Jul 6, 2017 (San Diego) Empires rise and fall, and it is increasingly clear that the United States is a declining world power. The first sign is that soft power, this is diplomacy, foreign aid and other tools are not only seen as not important by the current administration. The second, is when you hear foreign leaders talk about Donald Trump and his administration.
Trump is not a man who speaks in large ideas, or grand thinking in the traditional way. This is a man who speaks in formulaic memes. Also, the only thing that matters to the President is the United States is the United States, with absolutely no global, or even regional vision. This is how a third rate power tries to impress others.
The trip to the G20 in Hamburg, Germany, is expected to be difficult for the President of the United States. In Germany he will face the challenge of a global commitment to climate change. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Change accords. This is an agreement that the rest of the world considers critical for species survival, not just national survival.
Angela Merkel said after the G-7 meeting in Italy, that the United States could no longer be trusted as an ally. This is a sign that we are living in a post American Empire world.
The United States is now retreating from international norms and agreements. It is not just the Paris agreement, but Trump pulled the United States from the Transpacific Partnership. The U.S. will start negotiations with both Canada and Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement, but no observer will be too surprised if under the current leadership the United States will retreat from this, and other international trade agreements.
There are other symptoms of a declining empire. One that many in the media have noted.This is the attack on the media as fake news. In reality this is not unlike the 1930s Nazi party appellation of Luggenpresse meaning lying press.
During the Nazi regime a strong, vibrant and independent media disappeared effectively to be replaced by a controlled state controlled media. Part of it was the effort to make the media Aryan, meaning taking it away from Jewish influence. This was part of the effort to make Germany great again.
These attacks on institutions, that even come in questions to foreign leaders. He addressed this issue with the President of South Korean but also with the President of Poland.
“Standing next to Mr Duda, Mr Trump said “what CNN did was unfortunate for them. As you know now, they have some pretty serious problems.”
“They have been fake news for a long time. They’ve been covering me in a very dishonest way,” he added. ”
“He then turned to the Polish President to ask if he had this problem, to which Mr Duda responded by smiling and nodding his head. ”
This kind of attack is unprecedented in the United States, and now it has gone global. It is yet another symptom of a declining world power.
In San Diego we live in a region that depends on Mexico for its wealth.
- U.S.-Mexico trade surpasses $1 billion every day, with the vast majority of bilateral commerce crossing our land border.
- Millions of U.S. jobs depend on U.S. trade with Mexico—and on efficient cross-border commerce facilitation.
- Key U.S. industries vital to our national economy depend on Mexico.
- Mexico is on the rise, with a growing middle class looking to legally cross our southern border to spend tourism dollars in the United States.
- Border communities throughout the U.S. southwest depend on Mexico to keep their economies growing.
The decline of the Empire and the coming isolation will affect our region in significant ways. It already is. The leading edge comes in the form of people no longer crossing to buy clothes and other goods in the border region.
The Union Tribune reported this in the business section:
“San Diego and every other U.S. city that borders Mexico. We get a subtle but very large influx of business, many times in cash, from Mexican citizens coming across the border to shop. And not only barely across the border for basic goods but well into Fashion Valley and UTC malls for expensive goods. Besides the actual purchases, which keep some San Diego stores in business, but also sales taxes, and even TOT (transient occupancy) taxes flow into city coffers. We clearly want the Mexican peso to be low for U.S. purchases and travels but not too low that it begins to affect their U.S. purchasing power.”
As we reported on May 28 we have another sign. This line from the May revision of the budget came as a surprise to city planners:
“Franchises Fee Reduction of $726,335 in franchise fees revenue based on updated Fiscal Year 2017 receipts. “
So we are already seeing the leading edges in the local economy of this retreat from the world stage. Declining empires have signs and that is now quite clear. Nor are we the only ones to see this. Forbes published this in March of 2017:
“The idea that the era of Westernization is coming to a close is most evident in cities like Shanghai and Singapore. Shanghai is fast becoming the new Hong Kong, which is already the new Tokyo. Rich Singapore is a world trade hub thanks to China, a dominant force still in nearly every container sitting on the deck of Hyundai merchant marine ship. China is used to the fall of dynasties. The U.S. is not. The history of the U.S. has moved only one way, toward greater riches and military might. The notion that the U.S. falls from power is much stranger to Americans than it is to the Chinese.”
World powers that go into decline have real effects to their economy and self assurance. The United Kingdom had a 10 year recession. Spain became a third rate power, due to the incredible debt it had accrued, by the 19th century.
Then there is another equivalent to another declining power. Rome went from a master of engineering and science, to the Middle Ages. The United States is rejecting modern science, and a brain flight will start soon, if it has not started yet. A sign of this is the antiscience bill passed in Florida and signed by Governor Rick Scott.
Supporters of this law wrote that:
“I have witnessed students being taught evolution as fact … rather than theory … I have witnessed children being taught that Global Warming is a reality,”
Evolution is an accepted scientific theory, as well as climate change. Florida led the world in scientific achievements and is the home of the John Kennedy NASA launch center. Moreover, climate change will affect that state in major ways.
Forget the science, the insurance industry sees the writing on the wall:
“If property values start to fall, Cason said, banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending prices lower still. Those properties make up a quarter of the city’s tax base; if that revenue fell, the city would struggle to provide the services that make it such a desirable place to live, causing more sales and another drop in revenue.”
“And all of that could happen before the rising sea consumes a single home.”
All these are a sign of a declining power.