It is not obvious that the U.S. is headed for a fall. How could it be? Our country is the only superpower. We are the number one military power and the number one economic power. We are the leader in science and technology. Our language is the world language, and our currency is the world currency.
These successes give us real strengths, but they also make it easier for us to fall prey to illusions. The U.S. has three dangerous illusions. One is that we can maintain our special relationship with Great Britain even as we push the British into the European Community. Once England is part of Europe, we will have lost our most trusted ally of the past 60 years.
The British, with one foot in Europe and the other in the Atlantic Alliance, have given us the diplomatic leverage to carry our foreign policy. Without this leverage, the U.S. will find itself isolated in Europe by France and EC bureaucrats in Brussels.
The NATO alliance itself will not survive the absorption of the British into the EC. The European army organized by France, the European Rapid Reaction Force, will crowd out NATO. With NATO's demise goes our British and European bases and our ability to project military power far beyond our shores.
The U.S. will be the same country with the same technology, but our reach will have shrunk. The shrinkage will affect economics, diplomacy and our foreign policy.
The shrinkage will embolden those inclined to aggressively pursue their spheres of influence. Here China comes to mind. Our policy toward China is based on the illusion that we can win China over with favors. We have provided China with our secret missile and satellite technology, investment capital, consumer goods technology, and access to our consumer markets.
This policy of "openness" is supposed to moderate China and make the Chinese into partners. This is one possible outcome, but less desirable ones are as likely. The Chinese could see our policy as stupid or arrogant and be encouraged in their belief that China can reduce or eliminate our influence in Asia.
If we continue to pursue policies that portend our isolation in Europe and Asia, Middle Eastern oil is up for grabs. It is farfetched that our fleet, shorn of its forward bases, can protect our interests in the Middle East. Terrorists have no doubt learned from the mayhem caused by foot and mouth disease in Britain how easy it would be to dissuade any of our former allies who might be inclined to rally around in a time of crisis.
Our third and greatest illusion is our immigration policy. The immigration policy put in place by Democrats in 1965 is changing the racial and cultural composition of the U.S. As experts have noted, assimilation is breaking down due to sustained high rates of immigration from third world countries.
Two other reasons are causing a halt to assimilation. One is an unexpected consequence of U.S. civil rights policy. In order to jumpstart integration of blacks into society, "preferred minorities" were (unconstitutionally) given privileged legal standing.
These legal privileges were supposed to be temporary and, therefore, no lasting threat to equality in law. However, these privileges are now a 35-year-old inherited right. Getting rid of these temporary privileges is proving to be a massive struggle that may be lost. Many American elites support differential group rights as a way of achieving equality of result. Moreover, as Tony Smith, a scholar at Tufts University, points out in a new book published by Harvard, the retention of these racial privileges is supported "by an ever more powerful Mexican-American lobby."
The combination of civil rights and immigration policies has created a situation in which millions of immigrants, none of whom are victims of alleged past discrimination in the U.S., find themselves privileged over native-born white Americans. A caste society is gradually emerging in which white Americans are second-class citizens.
The second reason assimilation has halted is the rise of "multiculturalism" in education. Education has two primary functions—literacy and enculturation. With the emphasis on diversity and deconstruction of "hegemonic European culture," enculturation has broken down even among whites.
A country whose civil rights and immigration policies have produced a nation of adversaries with differential group rights and no common culture, and whose foreign policy is eliminating its ability to project power, will not continue to be a major player on the world scene. A Chinese warlord looking ahead 30 years could easily conclude that the U.S. will not be an obstacle.
Paul Craig Roberts is the author (with Lawrence M. Stratton) of The New Color Line : How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
April 10, 2001