21:02 GMT +319 June 2018
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    Is US World Power Diminishing?

    Level Talk with John Harrison
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    John Harrison
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    The election of Donald Trump has encouraged some commentators to state that America’s decline will now speed up, and that soon the US will soon no longer be the world’s number one power both in economic, military and cultural spheres. This, however, may not be a bad thing both for the world and for America.

    Professor Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist, mathematician, principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, and an author of ‘The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What?’ and Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat, GOP Senate foreign policy adviser, and author of ''How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice" discuss the situation.

    Professor Galtung started the program by saying that the reason that the US is losing economic power is because we tend to divide the world into halves: ‘The West and the Rest,’ and ‘the rest’ have cottoned onto the fact that they need to process raw materials themselves instead of passing them on to developed countries to process, and then seeing them sell finished products back to developing countries. China and India are both learning this, and are now competing with the developed world. Jim Jatras adds that the US somewhere along the line got economic gain and geopolitical dominance mixed up. American elites, he says, are concerned more with America achieving global dominance than the welfare of ordinary people. But this is not a traditional imperial policy, Jatras says, where countries are stripped of their resources, as we have outsourced many jobs to other countries, which benefits only the few, but not the many. After WWII, Jatras adds, America could afford to trade parts of her economic prosperity in exchange for global domination, but that policy ran dry in the 1970s.

    Professor Galtung makes it clear that one thing America is good at exporting, is arms. The US has a vested interest in wars and violence, which is reflected in American wars. But wars are counter-productive, he says. Since WWII, America has killed over 20 million people and all this generates hate towards America. Trump seems to have recognized this, Professor Galtung says.

    But in one area, Professor Galtung says, the US still rules supreme. That is with culture. Professor Galtung says that he is thoroughly addicted to the USA, even though he hates its imperial policies. Because American culture is for the average man, for the people.

    John Harrison then asks, as America is still the most powerful country with 900 military bases around the world and a vast budget, how can people say that the US is declining? Professor Galtung points out that US military might is counter-productive. Up until a very short time ago, Professor Galtung says, the US could get other counties to do the killing for it, now the US has to do the killing itself, which means, the Professor says, that the American empire is no longer functioning.

    What America needs, Professor Galtung says, is to stop trying to be the world’s policeman and sort out its own problems at home, perhaps by cooperating more closely with its neighbours, including with Mexico.

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