Archive for the ‘greatness’ Category

America is Still Number One: Winner Should Move Away From Faddish Negative Spin

October 30, 2008

I hope whoever wins next week will dismiss all this faddish talk about American decline.

By Robert Kagan
The Washington Post
Thursday, October 30, 2008; Page A23

Is Barack Obama the candidate of American decline? To hear some of his supporters among the foreign policy punditry, you’d think he was. Francis Fukuyama says he supports Obama because he believes Obama would be better at “managing” American decline than John McCain. Fareed Zakaria writes weekly encomiums to Obama’s “realism,” by which he means Obama’s acquiescence to the “post-American world.” Obama, it should be said, has done little to deserve the praise of these declinists. His view of America’s future, at least as expressed in this campaign, has been appropriately optimistic, which is why he is doing well in the polls. If he sounded anything like Zakaria and Fukuyama say he does, he’d be out of business by now.

One hopes that whoever wins next week will quickly dismiss all this faddish declinism. It seems to come along every 10 years or so. In the late 1970s, the foreign policy establishment was seized with what Cyrus Vance called “the limits of our power.” In the late 1980s, the scholar Paul Kennedy predicted the imminent collapse of American power due to “imperial overstretch.” In the late 1990s, Samuel P. Huntington warned of American isolation as the “lonely superpower.” Now we have the “post-American world.”

Yet the evidence of American decline is weak. Yes, as Zakaria notes, the world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore and the largest casino in Macau. But by more serious measures of power, the United States is not in decline, not even relative to other powers. Its share of the global economy last year was about 21 percent, compared with about 23 percent in 1990, 22 percent in 1980 and 24 percent in 1960. Although the United States is suffering through a financial crisis, so is every other major economy. If the past is any guide, the adaptable American economy will be the first to come out of recession and may actually find its position in the global economy enhanced.

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“Greatest Generation” Reflects on Obama, Hillary

March 13, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 13, 2008

In the current presidential election swirl, the word of the year is “change.”

Sal and Marta De Silvio are members of what journalist Tom Brokaw calls the “Greatest Generation.”

They asked me why we don’t hear words like “greatness” in the current political lexicon.

Sal fought in World War II, making landings at strongly held Japanese fortifications like Iwo Jima.  Marta stayed at home and became a real life “Rosie the Riveter.”  Both are now nearly 90 years of age.

After the war, Marta bore six children, four of which became U.S. military officers; one proudly dubbed “The Full Bird Colonel” in the United States Marine Corps.

To Italian-Americans who fled Mussolini’s Italy just prior to World War II;  this is as good as it gets.

Sal said to me, “I don’t see the vision.  I see a skinny rock star with no experience.  I see a former first lady.  They have never been tested. No sense of the greatness of America.  No real understanding of hope.”

I told him that many women in American believe Senator Clinton has certainly been tested and that Senator Obama has been tested in the harsh light of American racism.

He answered: “A philandering husband is no test and people need to rise above.  You think my Italian accent didn’t make me a ‘wop’ when I came here?  I mean tested like McCain – in war in the skies and as a POW.  A long time Congressman and Senator.”

He said that America still has a lot to do and it certainly includes improvements to health care, education and a host of domestic programs.  But, he stressed, there is unfinished business in Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran may have a nuclear bomb soon, and North Korea already has one.
Democratic president hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., makes ...

Senator Obama makes a point….

I was stunned by his broad knowledge and vision.

“America has a lot of hard work ahead and we better get on with it.  It won’t be easy,” said Sal.  He spoke about solving difficult problems and how it takes perseverance and patience.

Quickly I could see his point painted in the headlines of America’s newspapers. 

As we watched the space shuttle Endeavour launch from the Kennedy Space Center for a rendezvous with the orbiting International Space Station, the important thought was not those few seconds of “We have lift off.” The more important part of our space “endeavor” is the huge investment made by engineers, scientists, astronauts, mission planners, financial analysts and hundreds of thousands of others since the 1950s.

Endeavor’s mission to the ISS will last 16 days: the longest shuttle mission ever to the ISS.  A main task at the ISS will be installing the first stage of the Japanese laboratory called Kibo, a micro-gravity research facility which aims to open a vital new stage in deeper space exploration. Kibo, which means “hope” in Japanese, will be delivered in three stages. Once installed, it will complete the research nucleus of the ISS along with the American, Russian and European laboratories.

This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space ...

This image provided by NASA shows the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Endeavour where the logistics module for the Japanese Kibo laboratory awaits being added to the growing International Space Station. Space shuttle Endeavour closed in on the international space station on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 for a late-night linkup that will kick off almost two weeks of demanding construction work.
(AP Photo/NASA, HO)
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Sal said, “I may be the only one my age that gives a dang about the space shuttle; but there’s American greatness.”

When USS Lake Erie, a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser, shot down an errant satellite on February 20 of this year, the missile and satellite intercept was rooted in a ship and combat systems development that began in the 1970s and a missile and ballistic missile defense effort that started in 1991.

We spoke in hushed tones into the night about struggles, adversity and “rising above” as he calls it.

Projects like our shuttle and ISS efforts take tons of sweat.

The same might be said of the war in Iraq.

The same Democrats that criticized George W. Bush for “Mission Accomplished” are now critical of Senator John McCain for saying that American troops could be in Iraq for a long time: maybe up to 100 years.

This should not be too much a surprise to a nation with troops in Germany since 1945 and troops in South Korea since the brokered cease fire in the mid-1950s.
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Tough tasks take time and investment.
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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee US Senator John ...

Senator McCain photographed by Brian Snyder, Reuters.
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The United States is the richest nation on earth ever; and the longest lasting democracy ever. And the Founders didn’t create our Constitution and the other underpinnings of this greatness overnight: it took years.

Life, and especially foreign policy, is not a video game.  It takes care, patience invested energy and time. “Patience,” Sal reminded me, “is waiting to win.”

In a society now enamored by lighting fast cell phones and an American Idol contest that only has drama for weeks at a stretch, we might reflect upon American greatness and history which teaches us, without a doubt, that great achievements are only within our grasp after long-term effort and investment; and plenty of it.

John E. Carey is a former senior U.S. military officer and President of International Defense Consultants, Inc.  He is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

America Needs To Do More Hard Work

March 10, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom 

“We have lift off!”

Those words, spoken at every space launch, bury decades of work and investment necessary to make tough missions successful.

After U.S. military forces toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, President George W. Bush confidently marched across the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln beneath a banner bearing the words “Mission Accomplished.”

That was May 1, 2003.
Bush-USS-Lincoln.jpg
President Bush addressing sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln
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Democrats have derided the president since as over confident and ill prepared for the long-term work needed to insure peace and security in a new democratic Iraq.

Today, as we approach May 1, 2008, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes say the war in Iraq is costing the United States $12 Billion every month – three times the predicted monthly costs in 2003.  Add to that thousands of wounded and dead.
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

When USS Lake Erie, a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser, shot down an errant satellite on February 20 of this year, the missile and satellite intercept was rooted in a ship and combat systems development that began in the 1970s and a missile and ballistic missile defense effort that started in 1991. The costs would be staggering but are difficult to tally.

The point is simple: as we watch space shuttle Endeavour launch from the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow for a rendezvous with an orbiting International Space Station, the important thought is not those few seconds of “We have lift off.” The more important part of our space “endeavor” is the huge investment made by engineers, scientists, astronauts, mission planners, financial analysts and tens of thousands of others since the 1950s.

Endeavor’s mission to the ISS will last 16 days: the longest shuttle mission ever to the ISS.  A main task at the ISS will be installing the first stage of the Japanese laboratory called Kibo, a micro-gravity research facility which aims to open a vital new stage in deeper space exploration. Kibo, which means “hope” in Japanese, will be delivered in three stages. Once installed, it will complete the research nucleus of the ISS along with the American, Russian and European laboratories.

The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at ...
The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 8, 2007.(Scott Audette/Reuters)

Projects like our shuttle and ISS efforts take tons of sweat.

The same might be said of the war in Iraq. The same Democrats that criticized George W. Bush for “Mission Accomplished” are now critical of Senator John McCain for saying that American troops could be in Iraq for a long time – maybe up to 100 years.

This should not be too much a surprise to a nation with troops in Germany since 1945 and troops in South Korea since the brokered cease fire in the mid-1950s.

Tough tasks take a very long time and they also cost a lot of money.

The United States is the richest nation on earth ever – and the longest lasting democracy ever. And the Founders didn’t create our Constitution and the other underpinnings of this greatness overnight: it took years.

Life — and especially foreign policy — is not a viedo game.  It takes care, patience invested energy and time. Patience (for those who have forgotten) is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.  Thus goals are achieved.

In a society now enamored by lighting fast cell phones and an American Idol contest that only has drama for weeks at a stretch, we might reflect upon American greatness and history which teaches us, without a doubt, that great achievements are only within our grasp after long-term effort and investment — and plenty of it.

Related:
Only in America: Boundless Technology; Brilliant Youth