America the Dispensable?


Declinism is back. Fred Kaplan argues in the NYT that for the U.S., "the signposts, at the end of this year, are ominous. As an economic power, the United States no longer sets the rules, much less rule the game. As a military power, it vastly outguns the rest of the world, but has a harder time translating armed might into influence."

America's problems, as Kaplan sees them, involve an "expansive China," an "emergent Europe," and "a growing American dependence on both."

Abiola Lapite, however, thinks that Kaplan's "nice little horror story" is either sensationalism or political axe grinding.

"America's productivity growth is still unrivaled in the rich world," notes Lapite, "and its demographic trajectory is far better than those of Europe and China, both of which are set to age extremely rapidly over the coming decades (and making matters worse for China is the unbalanced sex-ratio in that country)."