How America can Rise Again
How America can Rise Again
In How America Can Rise Again, John Fallows addresses the current state of the United States of America as he tries to establish whether the nation is truly crumbling as many critics and experts claim. Fallows’ analysis of the situation is aided by the fact that he spent some time in Asia, particularly China and India, and is therefore able to compare the situation in the United States with that in two of the world’s fastest rising industrial powers. His analysis is also constructed around the views and opinions of some experts who he addressed with the of America’s apparent collapse. Speaking with historians, soldiers, politicians and experts in various fields, Fallows sought to establish whether the fears of America’s demise were justified or simply a repetition of the regular alarmist claims of discontent parties in the nation. While Fallows’ arguments regarding America’s current state are largely infallible, his conclusions are skewed by the fact that he only compares the United States to China, and not other significant powers such as the European Union.
Fallows starts his article by explaining the context of his analysis to the reader and by providing some background information. He explains that there have been fears throughout America that the nation the claim of world leader at an alarming rate. This issue has been exacerbated by the recent economic crisis that resulted in thousands of home foreclosures, downsizing in various large industries and the complete shutdown of some of America’s largest companies. The combination of his own childhood memories and the experiences that he had in China and India provide the backdrop for Fallows analysis as he compares the United States to China, arguably the world’s fastest growing country. This comparison and analysis is founded around sentiments harbored by many Americans that the nation is in a steep decline as other countries catch up to it economically and technologically. Even the most educated and best-informed people in the country, including chief executives of major American companies, hold these sentiments.
Concerning these fears, Fallows points out several key issues. The first issue he explains is that the fears and concerns of an America in decline are a recurring trend. Past generations have been equally alarmed at the assumed fall of the nation from its position in the world, a fact that is made obvious by jeremiads from famous people such as Jimmy Carter (Fallows, 2010). However, Fallows downplays this matter claiming that future generations will most likely bear the same worries regardless of any changes that will have been made. Fallows also points out that the issue of falling behind has been blown out of proportion. He argues that various issues place the United States at a disadvantage especially when compared to states such as China. Fallows also points out several advantages that the United States has such as the fact that the nation could benefit from a prosperous China because of the interconnected nature of the global economy.
Fallows then proceeds to point out the nation’s main concerns and their possible solutions. The key issues that he points out include debt, declining military power, unemployment and position in global politics. However, the most worrying issue is the state of America’s internal politics, which Fallows finds to be faulty and somewhat shambolic. As for solutions, Fallows has a range of proposals regarding changes that could improve the US. Some of them, such as military coup, are implausible, while most are unlikely. However, he argues that a frightening moment could scare the politicians into action. Fallows conclusion, though, is that the nation will have to move on with a dysfunctional government and find a way to cope.
Fallows article is accurate in many ways. His criticism of the United States is largely genuine, as he points out issues that are quite troubling for the nation such as the economy and a lack of progress in science and technology. However, a key fault in the article is that he chooses to compare the United States to China, an emerging global power, rather than Europe, a region that has already established itself within the international arena. One problem with the comparisons to China is that the Asian giant still has a lot of room for growth, unlike the United States (Porter, 2012). This means that the nation’s development is likely to continue even as the world continues to deal with the aftershocks of the late 2000s economic crisis. Additionally, America’s responsibilities within the global community place it at a disadvantage, as countries like China are able to focus solely on their own development, while the US is forced to involve itself in events in other regions.
A better region to compare to the United States would be Europe, because of the deep heritage that the two share along with their continued cooperation since the Second World War. Since the formation of the European Union, Europe has become increasingly similar to the United States as the two entities constantly cooperate on various issues within the international arena (Fabbrini, 2007). Interestingly, a comparison of the two regions reveals that America is doing fairly well especially if Europe’s flailing economy is scrutinized. Since the onset of the 2008 global economic crisis, the United States as done a better job at recovering as various government initiatives prove successful (Weisbrot, 2014). However, Europe now leads the US when it comes to innovation, an issue that could increase fears that many people hold concerning the countries decline (Crescenzi, Pose & Storper, 2008).
One issue that Fallows addressed accurately is the shambolic nature of the nation’s internal politics. Fallows (2010) explained that the country’s political system was archaic and faulty, forcing Americans to live with a government that is dysfunctional. Ezra Klein (2013) echoes these issues as he points out several faults within the nation’s political system such as the frequent deadlocks between the two parties and the breakdown in the values that each group stands for. These issues are taking their toll on the nation and exacerbating its weak economic state (Rapooza, 2011). Additionally, the situation that may be contributing the increasingly alarmist sentiments of many Americans.
article was compelling and insightful as he presented the issues regarding
America’s apparently impending collapse. His ability to compare the United
States to China introduced a unique perspective to the analysis as he showed
that the nation might be falling behind its Asian counterpart. However, an
analysis of the US with the European Union reveals that America is still not as
badly off. If the right changes are made within the governance system and
perhaps the constitution, the United States will successfully stave off their
assumed decline and reinstate its position as a global hegemony.
Crescenzi, R., Pose, R. & Storper, M. (2008). The territorial dynamics of innovation: A Europe-United States Comparative Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fabbrini, S. (2007). Compound democracies: Why the United States and Europe are becoming similar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fallows, J. (2010, January / February). How America can rise again. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/01/how-america-can-rise-again/307839/?single_page=true.
Klein, E. (2013, October 7). The 13 reasons Washington is failing. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/07/the-13-reasons-washington-is-failing/.
Porter, E. (2012, October 16). Economic health? It’s relative. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/17/business/us-economy-is-doing-well-compared-with-other-nations.html?_r=0.
Rapooza, K. (2011, August 25). Is the US really better off than the EU? Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2011/08/25/is-the-us-really-better-off-than-the-eu/.
Weisbrot, M. (2014, January 16). Why has Europe’s economy done worse than the US? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/16/why-the-european-economy-is-worse.