America. Arguably the greatest country with the greatest political system on Earth. Arguably the proud owners of the most powerful military on Earth. Arguably the world's economic leader. Arguably... well, arguable.
America, since the turn of the 20th Century, has inarguably been THE world power. Our involvement practically dictated the outcome of two world wars, drew the lines (and fought over a few) in the Cold War, and created an economic disparity that the rest of the world envied. For better or worse, this is the legacy of our country.
Until fairly recently, one thing America lacked was fear. We weren't really afraid of the great Red Soviet world takeover (sure, enough to cause some personal bomb shelters to be built, but that's another story). We weren't afraid to travel to remote and near-alien parts of the world. We spout religious freedom, and weren't afraid to experience the religions of others. We were, after all, on top of the world in every way, shape, or idea imaginable.
That was then; this is now.
Not only do we now live with the subtle fear of being victims of terrorism, our spot on the top of the world is in grave danger of being usurped. The game of king-of-the-mountain we have been playing since the Great Depression may truly be lost to a former enemy and former ally.
We all know who I'm referring to when discussing the fear of terrorism: Muslim extremists. Due to our good fortune this past 100 years (cause of jealousy), our place as the sole remaining super power (cause of jealousy), and our innate and government-granted right of freedom of speech, religion, and dress (cause of anger), we have been targeted by a group of people (the worldly "have-nots") who, with no other enemy to fight, feels like fighting us.
And we're afraid. They destroyed two American icons, as well as several smaller American properties and symbols.
Did we react angrily and whoop some ass? Yes, we did. But, again, all that is changing. We have become afraid, and, as with most American wars, we have become tired.
We have become so afraid that most of the American press refused to print those European "Mohammed" cartoons that incited several riots in the Muslim world. Freedom of press? Right... more like fear of Islam. More specifically: fear of Islam in America.
You see, most Muslims here in the USA would definitely have complained about Mohammed being depicted as such (and rightly so... it is, after all, their religious belief). The problem I have with that is not their reaction, but the inarguable fact that they have chosen to live in this country. The USA. The one country on the face of the planet where anyone can SAY WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY and poke fun at anything they want to poke fun at.
Maybe it wouldn't bother me so much if the Muslims of the United States were as vocal when the press or the entertainment industy pokes fun at, say, Jesus or Buddha. But they largely remain quiet, only defending their own so-called right to defend their Prophet.
To that I say: fuck off. Deal with our country or leave. And before any Muslims reading this get too offended, I say that with ANYBODY who feels they have some sort of privileged right over anybody else's political or religious leanings (which includes Christians who rally against Jesus cartoons, but remain quiet and/or supportive of Mohammed cartoons). Again: fuck off.
And then there's China. The largest country, population-wise, in the world. Nearly 1 in 6 people on this planet is a Chinese citizen. 1 in 6. That's quite a ratio. Over 1 billion Chinese to barely 250 million Americans.
And they are primed to take over the world.
China, despite being officially communist, is quite possibly the most successful capitalist country in this young century. Their GNP has skyrocketed. Their industrial output has skyrocketed. And, even more fearfully, their military is modernizing at a rapid rate.
It appears, in my eyes, that China wants a fight with the United States. Maybe not an overt military fight, but definitely an economic one. And, if they can figure out a way to keep their growing-too-fast economy from collapsing from underneath them, they will win.
We turned our back on Taiwan when Nixon went to China and formally recognized them as the official Chinese government. If we turn our back on China now and allow them to outpace us militarily and economically, we will no longer be king of the mountain.
But, somehow, I fear that most of you reading this don't really give a damn because you're too worried that your shoes don't match your belt or that you're running out of money for college (and won't consider a stint in the military to both help pay for school and serve your country) or that your favorite sports team or celebrity just ran into a bit of bad luck.
After all, those Great White Elephants snuck into the room somehow.