February 27, 2010

America, A Big Historical Perspective

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

We’re often caught up in our own little corner of time, our own historical corner, cultural corner and geographic corner. Sometimes it’s good to step back and see the larger picture.

Often here in America, we beat ourselves up; think we’re at the end of our influence, that our destiny was a flash in the historical pan. Wars and rumors of wars, a projected deficit that’s more than our total value, ever increasing fuel and energy costs, monumental corruption in politics and business, culture wars, serial killers run amok…just multitudes of grief.

There’s a view that America is just a kid on the world stage. Since the 1400 or 1500’s, Europe has been center stage. Biggest economies, biggest and most powerful militaries, and a geographical location that allowed it to become center stage globally.

That remained the case until the end of the Twentieth century. The 500 year run of world dominance ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and 9/11. The seminal moment of change of global power happened that day of 9/11, and America responded with devastating force into the Middle East and disrupted that area for a long time to come. Meanwhile, Europe continues fragmenting and weakening, culturally, militarily, and economically, fighting amongst themselves while Islamists slowly take over.

At the same time, America is beating itself up over the things mentioned above. Some observations. We have about 4% of the world’s population, yet produce about 26% of all goods and services. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about $15-$16 Trillion; World combined GDP is about $54 Trillion. American GDP is larger than Japan, Germany, China and the UK combined.

Diminished manufacturing base to be sure, but America still produces about $26 Trillion, the most of any country in the world.

Oil we obsess about. We import a lot, but we produce over 8 million barrels a day. Russia produces about 10 million a day, and Saudi Arabia about 11 million. We’re producing nearly as much as Saudi Arabia and we have huge untapped reserves. Russia’s natural gas production is about 22 trillion cubic feet per year; America is second with about 19 trillion cubic feet per year. That amount of production is more than the next five producers combined.

America has a small population. The average population density on the planet 49 people per square kilometer; Japan is at about 340, Germany about 230 and America about 32 people per square kilometer. Plenty of room to grow, with the land and economy to do it.

The US military is the largest and most powerful. The US Navy controls all the oceans, all the sea lanes.

All these things happened due to beliefs and values that are different from Europe’s over the past five hundred years. America sits between East and West, and because of all the elements mentioned, its influence is vast, extending and influencing in both directions.

No matter what the internal political, economic, and whatever struggles go on in America, the big picture influence will grow throughout the 21st Century. All the little stuff we focus on right now may seem like a big deal, but big picture…not so much.