America, The World’s Last Superpower, Is On A Joyride To Armageddon, Says NYT Bestseller Mark Steyn: Are You Ready?
by Mark Steyn
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Previously on Apocalypse Soon . . .
It was the worst of times, it was the not quite so worst of times. The predecessor to this book was called America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, and, given the title, you may be tempted to respond, “C’mon, man. You told us last time it was the end of the world. Well, where the hell is it? I want my money back. Instead, you come breezing in with this season’s Armageddonouttahere routine. It’s like Barbra Streisand farewell tours—there’ll be another along next summer.”
Well, now: America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It was about the impending collapse of all of the Western world except America.
The good news is that the end of the rest of the West is still on schedule. The bad news is that America shows alarming signs of embracing the same fate, and then some.
Nobody writes a doomsday tome because they want it to come true. From an author’s point of view, the apocalypse is not helpful: the bookstores get looted and the collapse of the banking system makes it harder to cash the royalty cheque. But Cassandra’s warnings were cursed to go unheeded, and so it seems are mine. Last time ’round, I wrote that Europe was facing a largely self-inflicted perfect storm that threatened the very existence of some of the oldest nation-states in the world. My warning proved so influential that America decided to sign up for the same program, but supersized. Heigh-ho.
It starts with the money. In “The Run Upon the Bankers” (1720), Jonathan Swift wrote:
A baited banker thus desponds,
From his own hand foresees his fall,
They have his soul, who have his bonds;
’Tis like the writing on the wall.
A lot of writing on the wall these days. Who has the bonds of a “developed world” developed to the point that it’s institutionally conditioned to living beyond its means? Foreigners with money. So who’s available and flush enough? The Chinese Politburo; Saudi sheikhs lubricated with oil but with lavish worldwide ideological proselytizing to fund; Russian “businessmen.” These are not the fellows one might choose to have one’s bonds, never mind one’s soul, but there aren’t a lot of other options.
So it starts with the money—dry stuff about numbers and percentage of GDP. As Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado fumed to a room of voters in 2010, “We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet. In my view, we have nothing to show for it.”