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Nobody’s Century

Never mind the “American Century”.  Ambassador and gadfly Chas Freeman says we’re in “nobody’s century” globally now.

Over the Sahara Desert approaching ancient lands and thousands of years of history. The Nile River flowing through Egypt past the pyramids of Giza up to Cairo in the delta; the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea; Jordan River; and the Sea of Galilee are visible, as are the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece coming over the horizon. (NASA)

Over the Sahara Desert approaching ancient lands and thousands of years of history. The Nile River flowing through Egypt past the pyramids of Giza up to Cairo in the delta; the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea; Jordan River; and the Sea of Galilee are visible, as are the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece coming over the horizon. (NASA)

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debate American foreign policy tonight.  Before they do, maybe we need to step back for a minute and look at the big picture.  The world is heading off in new directions.  Nobody’s the boss.  New powers are rising.  With new alliances.

If the 20th Century was the “American Century,” says Ambassador Chas Freeman, this is “nobody’s century” – and everybody’s.  The U.S. cannot assume it will have followers.  We’ll have to earn them, again.

This hour, On Point:  Reality check.  We’re updating the American view of the world, and the U.S. place in it.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chas Freeman, a career diplomat, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1989 to 1992.  He recently gave a pair of speeches on the state of U.S. foreign policy. You can find part one here, and part two here.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “He might take on educational achievement, noting that this country comes in only 28th in the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, and at the other end of the scale, 14th in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a higher education. He might hammer on infant mortality, where the United States ranks worse than 48 other countries and territories, or point out that, contrary to fervent popular belief, the United States trails most of Europe, Australia and Canada in social mobility.”

Foreign Policy “Despite some successes large and small, Obama’s foreign policy has disappointed many who initially supported him. The Middle East initiatives heralded in his 2009 Cairo speech fizzled or never got started at all, and the Middle East today is more volatile than ever. The administration’s response to the escalating violence in Syria has consisted mostly of anxious thumb-twiddling.”

Foreign Affairs “In many parts of the world, freshwater is already a scarce resource. It constitutes only 2.5 percent of all available water on the planet. And only about .4 percent of that is easily accessible for human consumption. Of that tiny amount, a decreasing share is potable because of pollution and agricultural and industrial water use. All that would be bad enough, but many freshwater bodies are shared among two or more riparian states, complicating their management.”

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