Government & Politics

Carter's Wrong — America Is Not in Inevitable Decline

It was no accident that America thrived under Ronald Reagan's leadership.

Lewis Morris · Jul. 10, 2015
Contrasting visions

As the worst U.S. president of the 20th century, Jimmy Carter’s prognostications about foreign policy should be taken for what they’re worth — nothing. But that didn’t stop MSNBC from asking the former president his thoughts on the state of America in the modern world. Carter’s response was predictably pessimistic.

America is “in an inevitable relative decline,” Carter said, “not because of any fault of ours” but through “the combination of China and India and Brazil and South Africa and others” exercising “economic and cultural influence [that] will replace a lot of the power and preeminence that the United States enjoyed in the past.”

“It’s just happening,” Carter explained, “in the historical evolutionary, unavoidable circumstance.”

At least he didn’t use the word “malaise.”

Carter’s mindset is shared by the leftist intelligentsia. They have predicted and, more importantly, sought to bring about our nation’s downfall for decades, rolling out a string of would-be superpower replacements ranging from the former Soviet Union to Saudi Arabia, Japan, the European Union and now China. Carter joins the likes of Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs, serial plagiarist Fareed Zakaria and former Enron adviser Paul Krugman in wistfully speaking of America’s bygone status, but their views are tainted by a raw disdain for the U.S. and what it stands for.

They pretend to lament the days of American greatness, but they often rail against the U.S. for being an international “bully” standing athwart some socialist utopia. Simply peel back Carter’s words on MSNBC or one of Krugman’s New York Times columns, and lurking just below the surface is contempt for capitalism, individual liberty and the republican form of government that made this country great.

As Investor’s Business Daily pointed out, American decline is no more inevitable than its rise as a world power. And who’s to say that America is in decline anyway? Despite the best efforts of Carter, Obama, Krugman and friends, America remains the world’s preeminent power. No other country, or combination of countries, can do what we do, because they don’t have what we have.

This nation’s wealth rivals that of China, Japan, the UK and Germany combined. It is home to by far the richest and most robust consumer market. And our military still holds sway the world over despite recent and unwise cutbacks.

Carter’s assertion that other countries stand ready to replace America is overselling it a bit. The oft-cited bogeyman China just suffered an economic shock this week that wiped out a third of its stock market’s value. And years of forced abortion and social engineering are destined to send that country into a demographic tailspin that could unravel its social fabric in the coming decades.

The European Union is constantly on the brink of unraveling because of debt issues from member states like Greece and Portugal. The nations that make up the EU can’t even agree on a defense strategy, despite the fact that the two bloodiest wars of the last century were born there.

Decline, as political analyst Charles Krauthammer once put it, is a choice — one that Carter consciously made when he buckled to the Islamists who took over Iran in 1979, and one our current commander in chief is making with that very same regime over its nuclear weapons program.

Carter, Obama and their ilk speak of American decline not so much because that’s what they see, but because it’s what they want. Their inherent pessimism guides their decisions, as does their disdain for individual liberty and personal responsibility. The very things that make this country great are what annoy them most, and they want to knock us down a few pegs. Consequently, they look to nations that don’t possess America’s qualities as a means to offset our power and influence.

In recent times, few have understood the greatness and unique qualities of this country better than Ronald Reagan. It was no accident that America thrived under his leadership because he believed in this country and recognized how special it truly is. He shared that vision succinctly in his farewell address in 1989:

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

In fact, Reagan concluded, “We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.”

Our nation is in desperate need of a post-Obama leader who, as Reagan did after Carter, can prove how very wrong the anti-America Left really is.

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