Good morning dear reader(s)!
This morning I woke up a little early and, being awake but too lazy to get out of bed, I grabbed my not-so-smart but slightly more intelligent phone & read an article on some news site explaining how the US economy could fall to #2 in the world in a matter of months, and some believe it has already happened. The tone of the article was that this happening would be a disaster of epic proportions and life as we know it would change for the worse, forever.
Okay, perhaps because I do not have experience as a high school football coach who believes that 2nd place is just the 1st loser, or that there aren't any trophies for 2nd place (even though there are, I've seen them), I fail to see how being the world's second largest economy to a country with a population roughly 90 thousand times the size of ours (actual numbers, just not correct actual numbers) would be such a bad thing.
People say if we were no longer the #1 economic power, our political infulence on other countries would suffer. Would it? Look at the way we've been able to shape the world since the fall of the Soviet Union made us the world's lone superpower. (X-ray vision would've been a cooler lone superpower.) Let's see, the Russians sided against us in almost every international dispute not putting us in direct confrontation, the Israeli-Palestian conflict has only gotten worse, nobody would seriously join us in invading Iraq because it was just plain bullshit, (despite our standing as the #1 economic power), that pesky 9-11 thing happened & the leaders of a stone-age nation were so influeneced by our standing as #1 that they refused to turn over the guy who created a private army to take us on (obviously also in awe of our economic standing). The whack job in Iran continues to hold power despite our efforts and constant trash-talking to weaken his position (or maybe because of it), Venezuella is lead by a man who constantly thumbs his nose at the #1 economic powerbroker, and on and on...
What being #1 has really done for us, amounts to nothing more than having a target painted right on our backs. Add to that the fact that we are the very first to get the call for help when something goes wrong.
I can't wait to be #2, provided our leaders are smart enough to recognize the advantages.
But Josh, what advantages could there possibly be by not being #1 anymore? Well, voices in my head, I'm glad you asked.
When a nation gets itself into trouble and asks for our help, we can refer them to China. "Look nation, we feel awful, but no longer being the #1 economic power of the world, we can't really afford to help. Have you tried China? I hear they have some extra cash."
When nations in conflict want to put us in the middle we can get out of it without seemingly letting anyone down. "Look Israel, I get that you want to be secure, but you treat the Palestians like shit & maybe you need to offer up some concessions if you want to stop this conflict. Not only can we not afford to continue to back your every play, but as the #2 economy, we have been told our stance on the issues doesn't carry as much weight as it used to anyway." And also, "Look Palestians, we are no longer supplying Israel the conventional weapons they use against you, and we really don't want to be involved. That said however, you may want to reign in your bullshit terroism because Israel has nukes and we are no longer the ones whispering in their ears telling them to show restraint every 5 seconds. Get me?" "Both of you need to figure this out on your own and quit using us as a scapegoat."
We can finally match the economic policies of other nations and take a more protectionist stance. "Yes, we have 1000% tarrifs on goods imported from China, but we need to and they don't. They're already #1 and only got there so fast by artificially undervaluing their currency. That new world order horseshit needs to be led by the people at the top."
We can quit annoying other countries by pretending we've got everything figured out. "Look world, we like our democracy and our freedoms, even if the system isn't perfect. You do what you want though. I mean, what do we know? It isn't like we're #1."
In a race, you can lead for a very large portion of the race and still come up short at the finish line. The only time being the leader matters is when you cross that line, and unless you believe the Mayans, I bet that line is still a long way off. Being #2 may give us the chance to make a pit stop, change our tires, work on our engine and make sure we are in good shape to finish the race. We can draft off the #1 car and keep the bugs off the windshield.
And if at the end of the race, we still can't pass the leader, it won't matter. Nobody gets trophies at the end of this one.
So until next time dear reader(s), be proud to be an American, if you are an American who is reading this. Not because of power, but because of the promise and freedom America is supposed to represent. Embrace our new position in the world. Take to the streets in celebration of it. I want to hear you. "We're #2! We're #2! "We're #2!"