Thursday, August 11, 2005

What We Are Dealing With, Part 5

Did you realize that the sun is setting on the American eagle? Did you realize that the US has lost the battle for global economic supremacy with China before it even really got started? Of course you do. As an American you feel uncertain, vulnerable and almost panicky. Our days are numbered and you're already on the phone to the consulate trying to figure our how best to ditch this bannana republic and emigrate to Belarus.

Well, that's the word from Germany's Spiegel. David at David's Medienkritik translates and expands upon the key takeaway from a cover story entitled "China vs. USA: The Struggle for the World of Tomorrow"

Products for the US market are increasingly produced in the cheap factories of the new Asian economic wonderland and jobs are increasingly being exported. … China's steep climb has left America in a collective state of shock. … The era of American dominance is heading towards its end, the century of Asia – with China as its central point – has begun. …
For most experts, it is only a question of time until the Chinese economy surpasses the American.nearly everyday the Americans experience a feeling that was earlier unknown to them: They are being trumped. …Two unequal competitors are facing off in this struggle: There are the Chinese bursting with self-confidence … and there is the USA, economically and militarily number one by a long distance, but weary and increasingly plagued by self-doubts. …the Americans will still have to learn many surprising lessons in red capitalism. …America, the otherwise so self-confident nation, is thrown into deep self-doubts over such reports. Fear is blowing through the offices of lobbyists and union headquarters of the capitol city and through the halls of Congress on Capitol Hill. …The US has fallen into a vicious cycle. …A downward spiral has been set in motion that leaves many experts cold. …Has America already lost the challenge from of the Far East? Are there no more options in the land of endless possibilities, is the long-term decline inevitable? … Doesn’t matter, which nations George W. Bush and Hu Jiantao visit: The man from Peking scores far more points with his ideology-free countenance.

But David's Medienkritik doesn't stop there. They look at all facets of the story. Ray manages to raise another important question, "Dude, Where's Europe?" Not long ago, weren't we being told that we'd be eating Europe's dust?

Having lived in Germany, I can attest that such overzealous merrymaking is the rule rather than the exception. Vacillating between depressive death spirals and boundless Schadenfreude, our allies in Germany typically indulge in the kind of superficial voyeuristic speculation which makes anti-Americanism seem quite normal. Turning the spotlight on "the other" often relieves the urge to address one's own shortcomings.

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