Arrogance halts our advance

This is Part 3 in a three-part series on American global politics.

We have extolled the virtues of the free market and capitalism for decades. We have a history of putting dictators in charge of nations as long as they are our dictators and can provide some boon to our market. This flies in the face of self-determination and political power resting with the citizenry. Unless we still believe that all brown-skinned races are inferior and incapable of self-governance, then it has to be about capitalism.

Now what do we do? Our market is in shambles. The whole world is feeling our ripples. We have begun socialist policies after harping on the evils of them for decades. We were wrong about the free market. Excessive deregulation has done this twice – now and in the 1930s. With the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank here, how much faith can the world really hold in those institutions?

If economic power is a key ingredient to the overall political global power a nation can hold, then we are weak there as well.

Now back to my roommate. No matter what he said or did, he knew he was great. Even if the whole room disagreed with him, in his smug little world he was feeling bad for them because they were so misled. No logic could change his belief, and no reason could make him question it. As I said before, that is quintessentially American.

No matter what failures we are confronted with, there is a large element that believes we are invincible. A large portion of the U.S. believes that denying a vote to Iraqi citizens when they asked for it in 2003 is spreading democracy. A large element believes that restoring oil, but not essential services like water and electricity to a nation we destroyed is a good way of being greeted as liberators.

There is a large element that will never admit any faults. That element will deride and denigrate any who question our future. These people will follow blindly, to the bitter end, leaders who speak one thing while doing another.

It is not just the biggest financial failure this nation has seen in 70 years. It is not just the deficit we are borrowing to fund our war that seems to have no real beginning and no real end.

Too often we get bogged down arguing about whether it was a right-wing policy or a left-wing one. We are ignoring the fact that oil will not sustain us forever and without beginning a switch now, we may find ourselves in another dilemma.

We have to get the idea that we are "the greatest thing on Earth" out of our heads, because our arrogance is keeping us from moving forward. If we fail to admit that there is a problem, how do we have any hope of fixing it?

Khan, a political science and history junior, can be reached via [email protected]

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