Well, 2013 is now the year that was, and boy, was it a doozer! By now we’ve all read countless reviews of the fights, feasts, and foibles of the past twelve months. But I keep coming back to what kind of a world we have created as this year draws its last. Obamacare aside – for it will be a ‘gift’ that keeps giving – our national fortunes in 2014 will be determined largely by the disastrous foreign policy which has now been firmly ensconced by this administration. The litany of its failures is torturous and long, and has resulted in our loss of respect in the eyes of both our friends and enemies. A short recounting of how our hegemony has gone to hell in a handcart is recounted here in the 31dec13 WSJ – ‘Global Order Scorecard: A reader’s guide to the world’s traumas’.
So as we face the new year, to what really do we have to look forward? The loss of liberties will continue and pick up with the new regulations that have become a blizzard from Washington and all the state houses. Remember, our common wisdom teaches that if a legislature does not give us more constraining and expensive laws during its session, then for some odd reason we call it unproductive and label it a ‘do nothing’ collection of central planners bent on extracting more while delivering less. Mark Twain and Will Rogers taught the obverse.
The upcoming November election will guarantee to make half of us very sad, while the other side celebrates staying or changing the course. My own wish for the political scene is to welcome a movement toward multiple parties that more closely reflect the ideologies of smaller constituencies. Today’s two big tent parties deliver everything you would expect from an oligopoly, and in my estimate wind up truly serving only about one out of ten Americans. The rest of us, especially the ignorant poor, take it in the neck as the country goes deeper into debt (wait till the interest rates go back to normal) and our ability to project power continues to shrink. As China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and the Muslim Misery really start flexing their muscles while we scramble to ‘lead from behind’, everyone will come to appreciate what Pax Americana has delivered in the years since the bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
However, that doesn’t mean that the domestic silly season will end any time soon. There will always be those history-challenged who will point out America’s ‘transgressions’ in Korea, Vietnam, mid-East, Iraq, Afghanistan, …, and claim that nothing has changed since 1945. So looking backward, I paraphrase the question asked Mrs Lincoln, ‘Other than that, how did you like 2013?’. And looking forward I anticipate next year’s question, ‘Other than the election, Obamacare, (insert your favorite international atrocities, etc); how did you like 2014?’
But all that aside, we are still a hopeful and a ‘can do’ people. So I leave you, dear reader, on this New Year’s Eve with a wish that your own 2014 will be prosperous, healthy, and productive.