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Let Bygones Be Bygones

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/35740357@N03/8676029082/
by The U.S. National Archives

The recent trip of the newly elected president of Iran, hailed as moderate, and his hospitable attitudes have stirred renewed hope and enthusiasm among Iranians for a better relationship with the US.   A few minutes of a video clip posted online by CNN shows the cordial side of the Iranian people expressing their hope for a renewed Iran -US tie and enthusiasm for having a friendly relationship with American people ( http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/09/26/open-mic-tehran.cnn.html )

Understandably, there is no innate animosity among civilized nations. If there is, it is often rooted in ideological bickering, brainwashing, narrow-mindedness, envy, or simply blaming everyone else for our problems. The historical resentment of the Iranian people toward the United States is the result of the fact that United States government, driven by imperialist aspiration, has occasionally resorted to hegemony, and meddling in the internal affairs of the sovereign nations especially lesser developed countries, Iran included. Antagonistic attitude against the US may have legitimate historical genesis. However, I venture to claim that it may no longer be the case because the American population and its leading mentality towards other nations have altered dramatically in recent years and is still changing. As a result, the American population outlook and that of their government- presided now by an African-American president - has been transformed after decades of unproductive diplomatic noncooperation between the U.S. and Iran. Further, the American economy is no longer as robustly dominant as it once was.

The shift to an accommodating and more tolerant popular mentality is fast and immanent, thanks to bound-to-happen demographic changes. Most notably, a very low birth rate among whites, the influx of immigrants to the U. S, and the rising percentage of the elderly especially among white population who will soon become an a new minority.   The American nation has been going through such inescapable demographic transformation in recent decades and will continue to change in the future. According to the latest report by the U.S. Census Bureau, for the first time, the number of babies born to non-white families is greater than the number of babies born to whites, 50.4% vs. 49.6% respectively. W hile the percentage of the population accounted for by whites is still a clear majority, 63.4% of the total, this will no longer be the case by the year 2050 when non-whites become the majority due to a number of factors including the diminishing birth rate among white families.

The fertility rate is about 1.9% which is below the replacement rate of 2.1%. To keep its population from shrinking, America has no choice but to rely on immigration and that is what is does, importing people from other countries. People who migrate to the U. S. are not necessarily mediocre people coming from failed third world countries. On the contrary, they are mostly educated intelligent people - the self-selected cream of the crop that accounts for the brain drain from the countries of egress -who are in search of a more democratic milieu wherein their talents can excel and be better utilized. Today many doctors, engineers, successful entrepreneurs, academics, movers and shakers who have their roots in other countries are making significant contributions to this country's political, social, and economic development going forward. Hence, their quest for a better life in America turns out to be mutually beneficial--they benefit directly through the work they do as professionals sans exploitative ambition or hegemonic aspiration, which will rebound to the good of the whole country.   

It seems that American nation is becoming mostly a self-centered people who do not want to assume the responsibility of raising children because they are no longer considered economically expedient. According to a recent government report, the cost of raising a child born in 2012 is about $250,000 by the time he/she finishes high school. As well, with the active participation of women in demanding jobs in the labor force, it is no longer practical for career-minded women to stay at home and raise kids for doing so entails economic losses. Bluntly, the emerging upper-middle class families want to benefit from the pleasure of nuptials without making a commitment and they are unwilling to sacrifice and bear the hardships of raising kids. Children are now viewed by them as economic choices with consequential monetary and opportunity costs.

In addition, the US economy is no longer as robustly dominant in global scene as it has been historically. Its total GDP, which used to be higher than 30% of the world's total at the end of the 20th century, is now about 23%. It is becoming more and more dependent on imports especially from China that is destined to be the next economic superpower. Americans borrow intensely from other nations to finance their national deficit and their reckless spending, especially our government spending on protecting the very countries we are borrowing from. Although ranked below the U. S. in terms of GDP, China and Germany lead The US in terms of economic growth as well as exports and we have a trade deficit with almost every country we do business with. We have fueled our looming downfall by becoming oblivious to what is, and was, going on around us and by our immersion in our hubristic attitude. We were surprised by the triumph of other countries that were nation-building at home while we were spending our precious resources on needless wars and nation building abroad. Although, the U.S. is still the biggest producer of goods and services, the manufacturing share of its GDP, which was about 23% in 1970, has been dropping steadily since then to less than 13% today. Other vital statistics, such as rising poverty rate and melting middle class, are not pointing to a strong economic outlook either.

America is continuing its transformation economically and as a nation of immigrants as it has successfully been doing for well over recent decades. Whatever its racial and ethnic mix, this nation historically has been tested tough; its strength has always been drawn from its resolve and has risen above all of its many challenges. This evolution is no exception. As a nation of mixed peoples, we have rarely failed to deal effectively with our historical challenges and near-calamitous events without resorting to power or exploitation of other nations. All we need to do is to fine tune our success formula which is based on many elements, including our open-door immigration policy and a mutually accommodating relationship between the US and the other nations.

An America dominated by minority is kinder and gentler and brings more tolerance, collaboration, and fairness around its interaction internally among its varied ethnic population, and more importantly, in its diplomatic relationships with other countries. The pushback from the American people over the possible bombing of Syria because of its alleged use of toxic chemicals against its own people is evidence of war fatigue. There was a collective sigh of relief that a road to a diplomatic solution to Syria that Russia and China agreed to in the UN Security Council. The diplomatic overtures toward improving relationships between Iran and the US are another milestone, unexpected but certainly welcomed. These two major diplomatic turnarounds confirm the thesis that U.S. hegemony around the world no longer resonates with the new mosaic American nation.

An America dominated by minorities is a kinder and a gentler nation that will bring about more tolerance, collaboration, and fairness.

 

Reza Varjavand (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is associate professor of economics and finance at the Graham School of management, Saint Xavier University, of Chicago. He has been an avid participant in many professional organizations and active in (more...)
 
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The ethic transformation of the U.S. is not cause ... by Seymour Patterson on Thursday, Oct 3, 2013 at 11:32:33 AM