Waving Goodbye to Hegemony

In an election year, where a series of threads on the candidates and issues have sprouted all over archinect, I think this article deserves some discussion. It seems that the issues raised here are at the heart of a lot of the discussions we hear:

In the News:


America’s share of global exchange reserves has dropped to 65 percent. Gisele Bündchen demands to be paid in euros, while Jay-Z drowns in 500 euro notes in a recent video. American soft power seems on the wane even at home.

Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream.

Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past.

Without firing a shot, China is doing on its southern and western peripheries what Europe is achieving to its east and south. Aided by a 35 million-strong ethnic Chinese diaspora well placed around East Asia’s rising economies, a Greater Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere has emerged. Like Europeans, Asians are insulating themselves from America’s economic uncertainties. Under Japanese sponsorship, they plan to launch their own regional monetary fund, while China has slashed tariffs and increased loans to its Southeast Asian neighbors. Trade within the India-Japan-Australia triangle — of which China sits at the center — has surpassed trade across the Pacific.

With or without America, Asia is shaping the world’s destiny — and exposing the flaws of the grand narrative of Western civilization in the process.

Maintaining America’s empire can only get costlier in both blood and treasure. It isn’t worth it, and history promises the effort will fail. It already has.

Neither China nor the E.U. will replace the U.S. as the world’s sole leader; rather all three will constantly struggle to gain influence on their own and balance one another. Europe will promote its supranational integration model as a path to resolving Mideast disputes and organizing Africa, while China will push a Beijing consensus based on respect for sovereignty and mutual economic benefit. America must make itself irresistible to stay in the game.

For the next president, How to move forward:

First, channel your inner J.F.K. You are president, not emperor. You are commander in chief and also diplomat in chief.

Second, Pentagonize the State Department

Third, deploy the marchmen, the foot-soldiers of empire spreading values and winning loyalty. That’s right. In true American fashion, we must build a diplomatic-industrial complex.

Fourth, make the global economy work for us.

Fifth, convene a G-3 of the Big Three. But don’t set the agenda; suggest it.

Jan 26, 08 12:02 pm

This trend is largely due to the Bush administration's hostile attitude toward the rest of the world (as well as a dumb regulatory policy concerning subprime loans.)

It's due to a combination of neoconservative hawkishness/belligerence and Reaganesque laissez-faire economic policy. In other words, the two policy staples of the Republican party over the last ten years are generating this trend.

Jan 26, 08 12:39 pm

Your right Farwest. What we should do is pull all our troops out of the mideast and around the world. Let the EU get their oil from a region that erupts into Moderates vs Radical Islamic faction fighting and see how they like E10/L gas on top of their own 20% unemployment. Maybe Korea will get back to their civil war and China can get involved and start throwing its military weight around. I absolutely agree, Ive actually been a proponent of a somewhat Isolationist experiment where we let the world go to shit. Thats what will happen without a hawkish global superpower America. maybe then they will appreciate us, but I doubt it.

Jan 26, 08 12:45 pm

1 - enforce the borders with surveillance and fences/walls. Penalize the employers that hire illegal immigrants and champion the rule of law and the privilege of coming to America. No Amnesty, get in line, go through the front door ONLY. And send Mexico a bill for a barrel of oil for every illegal immigrant that gets caught sneaking over until then. Demand English immersion in schools and get rid of the "press 1 for English" everywhere. Get rid of the multi-translated signs in every store you enter, on every phone and public place. Make ENGLISH the language needed to be learned. Immigrants need to assimilate and make America the melting pot again.

2 - Demand that America remain sovereign. Enforce sedition law on the organizations that want to make America, Mexico, and Canada the North American Union with the "amero" and the like.

3 - demand China adhere to legal trade agreements and compete with the rest of the world, instead of enslaving their people and sending other markets in the red. Establish human rights agreement that hinges on further business agreements. If they want our market, they need to play fair. Empower local companies and manufacturers to build up their industries. Slash the corporate tax to compete with the rest of the world.

4 - slowly but efficiently phase out welfare programs in the United States and empower charities and religious organizations. Reinstill work ethic in the American society. People that are on welfare now should be working the jobs the illegal immigrants are doing now. Incentize everything. Abandon socialist trend since FDR and return to Constitutional principles.

5 - Make our military one of the most lucrative careers, with college packages, high pay and coverages, housing options, etc. Take care of our soldiers at every stage. Reinstill the value of serving the country. Make it very, very lucrative and advantageous for people. Make the military strong and equipt.

6 - Invest in R&D, renewable energy, alternative fuel sources, and build up entrepreneurs in these markets. Innovation should be trademark of American industry again. Cleaner systems, "greener" technologies, etc. At the same time, shut the global warming lunatics up with innovation not regulation.

7 - Privatize heathcare like car insurance, get rid of Social Security system (which is old and faulty system) - use saving plans, bonds, etc. In the same way.....

8 - Allow people to CHOOSE if they want to withhold a portion of their paycheck to pay for charity or welfare program. Every year, citizens should have a right to checka box for certain programs to contribute the money to. The money is then pooled to provide for these services, but is not forced, only voluntary contributions, reinstilling the charity in Americans, not forced compassion.

9 - Federal ammendment to Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman.

10 - Sanctity of life should be championed. Adoption not Abortion should be stressed.

ETC... But this is a good start to get us back on the right track.

Jan 26, 08 1:19 pm

are you a republican Futurist?

I dont think the constitution should dabble in gay marriage. Its not that kind of document. Thats a states right.

Number 10 could be a little hairy as well. I dont think anyone is out there promoting abortion as the new Fad. In fact its on the decline. Thats a social debate and again not up to the government.

But I love your "Penalize Employers" of illeagal workers. Thats the twisted thing about this - the Fed has made a market of demand for illeagals by not enforcing IRS laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS to go after companies employing illeagals. If theres such a demand, then open up the process like ellis island and do it leagaly! We cant have our cake and eat it to. So under the current modu operendi the workers have to break the law, the businessman has to break the law and the government is always in the right. Thats fucking scary.

Jan 26, 08 1:37 pm


1- is asinine - does it really bother you so much to press 1 for English? this is the type of thinking that is TANKING us. We need to be open and inclusive to HAVE A PRAYER in the new world order.

2- That's a right wing conspiracy theory and if it was true it would only help battle the EU.

3- 100% in agreement

4- Almost agree with you, but this is a dream and in the real world the government needs to help.

5-100% in agreement. But I would ad that there could be a peaceful alternative like peace corps or americorp, national service and civic pride is what is important not bellicosity.

6- 100% in agreement

7- 100% in DISagreement - if the government does not act right away and make healthcare affordable the little industrial base we have left will leave.

8- interesting idea

9- see #1: "this is the type of thinking that is TANKING us. We need to be open and inclusive to HAVE A PRAYER in the new world order."

10- I like that

Jan 26, 08 1:39 pm

to be clear i like #10 in theory, but it cannot be done through the government or laws.

Jan 26, 08 1:45 pm

1. Though I'm not xenophobic, I agree with number 1. But it can't be couched in hostile rhetoric. And part of that program should be helping the Mexican economy to become stronger -- thus providing good jobs in Mexico for those who currently cross the border.

2. The EU was created to directly compete with American economic power. A trading bloc in North America would provide natural resources (Canada) and cheap labor (Mexico.) It would also bolster the Mexican economy, which would help our immigration problem (see #1.)

3. Agreed. China also needs to be forced to curb its environmental excesses—a huge amount of the pollution on the American west coast is actually Chinese pollution! Mercury in tuna and other fish is largely Chinese mercury. Their industrialization is polluting everyone else.

4. This won't work. We need a better run welfare system, more like a workfare system, that moves people toward jobs. Phasing it out, and having "charities" try to manage the problem will never work. Reagan's de-institutionalization of the mentally ill in the 1980s effectively created the homeless problem we have today -- it pulled the rug out from under the feet of people who are incapable of taking care of themselves.

5. Yes, but we also need to lower the belligerent tone of our foreign policy. We need the military to have a humanitarian arm, and we need to only use force when absolutely necessary. (Not for territorial domination or vague geopolitical concepts [see Iraq and Viet Nam.])

6. Yes to the first part. Strong no to the last sentence. Regulation is necessary -- corporations only function in their own interest, not the public interest. They won't self-regulate.

7. This is the stupidest idea since waging a land war in Asia. You want poor people to flood emergency rooms across the nation? Poor American kids dying of cancer without good treatment?

8. Are you advocating the abolition of taxation here? This would destroy our country.

9. Narrowminded thinking. The trend in culture will always be toward more freedom and human rights. Not enforced sexuality. What's next? The government regulating what sexual positions couples can use?

10. Disagree strongly. A woman's right to choose is vital.


Jan 26, 08 2:20 pm

Incidentally, futurist, you mention "getting us back on the right track." The longest, and strongest, period of economic expansion in US history was under Bill Clinton, ten short years ago.

But the Bush administration managed to crush that growth through paranoid rhetoric and expensive, unnecessary wars.

To get back on the right track, we really need to think in terms of an open society. Not a closed, xenophobic, paranoid state.

Jan 26, 08 2:25 pm

evilp, i'm humored by your comment in the news section:

Cheers NYT, your global elitist pessimissim about the American experiance knows no bounds.

especially since i read it just prior to reading your comment here:

Ive actually been a proponent of a somewhat Isolationist experiment where we let the world go to shit. Thats what will happen without a hawkish global superpower America. maybe then they will appreciate us, but I doubt it.

is it fair to say that your global elitist Pollyannaism about the American experiance knows no bounds?

Jan 26, 08 2:46 pm

This is true however my elitism is backed by 230 years of results

Jan 26, 08 2:52 pm

farwest I agree with parts of what you are saying,

When you think about it, what is the one thing that truly separates the U.S. from other places (the EU and China)? I would argue that it is that we are an open immigrant-based society.

I know we can always improve and the current rhetoric against 'others' is nasty but we are light-years ahead from many other countries in this respect.

This is the moral imperative we should be rallying around, the fact that in this country we (people from many origins and backgrounds) more or less live in harmony, for the most part, with ideology rather than long-established traditions as the base for our society. However, I fear that as the inevitable paradigm shifts described in the article happen the U.S. will become more isolationist.

The new world belongs to those that are open and collaborative, I think that's what they mean by the 'European Dream'. We should not restrict immigration we should find new ways of allowing people to come in and out. We should encourage people to come and study not put roadblocks on their way, etc... I think that connectivity (improving the flow of people, goods, and information within the U.S. and beyond), collaboration (with other nations), and (sensible) openness (in our borders and society, realizing that allowing people to come in is an asset) is a possible way forward.

Jan 26, 08 3:11 pm

but we are doing that - we just started limiting certain nations' young folks who have a habit of blowing themselves up.

Jan 26, 08 3:27 pm
liberty bell

I regret this already, but I have to ask:

futurist, why should the federal government care if I marry a man or a woman, as long as I pay my taxes at the married rate once I do so?

And I'll give you this, to clarify my position: I have no problem with a church - a private organization - refusing to perform same-gender weddings. But why should a Justice of the Peace not be able to perform that ceremony for whatever genders choose to commit to one another?

Jan 28, 08 6:12 pm

liberty bell - if paying taxes is all that you think really matters to our society, than you need to rethink your priorities.

Constitutional ammendment will make it known that in America, we value marriage between a man and a woman. And all the gay rights advocates out there need to shut it, because domestic partners already get the same benefits, in employment, in healthcare, etc.

Marriage is an institution that also creates the IDEAL family environment.. yes, people need to stop thinking only about the rights of the couple, but the rights of the CHILDREN.

And Children need a Mom AND a Dad.

Jan 28, 08 6:53 pm

i think you read bell's comment wrong, it's the Fed's that only care about the taxes.

so, as a child, could i bring a lawsuit against my divorced parents?

Jan 28, 08 7:00 pm

OK, I'm not as active on the forum as I used to be, so someone help me out here: is futurist a serious poster or he is another mysterious caricature that pops on here from time to time to yank various chains?

Jan 28, 08 7:03 pm
el jeffe

"Constitutional ammendment will make it known that in America, we value marriage between a man and a woman."

known to who? why do you care? what makes you think anyone else cares?

who is "we"? not me.

but back to the global economic issue...i highly recommend:

Jan 28, 08 7:03 pm

kinda glad I read this back in '03:

Jan 28, 08 7:07 pm

well, perhaps you didn't but i have a feeling you both have a problem with a different part of the issue.

so, futurist, would you hold that you'd get rid of the tax benefit for married couples? or would you say that people deserve a tax incentive for being hedero?

or how bout going further and saying that only hedero couples get the tax breaks for having kids while gay couples don't? would single moms and dads not get this dependent write-off either?

Jan 28, 08 7:08 pm
sic transit gloria

This is so depressing. Is this group really representative of architects' thinking and level of discussion skills?

The article brings up about 100 topics that could be fodder for good discussion on America's future direction, but instead we get Right Wing - Limbaugh - Falwell - Bush - Wolfowitz land. We get a string of xenophobic, isolationist, homophobic, America-is-the-best-and-don't-you-even-think-about-disagreeing defensive diatribes. The same old tired ideas. Blechhhh... And evilp and futurist, double blechhh...

Yes liberty bell, you could have just not wasted your time.

Man, I'm not even touching this further, I'm outta here (maybe even totally off Archinect). Blechhhh.

Jan 28, 08 7:10 pm

^ was that first line at me? maybe it was '04, but it was around that approx. time...

Jan 28, 08 7:10 pm
liberty bell

OK, I'm gonna go ahead and be emotional and blow the "mom AND dad" argument right out of the water:

"Every Child Deserves a Father and a Mother" by Dan Savage, a collection of hundreds of incidents of vile, horrible, hideous child abuse wrought by, you guessed it, heterosexual parents. Read these at your own risk, as they are truly stomach-turning.

So we need to think of the children, but we also know that having a man-woman-child family doesn't necessarily correlate with being a good parent. Maybe we need to institute mandatory parenting classes, or prevent stupid people from bearing children, those approaches might work.

So back to my original question: why should the government care who I marry?

Jan 28, 08 7:12 pm

cheer up, guys.

pixel, i'll see your chomsky and i'll raise you a stiglitz ; )

Jan 28, 08 7:18 pm

per Godwin's law:

Hitler came from a 'mom and dad' family.

I'm with LB, there have been plenty of people influenced in a negative manner from the 'traditional' family format - I don't see how this can be directly tied to the welfare of children.

Jan 28, 08 7:18 pm

[oops, supposed to be after pixelwhore- i'm agreeing with both him and lb, to be clear]

Jan 28, 08 7:19 pm

if possible, could we return to the original discussion? i'd rather discuss the nyt article's suggestions. i'll repost them:

First, channel your inner J.F.K. You are president, not emperor. You are commander in chief and also diplomat in chief.

Second, Pentagonize the State Department

Third, deploy the marchmen, the foot-soldiers of empire spreading values and winning loyalty. That’s right. In true American fashion, we must build a diplomatic-industrial complex.

Fourth, make the global economy work for us.

Fifth, convene a G-3 of the Big Three. But don’t set the agenda; suggest it.

q has done a very good job of synthetizing a long article, but still i really recommend reading the article. i particularly enjoyed the analysis of "the swing states" or 'second world countries,' russia, brazil, turkey, venezuela, i think saudi arabia was there too. very interesting to read how each country has navigated its problems to get to where they are right now.

Jan 28, 08 7:33 pm

It must be nice to always be right and to project upon other people what is best for them...
As for the rest of us, I'm happy to let other people determine what family structure is best for them.
As for the kids, what if they don't like their dad, what if they want two moms, I doubt futurist interviewed any of his kids pre-partum to determine exactly what kind of family structure they would want...
Kids deserve to be raised by parents or a parent that loves them, regardless of gender.

As for the "futurist manifesto" that leads off" you should have just said
1. Encourage xenophobia and isolate the US from the whole world. Period.

Jan 28, 08 7:41 pm
vado retro

with all the talk of china, remember they are reinvesting the our trade imbalance back into the us of a, while about 500 million or more of their population earn a c note a year. of course, before the might of the chinese economy sinks us we will be done in by those godless gays and their desire to live boring middle class lifestyles with labrador retrievers, hybrid vehicles, and pasta machines. the end is near.

Jan 28, 08 7:45 pm

Sorry AML,
I was ranting while you are posting.
It would be nice to get back on topic.

Jan 28, 08 7:57 pm

no problems joshcookie. i guess what i'd like to emphasize is that the article, although finishing on those points that q posted [and i recopied above] is about describing a new world order, projecting it into the future and then seeing how the us could position itself within it. so [if possible] the discussion should not center itself exclusively on the last part, since the whole article was more focused on the rest of the world.

of course i probably say this because i'm part of 'the rest of the world...' also, because in ecuador we just had the 1 year anniversary of rafael correa's government, who is a big fan of stiglitz's writing and way of thinking [a way of thinking that aligns with the nyt essay also]. to keep it short- not isolation but gradual opening of markets, when local markets are ready to be competitive. stiglitz credits china for gradually opening its markets instead of doing it 'all at once' [also, i believe he was involved in some way]. free trade agreements have been a big problem here in south america, causing a lot of arguments both ways. i should probably clarify that correa's government has followed a line too close to hugo chavez for comfort, and this is causing a lot of division and doubt- too much time focused on petty discussions. i guess everyone does that.

stiglitz also argues that the us has protected its agricultural crops from international competition, subsidizing the crops, but then demanded free trade agreements that would basically kill local crops due to the income of american subsidized corn.

maybe i'm veering off topic here, but it seems to me that the article requires us to think not in terms of countries but in terms of a global economy- so focusing the discussion on the united states sort of goes against the grain. but of course i understand and you guys are entitled to focus on your own country!

Jan 28, 08 8:20 pm

i should also add that the ecuadorian economy was dollarized around 1999 or 2000. this means we have no national currency and use the dollar, so we are pretty much tied to the faith of the united states' economy .

Jan 28, 08 8:50 pm

/me waves

but thinks Bush is planning a Coup, to steal it for the 3rd time

Jan 29, 08 10:53 am

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