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Saturday, January 12, 2019

"The United States will not be the world’s premier chump anymore"

Conrad Black summed up the American economic position in 11 words: "The United States will not be the world’s premier chump anymore."

The Canadian-American publisher and historian praised the American Gulliver for breaking the ropes the Lilliputian countries tied, and standing up for himself.

He sneered at the various would-be challengers to America's pre-eminence in the world.

For example, Black wrote, "The problem with the European Union is both practical and theoretical. As a practical matter, it is governed by a bureaucracy of Dutch and Belgian scribes and functionaries that is answerable neither to the ludicrous European Parliament in Strasbourg, the ultimate irrelevant talking shop, nor to the principal member states, and is exacting its revenge for centuries of deference to France, Germany and Britain."

And then there is Red China.

Black does not call it Red China because there are only so many uncomfortable truths you can tell in one newspaper column.

But he gets it, writing, "China has replaced the U.S.S.R. as principal rival to the U.S., but now has no ideological distinction, as well as, in replication of the Soviets, no institutions that function except the army. It is trying to beat the United States at its own game of capitalism, but the Chinese version is a hodge-podge of state capitalism and a command economy, and the recoil of the Chinese from the pressure that has been applied by this U.S. administration demonstrates more clearly what the real balance of power is between the two economies. China is the greatest economic development story in the history of the world, but as a challenge to the paramount status the United States has occupied for over a century among the world’s nations, it won’t fly. Washington has seen it all, and seen it off, before."

Remember when Japan was going to take over the world's economy?

Then it hit a decades-long recession.

President Donald John Trump's plan to Make America Great Again was the two-foot putt of politics. We never come out of a recession timidly. Only an Obama could have bogeyed.

And he did.

Black wrote, "In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of 'hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,' (all necessary occupations)."

The Establishment embraced Obama because of his ability to fail gracefully, while it tries to stop President Trump because of his ability to win ugly.

Black is sanguine.

"Through it all, the United States, appearing to be disorderly, its establishment and media at war with the occupant of the White House, is demonstrating almost effortlessly how illusory is the idea that any other country or group of countries can challenge its pre-eminence among the world’s nations. Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada)," Black wrote.

These are the best eight years of my life.


  1. Hit it, John:

    You say you’ll change the Constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head..

    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow”

  2. For all the fomentation going on we should appreciate the fact that we may be living in a golden age right now. Gas prices are half of their historical highs, and you can buy an AR for 500 bucks while ammo is relatively cheap again. While stock markets are in turmoil around the world, ours is merely in a correction. The influence of the universities is waning with declining enrollments, and we see the prospect of having jobs where men might be able to support healthy families again. Heck, I even look at the raised interest rates as a blessing. You can make money with a CD ladder again. Decades long stagnation is over.

    1. Hit it, Carly:

      Nobody does it better
      Makes me feel sad for the rest
      Nobody does it
      Quite the way you do
      Donald, you’re the best

  3. Nice summary Don. I have really become a Conrad Black fan. Reads like articles from The Economist a generation ago (when it was worth reading - ouch).

    1. Exactly right. Conrad Black, Vic Hansen, and also Dov Fischer at AmSpec are now my favorite pundits. So many great thinkers have fallen prey to TDS and I no longer read them.
      Back in the day, the Economist had an uncanny knack for being two weeks ahead of Time and Newsweek. They're all gone now for me. I do miss real journalism, but I'm ever so grateful for blogs like this.

  4. It will be amazing to see what it all looks like After six more years of Trumpanomics.

  5. thank you for such a great post and i would like to share some attitude quotes for you

  6. The USA remains the world's essential country, and the best hope for mankind.

    God HAS blessed the USA, and I pray the US continues to deserve the blessings.