Thursday, April 1, 2010

The New Middle Kingdom - The Insular United States

There's a new book out by Bruce Cumings that looks at how the U.S. came to be in the position that it is in today (an Atlantic and Pacific power): Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power. I'm assuming it has the same type of prose as Korea's Place in the Sun, which would automatically put it on the top of my list of books to read. If you look at a map -- no, a globle, it looks like well the United States sits in the middle of the world. To the west (and, over a vast/peaceful ocean) is Asia and to the east is, well, Europe. On a side note, if you look at China, the country looks to be more of a coastal country now. The country is hemmed in by the highest mountains in the world to its Southwest, a barren desert to to its West, and a frozen tundra to its North. .

But, if the United States is geographically situated to be the new middle kingdom, then America is surely coming to look like China in other ways. I came across this article that says a third of the members of Congress don't have passports. And, "while 90 percent of faculty in 13 countries believe that a scholar must read books and journals from abroad to keep up with scholarly developments, only 62 percent of American faculty believe so" ("Internationalize American Higher Education? Not exactly" by Philip G. Altbach and Patti McGill Peterson). This is not too different from how I guess China thought there was nothing to be learned from the outside world just a few centuries ago.

On a side note, I remember ten years ago Stratfor (it was free to read back then) forecast that Pat Buchanan's wing of the Republican Party would once again gain traction with the American populace and possibly return to power in 2010; perhaps, they were off by another ten years (But, in ten years, isn't there supposed to be another race to the moon?)

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