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About U.S. hegemony.

Given, for example, that France is more philanthropic, per capita, than the rest of the world, including the U.S., and that countries, such as those in the Northeast region of Europe, seem to be doing relatively well regarding terrorism and associated threats, what reason is there for the U.S. to take "moral" or "military" leadership role within the world?

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  • Dec 28 2012: "what reason is there for the U.S. to take "moral" or "military" leadership role within the world?"

    There is no "reason". The United States just has the biggest economy in the world and the biggest population of the developed countries, it also spends a larger percentage of its GDP on the military than the other developed countries, except a few tiny ones. These factors allow the US to take a leadership role and it takes that opportunity because it fits with the countries "manifest destiny" mythology and yields extensive material rewards, at least for the rich and (upper) middle class.
    • Dec 28 2012: And what might be wrong with some lebensraum to our south, to Mexico? Their culture (from the processual viewpoint of Csikszentmihalyi's "pursue your happiness as long as it doesn't hurt others") is a wreck, and they - as a whole - are a threat to our security.

      Might there be another term, other than "leadership role" that you can use, since what you seem to be implying is not leadership but an immoral form of imperialism?
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    Dec 28 2012: As support for your apparent assertion that the US ought not seek to lead the free world you say, "France is more philanthropic, per capita, than the rest of the world, including the U.S." Great care is advised when deciding using per capita data. For example I can show that New Zealand would win 2500 gold medals in the Olympics if she had as many people as China. No smoke or mirrrors are needed, I base it on per capita statistics. Thus I can say New Zealand is more athletic than any nation on earth, just as you can say France is more philanthropic than any nation on earth. Do we measure philanthropy by how much each person gives, or by how much is given total? America has the guns and money and must rank very high among all contenders for leader of the free world. Read the book Mr. Palmer mentions below. Thank you!
    • Dec 28 2012: A good point Mr. Long. I suppose that the saying "content without context is nothing" is appropriate in this case. What I think I was trying to communicate is that there are other societies in which philanthropism is woven more in to the fabric of the lives of the people?

      Do we Americans have that woven in to the fabric of our culture and souls more than most or all other countries, as much as FOX commentary wants to make us out to believe? Are we that special, or just should we be?
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        Dec 28 2012: Agreed Mr. Westervelt that other countries may well have citizens with typically better morals and higher ideals than the US has. But the question of world leadership must include quantity, not just quality. If it were simply quality I think the US would be pretty far down on the list of good world leaders. Good question. Thank you for posting!
  • Dec 27 2012: "what reason is there for the U.S. to take "moral" or "military" leadership role within the world?"

    1. Military leadership:

    Because we can and no other country can. IF the USA makes wise decisions regarding where and when to intervene, we could do a lot of good in the world. I recently viewed a documentary, "The World Without US" apparently based on a book by the same name, by Alan Weisman. It makes a good case that if the USA suddenly withdrew from the world the effect would be very bad for the rest of the world.

    2. Moral leadership:

    The USA has a very mixed record. How many countries have conquered half of Europe, then voluntary withdrawn, and then done anything similar to the Marshal Plan? I am fairly well read in history, and I think that was unique. The USA has performed some heinous acts of imperialism, and it is no exaggeration to say that it has propped up the entire free world. These are not good credentials for becoming a moral leader, but unless someone else steps up and takes the role, a future USA president just might. He would need much more courage, moral fortitude and strength of character than the current occupant.
    • Dec 28 2012: Some good points Barry. Weisman, if he emphasizes the concept of "suddenly", makes his argument at least minimally cogent against those who would otherwise disagree with him.

      Glad to hear that, although I personally believe that we may be called to take the high road and be a light unto others and are not, there is some thinking about what a future U.S. President might have to do, given his limited powers.
  • Dec 27 2012: Well, I think you are helping to make my point. Thanks.
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    Dec 27 2012: Global annual military spending amounted to $1.5 trillion the last time I checked. America military spending is more than 700 billion, yearly, taking almost half of the cake - and that is the reason for her military leadership.

    There is no such thing as 'moral leadership' principles of right and wrong are context determined.
    • Dec 27 2012: Well, I think you are agreeing with me. Thanks.
  • Dec 27 2012: There's oil in them there countries.