It ain’t easy to be the world’s Sole Superpower today, not at all as it was, say, in the 1990’s. Not even psychopathic generals with nicknames like Mad Dog can scare others into falling back in line when Washington barks her orders. Back as recent as the 1990s it was, so to say, a piece of cake. Run a war in Yugoslavia, destabilize the Soviet Union after a long war in Afghanistan, loot the former Communist economies of all Eastern Europe. Worse still, the world seems not to appreciate Washington’s wars of destruction anymore. Now that’s real ingratitude after all that Washington has done for them in recent years…
Could it be that the American Century, viewed by future historians, will have its obituary written around the time in 2017 when Washington lost control of the “strategic prize” as Dick Cheney called the energy-rich Middle East?
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up