America Is a Baby in a World of Elders

by Bob Schwartz

When it comes to history, America is a baby. A big and powerful baby, but still a baby.

American leadership, and particularly certain blindered and limited exceptionalists, seems now to be acting on the premise that whatever America chooses is the best by definition—because it is America. We don’t need history, philosophy or old principles to succeed. We don’t follow roads, we make them.

Much of the rest of the world has long history, and has learned the hard way that history can’t be escaped, but must be regarded and when necessary adapted and transcended. China is not a role model for many things, but in the seventy years of post-revolutionary progress, it has learned that there is value in being heir to thousands of years of success, strife and wisdom. Yet in America there seems to be studied ignorance of political philosophy, wisdom and history. Some seem unable to pay attention to history that goes back only two centuries.

America is a baby being led by a baby. The aspiring superpowers of the 21st century are older and wiser. Who do you think has the better chance of winning in the long run?