The Upside of Bush Disaster

Thomas Friedman brings news from Asia that pretty much the whole world is now looking to the USA to pull their collective fat out of the economic fire. While there is recognition that we caused this, there is also recognition that only we are in a position to lead the recovery. Key quotes:

All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin. At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important.

Yes, many Asians resent the fact that Americans scolded them about their banking crisis in the 1990s, and now we’ve made many of the same mistakes. But that schadenfreude doesn’t last long. In random conversations here in Seoul with Korean and Asian thinkers, journalists and business executives, I found people really worried: Could it be, they ask, that the Americans don’t know what they are doing, or, worse, that they know what they are doing but the problem is just so much bigger than anything we’ve ever seen?

Ironically, Bush may have actually succeeded at getting the USA recognized and respected (well, at least recognized) as the world power again. Frank Herbert was right. “The power to destroy a thing is the power to control a thing.” By bringing the US to the brink of economic collapse, Bush has forced the world to reckon with the fact that we still control the world economy. I suppose he’s further intimidated them by showing that not only are we willing to shoot ourselves in the foot to make a point, we’re willing to endure a sucking chest wound.

Way to go George! After all, those crazy-assed terrorist types are never going to respect a country who’s not as suicidal as they are. We showed them! Take that Al-Qaeda. Now… could we borrow a band-aid? And maybe a couple trillion dollars?

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