Mark Steyn on 'Who Will Lead the Post-American Era'

Rick Moran
It was Caroline Glick writing in the Jerusalem Post who coined the term "post-American era." Not because of any internal decline of the US, but because, as Mark Steyn explains in his usual must read column appearing in the O.C. Register , Barack Obama has determined that America is no better or no worse than any other nation:

The secretary of Homeland Security's ludicrous reclassification of terrorism as "man-caused disaster," and her boneheaded statement that the Sept. 11 bombers had entered America from Canada (which would presumably make 9/11 a "Canadian man-caused disaster") exemplifies the administration's cheery indifference to all that Bush-era downer stuff.

But it's not Sept. 10. In Pakistan, a great jewel is within the barbarians' reach, the first of many. At the United Nations, the Islamic bloc's proscriptions on free speech will make it harder even to talk about these issues. In much of the West, demographic decay means the good times are never coming back: recession is permanent.

Hey, what's the big deal? Britain and France have been on the geopolitical downward slope for most of the past century, and life still seems pretty agreeable. Well, yes. But that's in part because, when a fading Britannia handed the baton to the new U.S. superpower, it was one of the least disruptive transfers of global dominance in human history. In the "post-American era," to whom does the baton get passed now?

I am not at all convinced that anything Obama does to destroy American predominance in the world isn't reversible. I was around in the late 1970's when liberals were running around saying America's best days were behind it, that we had to learn to "live with less." Those who underestimate America always - and I mean always - have paid for their stupidity by either being smashed in war or made to look like dunces as the Democrats certainly did in the 1980's.

Carter also tried to subsume American interests to that of the UN and the rest of the world. This allowed the Soviets to walk all over him. But you may recall that for all the advances they made under Carter, Communism would be dead in a decade thanks to a little resoluteness and a president who believed in American exceptionalism and free markets.

That's one of the great things about this country. Nothing is set in stone and we can reinvent ourselves virtually at will. Soon, the Bush era will fade from memory and the bad feelings that many have about the GOP will also change. When that happens, the playing field will even out and it will once again be a contest between those who believe in America and those who are ashamed of her.

Perhaps it is my native optimism but the American people have a way of jumping up and surprising the world. Obama may try to Europeanize America but in the end, I have to believe he will mostly fail. The reason why is that Americans are not Europeans and don't want to be like them. So far, Obama has been able to take advantage of crisis to make these changes. But the crisis won't last forever and sooner or later, a reckoning will have to occur.

It may be, God forbid, another terrorist attack. It may happen due to the realization by the bulk of Americans who aren't paying very much attention right now where Obama wants to lead them. It may be a scandal or a botched foreign crisis. It could be any one of a number of things but I am convinced that Obama will be unable to change history enough to destroy what those who came before us spent their lives building.

It would be good if it happened sooner rather than later. But whenever it happens, talk of a "post American era" will fade as it always does because Americans - and the world at large who hates to admit it - are still "it" as a force for good and a protector of all that we treasure about civilization. The barbarians may win a battle here and there. But eventually, when the chips are down, the world turns to America. And I have no doubt that we will respond as we always have because that is our nature as a people and the task history has bestowed upon us.




It was Caroline Glick writing in the Jerusalem Post who coined the term "post-American era." Not because of any internal decline of the US, but because, as Mark Steyn explains in his usual must read column appearing in the O.C. Register , Barack Obama has determined that America is no better or no worse than any other nation:

The secretary of Homeland Security's ludicrous reclassification of terrorism as "man-caused disaster," and her boneheaded statement that the Sept. 11 bombers had entered America from Canada (which would presumably make 9/11 a "Canadian man-caused disaster") exemplifies the administration's cheery indifference to all that Bush-era downer stuff.

But it's not Sept. 10. In Pakistan, a great jewel is within the barbarians' reach, the first of many. At the United Nations, the Islamic bloc's proscriptions on free speech will make it harder even to talk about these issues. In much of the West, demographic decay means the good times are never coming back: recession is permanent.

Hey, what's the big deal? Britain and France have been on the geopolitical downward slope for most of the past century, and life still seems pretty agreeable. Well, yes. But that's in part because, when a fading Britannia handed the baton to the new U.S. superpower, it was one of the least disruptive transfers of global dominance in human history. In the "post-American era," to whom does the baton get passed now?

I am not at all convinced that anything Obama does to destroy American predominance in the world isn't reversible. I was around in the late 1970's when liberals were running around saying America's best days were behind it, that we had to learn to "live with less." Those who underestimate America always - and I mean always - have paid for their stupidity by either being smashed in war or made to look like dunces as the Democrats certainly did in the 1980's.

Carter also tried to subsume American interests to that of the UN and the rest of the world. This allowed the Soviets to walk all over him. But you may recall that for all the advances they made under Carter, Communism would be dead in a decade thanks to a little resoluteness and a president who believed in American exceptionalism and free markets.

That's one of the great things about this country. Nothing is set in stone and we can reinvent ourselves virtually at will. Soon, the Bush era will fade from memory and the bad feelings that many have about the GOP will also change. When that happens, the playing field will even out and it will once again be a contest between those who believe in America and those who are ashamed of her.

Perhaps it is my native optimism but the American people have a way of jumping up and surprising the world. Obama may try to Europeanize America but in the end, I have to believe he will mostly fail. The reason why is that Americans are not Europeans and don't want to be like them. So far, Obama has been able to take advantage of crisis to make these changes. But the crisis won't last forever and sooner or later, a reckoning will have to occur.

It may be, God forbid, another terrorist attack. It may happen due to the realization by the bulk of Americans who aren't paying very much attention right now where Obama wants to lead them. It may be a scandal or a botched foreign crisis. It could be any one of a number of things but I am convinced that Obama will be unable to change history enough to destroy what those who came before us spent their lives building.

It would be good if it happened sooner rather than later. But whenever it happens, talk of a "post American era" will fade as it always does because Americans - and the world at large who hates to admit it - are still "it" as a force for good and a protector of all that we treasure about civilization. The barbarians may win a battle here and there. But eventually, when the chips are down, the world turns to America. And I have no doubt that we will respond as we always have because that is our nature as a people and the task history has bestowed upon us.