Mark Steyn – THE SEDUCTIONS OF DECLINE

I don’t even know where to begin quoting this (RC2, who is probably better at hiding her straight razors than I, quoted it fairly extensively – and thoughtfully! – here, and as testament to the resilience of her state of mind, she manages to wade through a similarly-themed VDH as well) so I’ll just stick with the really cheerful bits:

If America becomes Europe in its domestic disposition and geopolitical decline, then who will be America? Of the many competing schools of declinism, perhaps the most gleeful are those who salivate over the rise of China. For years, Sinophiles have been penning orgasmic fantasies of mid-century when China will bestride the world and America will be consigned to the garbage heap of history. It will never happen: As I’ve been saying for years, China has profound structural problems. It will get old before it gets rich.

Russia? The demographic deformation of Tsar Putin’s new empire is even more severe than Beijing’s. Russia is a global power only to the extent of the mischief it can make on its acceleration into a death spiral.

The new Caliphate? Even if every dimestore jihadist’s dreams came true, almost by definition an Islamic imperium will be in decline from Day One.

So there’s no plausible new kid on the block? Isn’t that good news? Not exactly. Much of the timing of American decline depends on Beijing, which will make the final determination on such matters as when the dollar ceases to be the world’s reserve currency. Given that they hold at least the schedule of our fate in their hands, it would be rather reassuring if they had the capability to assume America’s role as the global order-maker. But they don’t and they never will. The most likely future is not a world under a new order but a world with no order – in which pipsqueak states go nuclear while the planet’s wealthiest nations, from New Zealand to Norway, are unable to defend their own borders and are forced to adjust to the post-American era as they can. Yet, in such a geopolitical scene, the United States will still remain the most inviting target – first, because it’s big, and secondly, because, as Britain knows, the durbar moves on but imperial resentments linger long after imperial grandeur.

I think I want to go shopping today.