The Rubicon may have been crossed.
Europeans, less physically fat perhaps yet no less immune nor less exposed to the current cult of instant gratification than the obese Americans, (and lapping it up bar a few recycling and windpower efforts), are feeling spiritually uneasy, perhaps due to a heavier weight of history and a closer sense of the future.
They are sensing the global fall to come through a haze of polyunsaturated olive oil and color-coded garbage cans.
They remember the Romans and the Inquisition and the Saxons and Napoleon and the British Empire and are unwilling to tiptoe to those cliffs again. But they are also too cowardly to challenge Bush.
The Chinese, wannabe fatties and who can blame them, are sucking up resources wherever they can find them, especially in Africa. They are the 21st century equivalent of the 18th century British Empire, amoral and buccaneering. Their history is that of the poor and oppressed and so they are fearless and powerful with nothing to lose.
Hey, we British helped them learn these valuable lessons by sending iron gunboats up the Yangtse to bomb Peking in support of our opium trade that had 20% of the Chinese people addicted to Afghan poppies (which the Brits also owned at the time). Jolly good show. We taught ya well. Arrrrr matey !!
Condi, you're preaching human rights to Blackbeard.
Grow your hair and wear something short and low-cut, offer some diamonds and rubies, or forget it. Get real !
Meanwhile the Russians are sitting pretty, well-armed with all kinds of nasty sh*t, with geographic immunity and vast energy resources, plus a well-justified chip on their shoulder regarding attempted but failed western squishings from Hitler to Reagan. They are old, rich, and smiling.
So whither 230-year-old-America?
Imperial ambitions from Korea onwards have noticeably failed. And yet the administrations persist in their empire-building efforts. Here they are in their latest adventure, Iraq. What can one say? It is such a humanitarian tragedy that I find myself unable to use it to make a point. It stands as one of the low points of human history. The children of Iraq have suffered as no children in history have suffered over a similar period. There are two, no three, generations of Iraqis who will cast a vast existential and spiritual shadow over humanity for the next sixty years, and we should seek them out, and listen to them well. Perhaps their experiences can transcend religious crap in a way that the Holocaust failed to, we can only hope.
There is no doubt that Iran has a huge footprint in what finally shakes out in Iraq. Make no mistake; Saddam, WMD, terrorism, democracy, and all the other red herrings the US administration can seamlessly employ through corporate media to misdirect the couch-ridden American citizenry have absolutely nothing to do with the outcome or the policies. They are fixed and have been since pre-2000.
Cheney and the neocons (I don't count Bush, he has nothing to do with this except as a downhome village-idiot spokesman) have intentionally put themselves slap in the middle of a zero-sum game for control of a good chunk of the world's energy resources.
And here's the rub. There is neither the wit nor the will to dominate through intelligence, experience, reputation, example, or philosophy.
Young America, 230-year-old-America under the wholly misguided warmongering Global-American-Hegemony-in the 21st Century-PNAC-Dreaming-Right-Wing Christian Ayatollahs who have currently hijacked the USA, has absolutely no f*cking chance whatsoever to rule the world.
Unless they blow it up. That's basically the only advantage.
Lots and lots and lots of WMD's.
Feels good, doesn't it bubba? If'n them damn Chinese'd invaded Ayrak, durned if'n them Insurgents wouldn't be goddam Freedom Fries or Moojahadeen, then we could nuke e'm and they'd's be grateful and go to heaven 'n' get thur virgins. Gawd blessem evun tho' they ain't Christiun but goddam if'n thair attackin' Americans they's terrorists goddamit so we should nuke 'em anyways......ah'm edumakated and votin' Republikan laak always !
South Carolina 2083; American Freedom Fighters strike a blow for Patriotism, plant Improvised Explosive Device under Chinese Humzhee, kill 3 wound 2......