial discrimination against the blacks, in addition to the increase of the population in a direction not favoring the whites, are factors enhancing culture separation. Anticipations therefore indicate that America in the 21st century is threatened as not to be dominated by the White Protestant Anglo- Saxons.

The root separation is associated with social and class separation. There are 15 million Americans living in a level similar to that of the developing world. There is also 28 million Americans living in a level near that of the developing world. Recent statistics showed that 30 million Americans live below poverty level, while one fifth of the Americans take for themselves half the national income.

The separation extends between roots and minorities, between those who own and those who don’t. The separation even extends between man and woman. Women movement that formerly demanded equality with men is now launching a sexual war against men!

Multiple cultures had given the American experience a double impetus, but the change of multiplicity to separation and decadence as expressed by crime and moral decline, is certainly threatening the American power, and places much doubt that the 21st century will be an American century.

Racism remains rampant in America. In Islam however, no race is superior to another. Muslims realize that God created all humans from one couple, thus making the entire human race one large extended family. Allah says:

“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve); and from the two of them He spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” (Koran 4:1).

In Islam, the noblest of men are the most obedient to Allah. Such persons may belong to any race or country. What really matter is their conduct and behavior. The Prophet Mohamed publicly declared that Arabs are not superior to non-Arabs, and one color is not superior to another. In a day when light-skinned people could not imagine a black person as their leader, the Prophet appointed a black person Osama, the son of Zaid, as a leader.

In Islam the world looks like a garden decorated with people of different colors. Each variety of people contributes something to the spice of life. Allah says:

“O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah, is the most pious of you.” (Koran 49:13).

As a result of following these teachings, Muslims have banished racism from their thoughts and actions. Racial harmony is clearly seen in the mosques of cosmopolitan cities. People of various colors line up side by side to worship Allah. No special preference is given to anyone based on color or social status. The leader in a mosque is appointed for his learning in the religious sciences, regardless of skin color. There is no such concept as a black ‘mosque’ or ‘white mosque’. Islam removes such destructive concepts.

Despite America’s many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If one has any doubts about that, he just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln’s admonition that our greatest concern should be “whether America is on God’s side.”

The U.S. economy is currently experiencing its worst crisis since the Great Depression. The crisis started in the home mortgage market, especially the market for so-called “subprime” mortgages, and is now spreading beyond subprime to prime mortgages, commercial real estate, corporate junk bonds, and other forms of debt. Total losses of U.S. banks could reach as high as one-third of the total bank capital. The crisis has led to a sharp reduction in bank lending, which in turn is causing a severe recession in the U.S. economy.

The international financial crisis started with losses in the US housing market. Profligate Lending Led to Losses. Excessive land use regulation exacerbated losses. Toxic Mortgages were concentrated where there is excessive land use regulation. If supply markets had not been constrained by excessive land use regulation, the financial crisis would have been far less severe. Instead of a more than $5 Trillion housing bubble, a more likely scenario would have been at most a $0.5 Trillion housing bubble. Mortgage losses would have been at least that much less, something now defunct investors and the market probably could have handled.

While the current financial crisis would not have occurred without the profligate lending that became pervasive in the United States, land use rationing policies of smart growth clearly intensified the problem and turned what may have been a relatively minor downturn into a global financial meltdown (7).

Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.

International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country’s virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects. But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of “American exceptionalism” with a much more skeptical eye (6).

A more moderate, balanced and non-biased U.S. policy in the Middle East could change antipathetic sentiments against Americans in the Arab World.  In the case of the catastrophic events of the January 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza, for instance, the U.S. and the Western European states aligned themselves with Israel, thus ignoring the bitter feelings of the entire Arab World towards that crisis without any reservation whatsoever.

The spread of American values and popular culture symbolisms internationally is also widely resented by the people of the Middle East who find varieties of it very Americanizing. The international trade institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are doing very little  to reverse the negative effects of Americanization and assist poor countries with their economic and social development.

Religiously, the secular products of the American culture (whose motto is in God we trust) often bring with them images of sexual freedom and equality among the sexes into the homes of spiritually conservative communities, regardless of their religions, forming yet another source of antipathy to Americans and hatred, not to mention the activities of American missionaries throughout the Islamic World. As a matter of fact, Muslim countries in the Middle East and South East Asia object to their exposure to such products of American popular culture and, in the case of missionaries, to the rise of the American religious involvement in their lands. An educated response to this type of anti-Americanism would, require a thorough religious understanding within the U.S. to fit the religious and spiritual patterns of thought of other nations.

If America attempts to reform the world she must first reform herself. America should first adorn her society with all kinds of virtues or she will not be able to inspire others. She must purify her society of hatred, prejudice, racism, crime, debauchery, unlawful practices and corruption. If all these irregularities and deviations continue to spread within the American society, America has no choice but to fall.

References

1-    America. The Dream and Politics. Al-Hadara Publishing, 1999.
7 Abou el-Seoud St., Dokki, 12311, Cairo, Egypt. In Arabic.

2-    The Endangered American Dream. By: Edward N. Lutwark.
Simon Shuster, New York, 1933. PP. 126.

3-    Index of Leading Cultural Indicators. N.Y. 1993. By: William J. Bennet.

4-    The Demoralization of Society. London, 1995. By: Gerturd Himmelfarb.

5-    The American Century. The Rise and Decline of the United States as a World Power. Yale University Press. 1997. By: Donald White.

6-    The Myth of American Exceptionalism. By Stephen M. Walt.
November, 2011. www.foreignpolicy.com/node.

7-    Root Causes of the Financial Crisis: A Primer. By Wendell Cox 10/28/2008. Newgeography. http://newgeography.com/content.

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