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Natural Awakenings

Mark Twainism: America’s Diverse Capacities Overcome Crises

Jun 01, 2009 03:00AM

To paraphrase Mark Twain’s joke about his own reported death, “News of America’s inevitable decline is greatly exaggerated,” writes Steve Yetiv, a professor of political science at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia. While the country’s problems are serious, he cites six reasons why America’s leading role on the world stage isn’t over.

First, Yetiv observes, the United States still has the most competitive economy in the world, hosting 153 of the Fortune Global 500 companies; Japan has 64 and China just 29. Our country also remains a major international power broker, leading the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization. Our military is unparalleled; one index is its high-tech advantage. Further, America has allies in NATO, the European Union, the G-7 industrialized countries and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the United States continues to attract the best workforce, as the world’s best and brightest seek to learn, work and live here.

Finally, this Fourth of July, citizens can celebrate that American ideals are becoming universal. Slowly but surely, self-government, free enterprise and individual liberty are gaining ground around the world.

The U.S.-based Freedom House, an international nongovernmental organization, conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights. A century ago, just two of every 10 countries scored a six or higher on Freedom House’s democracy scale, which ranges from 10 (completely democratic) to minus 10 (completely autocratic). In 2007, nearly six in 10 made the grade.

Source: Steve Yetiv, The Christian Science Monitor

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