If the United States is to play its role of energizing Europe and helping that continent pull out of its power dive of sloth, debt, and political inertia, the U.S. must first regain the headship of the West and demonstrate again an aptitude to lead an alliance. President Obama’s determined stance in Afghanistan and the impressive Iraqi election are an excellent start.
First, the U.S. must be strong in the world, and must no longer be seen as a hobbled, debt-ridden, hungover consumer state unable to find or choose a path between continuing diluvian money-supply increases and tax increases that will strangle economic growth and be a recessionary influence on the whole world.
This will require a package of domestic measures and multilateral proposals. Oversold and compromised though it is, the health-care-reform measure could be perceived in Europe as narrowing the ideological and social-policy gap with the United States. One of the few bits of good news in the recession is the reduction of the U.S. current-account deficit from the scandalous recent level of $800 billion annually to about $300 billion. This trend should be reinforced by the president’s acting quickly and radically, as he has promised, to reduce oil imports by authorizing ecologically safe offshore drilling and massively accelerating the development of safe nuclear-power capacity.
All vestiges of cap-and-trade and obscene Copenhagen payoffs to Mugabe and Chávez and other Third World dustbins must vanish. Self-flagellation inspired by the Goreite fiction of global warming (which is not, in fact, occurring) due to the carbon emissions of the advanced and developing countries (which do not seem to influence world temperature) is a concept that should be bound in garlic and sunk in cement cases with spent nuclear material in the Marianas Trench. A majestic retreat to reasonable advocacy of environmental prudence and vigilance would be a providential development.
Deficit reduction should begin with taxes on non-essential financial and financial-related transactions and energy sales. These are much better methods of restraining the compulsive gluttony of the financial and corporate-legal industries and reducing energy imports than endless government meddling with compensation levels and subsidizing of the construction of windmills. (If windmills were deployed on anything like the scale the president has advocated, their unearthly whirring noises and the hecatomb they would wreak among the bird population would soon have their current eco-champions screaming like Kennedys envisioning their approach on the horizon at Cape Cod like the trees at Birnam Wood. With this windmill fantasy, Mr. Obama has authored The Greening of Don Quixote.)
Impending progress on the deficit would replenish U.S. credibility sufficiently to enable it to resume its place as the leader of what should revive the habit of describing itself as the Free World.