10
Sep
08

Saving U.S. Dominance and the Environment

Hegemony [hejuh-moh-nee] – leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.

The Washington Post reported on the upcoming report “Global Trends 2025” by Thomas Fingar, “the U.S. intelligence community’s top analyst,” in which Fingar predicts U.S. dominance will decline in the coming decades. Fingar goes on to say that U.S. military strength “will ‘be the least significant’ asset in the increasingly competitive world of the future, because ‘nobody is going to attack us with massive conventional force.'”

“The U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished,” Fingar said, according to a transcript of the Thursday speech. He saw U.S. leadership eroding “at an accelerating pace” in “political, economic and arguably, cultural arenas.”

In the years ahead, Washington will no longer be in a position to dictate what new global structures will look like. Nor will any other country, Fingar said. “There is no nobody in a position . . . to take the lead and institute the changes that almost certainly must be made in the international system,” he said.

The predicted shift toward a less U.S.-centric world will come at a time when the planet is facing a growing environmental crisis, caused largely by climate change, Fingar said. By 2025, droughts, food shortages and scarcity of fresh water will plague large swaths of the globe, from northern China to the Horn of Africa.

CNN’s Farheed Zakaria makes a very good point, WaPo points out, in his book, “The Post-American World,” in which he claims that the decline in U.S. dominance is due more to the rise of other economies (China, India) than an actual slide by the U.S.

The world is in fluctuation and always will be. What this means for Republicans – especially Old School

Republicans – who follow the “Might Makes Right” theory is that their views are growing antiquated and useless. The United States, especially under George W. Bush, has engaged in an arrogant, isolationist foreign policy that does not take into account global geopolitical currents or world opinion. McCain is obviously of the same fabric and same blind mindset. The United States must interact with and seek cooperation with foreign countries rather than spouting our view and vilifying those who disagree with us. It’s petty and unproductive.

Now we face a declining economy – which will result in a weakened military. And instead of working on new technologies, as Americans have always done, to progress our country and kick start our economy again, the Republicans are stupidly chanting “drill now, drill now.” By burying their heads in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the importance of alternative energy development, they are attempting to forfeit our future – and not just environmentally.

Alternative and clean energy development could be our next Dot BOOM, it could be our next technological breakthrough and economic stronghold. Americans have long dominated innovation and technological progress. Of the 4,222,954 patents in the world, 2,460,775 have come from the U.S. We are creatures of development – the discovery of electricity, the light bulb, the steam engine, the telephone, the television, the car, the computer – you name major technological advances in the last 200 years and the U.S. almost always has its stamp on it.

And its time we did again.

Let’s discuss our oil industry. Gas prices have risen so steeply largely due to growing global demand for oil – especially from China and India. Now that prices have slid a bit and the oil industry is learning where America’s pain threshold is in regard to oil prices – at least when we’re in an economic downturn – they will not allow prices to return to the days of cheap fuel.

Just today, OPEC decided to reduce overall output by 500,000 barrels a day to offset the recent decrease in prices – even though Ike is barreling toward the Texas coast. You see, even when prices are “outrageously” high, OPEC will still make sure that profits are maximized. So what’s the answer? Well, you saw what Republicans wanted to do.

The problem? First of all, drilling now solves nothing because we do not have the refining infrastructure to handle the increase in fuels – largely due to inattention by Washington and the whole Not In My Backyard argument. About a month ago, when a McCain spokesman (can’t remember his name, but he had ring-around-the-head and a goatee) was asked about the infrastructure issue, he said, “One problem at a time!” So, he was basically saying drill first, ask questions later. Not smart policy.

Secondly, oil companies are given leases – areas of land upon which they may drill – for around 10 years. There is plenty of hydrocarbon-rich land available to the oil companies now, but these lengthy leases reduce the competition by the oil companies and many hang on to the available land without ever drilling.

Our domestic oil companies like high prices as well and as soon as prices begin to slide because “we’re not dependent on foreign oil,” they will slow production enough to drive demand and squeeze more money from the consumer.

So, Americans are not just held hostage by oil-rich foreign countries, Americans are also held hostage by our own domestic oil companies.

But no one wants to tell you this – not Barack Obama and certainly not John McCain because they enjoy corporate donations.

What’s the answer?

Alternative, reusable, natural and clean energy. Not only does it lessen the grip oil companies have on our wallets and our economy, the entire world is in desperate need and want of alternative fuels. If we develop the technology that our global partners are clamoring for, we can not only save the environment, we can save our standing in the world.

We must not let the Right Wing – with their Big Oil cohorts – kill the most viable option we have for America’s future by closing the door to new clean energy. Furthermore, the dumbing-down of our children by the Religioners and their assault on our science classes has got to stop. We have a major fight brewing in the Texas Board of Education regarding the introduction of Creationism or at least the doubting of Evolution into our schools and I’m sure this is occuring in many other states. This will hurt America – culturally, economically and globally. Ensuring the best and brightest and most-prepared students emerge from our educational institutes should be a major priority because their actions will dictate whether our nation progresses or withers.

You want to protect America? Protect science classes, encourage serious scientific education, and support the development of clean energy.

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9 Responses to “Saving U.S. Dominance and the Environment”


  1. 1 Rob
    September 11, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Agreed we need to kick start the ridiculous turning a blind eye to creating new energy sources in homes and vehicles.

    I do think it has more to do with teaching to the test vs. teaching evolution/creationism that contributes to about 99% of the problem with kids coming out of public schools.

    Public schools have become “cram crap in their head and hope they regurgitate it correctly”… That is the key to what’s happening to our kids in school.

    Think back to when you learned about evolution in science class, what was it, about maximally 2 weeks worth of focus on that, and the rest is on rocks, dirt, animals, plants, etc? It’s not like each science class from kindergarden to 12th grade has an evolution section, I just see it as another talking point for politicians to use to round up their religious zealots and get them energized for their campaign. Seriously, sex education, total time, 1 day per semester probably at most for kids, and does that really need to be looked at or focused on by politicians as an anchor issue to spout off about every time they give a speech? Nah…

    I say give kids the choice of learning everything, crap, don’t be intolerant and JUST teach evolution, then guess what, more kids get made fun of because they believe in something different. Look at the bias of history classes, they aren’t going to show both sides of prominent issues back in the day, but people don’t really say that issue will make our kids more or less intelligent.

    Think about what you learned in school, does “evolution” taught to Christians make them not want to become scientists, or if they do become scientists or work in the science or medical field, are they worse off because they disagree with evolution? Nah, you’d be hard pressed to find an example of a mistake made in an important scientific study because the Christian in the group botched his part of the research because he was depending on God to mix the test tube for him.

    Just my 2 cents.

    But yeah, we really need to get off our rear ends about the energy problem, hell, I can find 100 different electric cars for sale in China, just go to http://www.alibaba.com and type in “electric vehicle” and see what I mean. We import EVERYTHING from China, but I really want an electric car and I’m screwed because companies won’t make them here for a cost that is relatively parallel to the cost of buying a gas guzzler…

  2. September 11, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Teaching evolution is not simply teaching information. It is teaching our children how to think and process information and, the most important life skill of all, make decisions. There is vast quantities of irrefutable evidence as to the Earth’s origins that explain the history of this planet up until today.

    To teach children that the idea that the Earth is 6,000 years old is a credible one is to do them an extreme disservice in today’s technologically competitive environment. The bible was written by men hundreds of years after Jesus lived in a time when the countless tribes across the globe had their own religions. The bible borrows many of stories from these other religions and christianity usurped many of the religious cultures of other peoples to make their assimilation more palatable. To teach kids today that this book’s theory of the Earth’s origins is credible would be akin to throwing out reproductive education and informing children that storks bring babies to mommies and daddies. It tells children that it is okay to ignore evidence when making decisions.

    Furthermore, allowing the bible’s messages to be taught in school in any way other than as literature or explanation of cultural and political development is state-sponsored religion and unConstitutional. Many, many religions that exist today have their own theories as to the Earth’s origins. Would we invite them all in to class as real possibility? Certainly not. Nor should we give that preference to christianity.

    Furthermore, evolution is not simply a 2-week course. All throughout their lives, children learn about dinosaurs and the formation of mountains and why polar bears are white. Almost every topic in nature can easily turn to the topic of evolution. To push that aside and say, “no, don’t believe what your mind is telling you, read the bible and this will give you the truth” teaches children to disregard to their natural logic. It lays the foundation for brainwashing that pushes so many people to follow the herd and make bad decisions.

    Teaching evolution is not merely a class in school. How we educate our children on this topic has far greater consequences. I’ll have to write a blog on this soon.

  3. 3 Rob
    September 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Mer, 2 questions.

    1 – Do you believe all Christians are “brainwashed”?

    2 – Grab a science textbook and find the ties between evolution and every other subject, it just won’t make that much of a difference.

    It’s a us vs. them mentality. Shit yes, teach how others think the world was created. Go for it. Don’t limit it to just evolution. There’s also many ways on how people think many things happened that aren’t factually backed up but are socially accepted. That doesn’t mean we just exclude everything except what is socially accepted.

    Case in point: Global Warming, or what the WWF.org is calling Global Warming/Cooling, lately, is still out to lunch on the possibility that man made CO2 could play a large or a very minor role in this phenomenon, or normal weather fluctuations, as some scientists see it.

  4. 4 Rob
    September 11, 2008 at 11:46 am

    And good blog, again, I have you on my favorites to read between patients.

  5. September 11, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t believe all christians are brainwashed, but I do question their critical thinking skills and desire to evaluate evidence and factual information.

    I’m not saying everything in a science book relates back to evolution. That’s an incorrect oversimplification of my argument. So much of our consciousness about the world depends on an acceptance of the scientific theory of evolution – whether your kids play with dinosaurs, our skin color, the Grand Canyon, geological strata, fossil fuels/oil and more. To just think, well the bible didn’t address that directly, is to ignore a massive part of reality.

    You have to limit teachings to factual information. The bible is not factual – much of it has been disproven. How can all of Earth’s life have been kept in pairs on a big ship during a worldwide flood? If part of the bible is incredible then how can the rest be fact? It is not common sense. The Earth’s age and its evolution as well as the life on it are easily explained. That is what should be taught to children. Facts. Not Fairytales. Not Santa, not the Easter Bunny, not the tooth fairy, not the Holy Ghost. Factual, proven evidence.

    Global warming is still a recent phenomenon as opposed to evolution. Evolution is only disputed by people who follow theories dictated by religion. There is no debate among secular scientists about evolution, as opposed to the causes of Global warming and the melting of ice sheets. Take religion out of the equation. There are no arguments about evolution. There are still arguments about Global Warming.

    And, yes, I do see it as an “us vs. them” situation. I have no problem with people believing what they want to believe. But now, they want to legislate their beliefs and insert them into our public schools. This is wrong and unConstitutional and I will fight them – whoever they may be that think religion should have its place in a state-run institution. Religion is not credible and should not be treated as such.

    And, as you can tell, I love a good debate!

  6. 6 Rob
    September 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Evolution just isn’t that important in the learning process and if you say that one can not critiacally think or perform science or math or medicine just because they don’t go along with the theory of evolution, or that teaching must be kept to factual information, that just makes us like the Japanese… Sure we can regurgitate things, but hell, you have to have some critical thinking, and give kids alternative views on subjects, or else why are they in school? Critical thinking is not brought about by just learning evolution, and even those who don’t agree with that theory who are taught that in school (I learned both) won’t be tossed by the educational roadside.

    I just think that you’re not looking at it from ALL points of view. We don’t all have to be taught that evolution is the end all in order to be good students or great scientists. It’s a theory, and non-biblically speaking, there are other theories out there that are scientific but don’t go along with the evolutionary theory either.

  7. September 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    When I speak of evolution I am speaking not just of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, I am discussing the evolution of the Earth. That it is 4.5 billion years old. That dinosaurs lived here. That there was a Big Bang event in which elements grouped together, largely based on the distance from the Sun’s heat and the planets formed orbits and our universe came to be what it is now.

    To assert that the Earth is 6,000 years old is wrong. It is incorrect. You use the term “theory” incorrectly. “Theory” is a scientific term, like Wikipedia and the scientific community agree: In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. ****For the scientist, “theory” is not in any way an antonym of “fact”.***** For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton’s theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity.

    A theory does not mean that it is unproven. Evolution has been proven despite the millions of people who choose not to believe it. If the bible said the sky was green, I’m sure they’d believe that as well.

    To teach millions of children that this is not the case is to teach them a lie. Would you teach them Santa is real? A generation raised not to apply evidence appropriately is handicapped functionally. The children of America are already suffering educationally and are behind many countries in math, geography and more. To teach them lies like evolution is a “possibility” only worsens this situation.

    Furthermore, I would like to know what these scientific theories that don’t go along with evolution are. Every reputable scientific publication accepts the proven origins of the Earth.

  8. 8 Rob
    September 11, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/origins/knoll.html

    PBS did a special that I saw a few years ago (NOVA, my nerd-addiction), but here’s a quick interview which he (Andrew Knoll, a professor of biology at Harvard and author of Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Life) says in the last paragraph that sums up that the scientific community is still out to lunch on the exact way that life came to form on this planet.

    Mer, I’m with you saying that it doesn’t need to be religious zealots running around like crazy, but you have to respect that the scientific community you refer to is probably just a handful of people who are hooked into the media.

    You have to actually dig a bit deeper to find the scientific pulse that you’re looking for to back up those claims that evolution is an over and done with theory/fact.


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