Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hey, Stupid, Wake Up
Regular readers of this bilge may know that I am an occasional contributor at Best of the Blogs, where I posted this morning on an article from the Financial Times by Michael Lind, the point of which is that while the United States is trying to bring the world into line behind us, at the point of a gun if necessary, the world is going about its business without us. Furthermore, China, Russia, and the EU feel no sense of responsibility to account for us in their plans--as well they shouldn't. It ain't their job to look out for us. The consequences of such a reordering are potentially enormous. The economic consequences alone will likely be the first ones we face, and the storm could begin literally any day.

These consequences are well-known to those of us in the reality-based community--but we're not everybody. (If we were, President Kerry would be getting comfortable in his new office right about now.) Two of my Best of the Blogs colleagues, Jeff Popovich (in a post) and Vicki Meagher (in a comment), remind me that what seems self-evident to the reality-based community is not self-evident to the "large swath of the American public who think we're really kicking ass in the world," and that the point needs reiterating. Better believe it does: Take a look at those surveys that suggest a large percentage of Americans think the rest of the world supports Bush and the Iraq war, for example. Or ask any random person on the street where the U.S ranks in world infant mortality figures, for example. (Answer below.) There are a million things we just don't know, and we just don't care, and won't, until the morning the fertilizer hits the ventilator, and then millions will wonder why nobody told 'em.

Dude, it was in block letters four inches high--how much more notice do you need?

Also in response to my post, BotB contributor Leftcoast quotes Seymour Hersh on the economic crisis that's almost inevitable if the United States continues to act as if China, Russia, and the EU are its, well, bitches. Dr. Thompson urges us to "Abandon all hope. Prepare for the Weirdness. Get familiar with Cannibalism." This may be a time to embrace the disaster--because if forestalling it requires waking a somnolent public and getting through to a government firmly resolved to ignore reality, disaster is what we're going to get.

Answer: The newsmagazine The Week (which I highly recommend) reported last week that the U.S. now ranks 44th in worldwide infant mortality. We've slipped behind Cuba. No, no--the Cubans are supposed to be able to beat us only in baseball.

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