The leaders we deserve?

Paul Craig Roberts claims that:

The discouraging fact [about the political situation in America today] is that even when faced with crisis in the economy and in foreign policy, the American political system is incapable of producing any leadership. Here we are in the worst economic crisis in a lifetime, perhaps in our history, and on the brink of war in Pakistan and Iran while escalating the war in Afghanistan, and all we get is a government made up of the very people who have brought us to these crises.

If America's leadership deficit is of such a degree that the country cannot identify a way out of the mess it has made of things, collectively commit to taking that path it has identified, then rationally following through on these choices, why should it expect to lead the rest of the world in any way at all? It should not, according to Roberts:

The era of American leadership has passed. America's shyster financial system has brought economic crisis to the world. America's wars of aggression are seen as serving no purpose except the enrichment of the military industries associated with Dick Cheney. The world is looking elsewhere for leadership.

Ironic as it may seem to Americans who derive pride from the related beliefs that the United States and Ronald Reagan won the Cold War and that America is a singular, indispensible, world-historical achievement, they may soon witness the world turn to Vladimir Putin for leadership, as Roberts suggests. But, it is worth mentioning here that Putin's 'victory' would not signal the advent of a global Russian hegemony. Rather, it would probably signal the appearance of the kind of world leadership possible at a moment when the world lacks a global hegemon and, in fact, cannot have such a beast given the dangers it would pose. This turn need not be essentially troublesome. In fact, a worldwide commitment to regional and world-system cooperation may be the best feasible future in which reasonable human beings can place their hopes.

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