Hey America, What Do I Mean to You?

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The United States has eleven carrier groups, and "Europe" because "Europe" is a geographical construct, not a political one has four. Europe's carriers are all much smaller than the smallest U. Europe has only one nuclear carrier, meaning a carrier that can stay at sea for a long period of time. Europe doesn't have military and naval bases across all the global shipping lanes, mostly just in its former colonies in Africa. Even if Europe a got a unified political executive and b took up its defense spending to the level of the U. And meanwhile the world economy burns.

Not to mention that given its current fiscal position, it would have to do it at the price of terrible austerity, which would also wreck the global economy. China is an even more risible alternative.


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For all the talk of China's rising clout, it doesn't have anything near a "blue-water" navy that can project power globally. Its first and only aircraft carrier, recently launched with much hype and fretting, is a year-old Soviet diesel-powered hand-me-down. So even leaving aside the obvious problems with just handing over responsibility for the global economy to a Communist dictatorship, it's just not possible. The same applies to India: for all their sheer size, which makes them important political and economic actors, they remain very poor countries that just don't have the technological and economic capacities to build a military with global-reach.

Well, maybe no one country can replace the United States, but maybe everyone could chip in: Europe and the U. Except that history teaches us that these "multipolar" zones of influences lead to one thing: war. In the 17th century, Britain, France and Spain fought endlessly for naval superiority. Only when Britain became most powerful did peace arrive and global trade begin in earnest.

Same thing with the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

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But let's imagine an ideal libertarian scenario. Let's imagine that instead of a specific country, or even set of countries, global security is provided by private actors through some combination of mercenaries and insurance. By definition this would still raise the cost of global trade dramatically. Those mercenaries and insurance providers would still have to be paid, and those costs would still be reflected in the price of shipping. So it would still amount to a huge global tariff. All but the most hardcore libertarians realize that government has a role in providing for the public good, things that benefit everyone but that it doesn't make sense for any individual actor to pay for.


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Like it or not, global American military hegemony is a public good. The fact that the U. IMDb When libertarians and isolationists talk about the U. But the parts that matter are about a economics and b preventing wars. Constructing a pan-European sense of identity while still respecting the prerogatives of individual nation-states is a bold, sometimes compromised, and as yet unfinished ideal, but it lacks neither ambition nor seriousness.

It too, in its way, is a great experiment. How did it come to this? What caused this crisis in American exceptionalism? What happened to American swagger? Whence this fretfulness? Neither political party has a plausible or stirring answer to that question. When George W. Bush suggested in a manned mission to Mars, the proposal was mocked to death. And back then, William Kristol, David Brooks , and other genuine neoconservatives considered this a depressingly small vision. One day in September changed that.

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Suddenly, America discovered a bigger, grander purpose. The eagle would rise from and soar above the still smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. A fresh battle was joined, and all countries were to choose their side — with us or against us, but no messy middle ground. Real life proved more complicated.

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National greatness conservatism had its cause but lacked the means or even, sometimes, the desire to see its mission through. It had a short half-life too; even before Bush won reelection, it was on the wane, pinned down in the Hindu Kush and bogged down in the sands of Mesopotamia. But as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on, a chorus of voices began quietly asking a pair of terrible questions: Is this it? Was it worth it? American foreign policy gave off the stench of failure. Today, the more a party talks about American exceptionalism, the more one suspects it fears for the future.

It reeks of fear — not strength — and like most such boastfulness seems designed to camouflage insecurity. Never mind that the economic whirlwind was, at least in part, the consequence of American hubris. Rome was lost in Rome just as much as it was doomed in the provinces. If this seems paradoxical, then so be it.

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Despite all this, the United States does remain an extraordinary, even an exceptional country. That is, American notions about the path to liberty and prosperity may not be as universal as some boosters think, but they remain powerful, even inspirational ideas. And Americans are right to celebrate them. The American idea really is worth preserving and celebrating.

Leadership, however, is never as selfless as its leaders like to suppose it must be. Certainly those being led rarely see it in the same terms as those doing the leading. But if other parts of the world are becoming more American that is, classified by organizations such as Freedom House as "free" or on the path toward being free , this is something to cherish, not fear.

Despite protestations to the contrary from the likes of McCain this week, these are not unusually dangerous times — rising prosperity in other continents is evidence that the American-led world order did its job. The American model is unique in its specifics; its general thrust or principles really are more universally useful. Ask him. While McLean gave permission for the parody, he did not make a cameo appearance in its video, despite popular rumor.

McLean himself praised the parody, even admitting to almost singing Yankovic's lyrics during his own live performances because his children played the song so often. The City of Grand Rapids , Michigan created a lip dub video to "American Pie" in response to a Newsweek article that stated the city was "dying". On March 21, , Harmonix announced that "American Pie" would be the final downloadable track made available for the Rock Band series of music video games.

On March 14, , the National Museum of Mathematics announced that one of two winners of its songwriting contest was "American Pi" by mathematics education professor Dr. Lawrence M. American singer Madonna released a cover version of the song in March to promote the soundtrack of her film The Next Best Thing , with the song being serviced to radio on February 2.

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It was co-produced by Madonna and William Orbit and released on the singer's Maverick label, after Rupert Everett Madonna's co-star in The Next Best Thing had convinced her to cover the song for the film's soundtrack. Released in March , the song was a worldwide hit, reaching No. The song was the 19th best-selling single of in the UK and the ninth best-selling single of in Sweden. The single was not released commercially in the United States, but it reached No.

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