During the run-up to World War II, Winston Churchill, speaking in Parliament, lamented “the years that the locusts hath eaten” – the period during which preparatory action to face the great crisis of his day (the rise of Continental fascism) could have been taken, but was not. Over the past century – with the notable exception of the Great Depression – the US political system has been remarkably good at foreseeing crises long before they have happened, and at least setting the foundation for dealing with them when they have occurred.I see more failures in US policy than Brad DeLong:
But so far in the third millennium, this skill – or simply run of luck – has deserted the US. My view is that the problem would fix itself easily if only the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower could stage a comeback (though without Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy).
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the problem is one not only for the US, but for the rest of the world as well. Since December 7, 1941, the world has in large part been able to rely on global governance by a somewhat-competent hyper-power. That America may be gone for good. If it is, the world needs to develop other institutions for global management – and quickly.
- The idiotic colonial war in the Philippines
- Gunboat policy in China followed by wasted support for the corrupt Chiang Kai-Shek regime
- Failure to act in concert with Western Europe to in founding the League of Nations
- Failure to support a Republican Spain
- Viciously repressive policies in Latin America
- An anti-democratic policy in Iran that overthrew a popular democratic leader
- A failed policy in Vietnam based on a an idiotic "Domino Theory"
- A criminal policy to support vicious dictators in the Middle East
- A failure to have an industrial policy and progressive policies for the US population