America in retreat?

Revolution gave nascent America its political & economic freedom, and also vast virgin resources (to be wrested from the Native Indians—who would be dealt with  in due course). This new world went from strength to strength, capitalizing on these resources & freedom to create unprecedented wealth, not to mention an extravagant lifestyle. And that to me was its weakness: it grew a powerful military force to secure that lifestyle by setting up bases all over the world & also engaging in military adventures to prop up foreign govts that were favorable to them—a win-win situation as those rulers succumbed to their temptations in the form of lavish contracts & benefits; and in return America got cheap oil and thus cheap energy to run its industrial enterprises. Hence the relatively low cost of goods & sevices for the average American. This can go on for only so long before the chickens come home to roost. America believes in its exceptionalism by resting on its laurels of high achievement in every sphere, but at what cost to the world as a whole? Its high standard of living is skewed and thus distorting. If the world were levelled in terms of GNP/capita, we’d probably settle on Greece or Turkey as having the world’s average standard of living.
India is too big & varied to be compared with any nation, except perhaps China, which is of comparable size & complexity. Both are also classical civilizations with ancient histories. But India is a free, liberal, secular democracy that practices free market economics, whereas China is an authoritarian state that practices market capitalism; we could call it a peculiar form of Communist Capitalism. China’s people lack political freedom, and have instead a kind of regulated capitalism that frees up the bureaucratic bottlenecks & endless deliberation that plague India. So even here the comparison doesn’t seem apt. And so India gets compared to America, the oldest, and reasonably populous, democracy driven by its legendary free market instincts, in spite of its entirely different cultural history; yet it has similarities with America in terms of its freedoms & cultural diversity, though with palpably different antecedents.

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