Even for one who has never set foot in America, it is painful to contemplate that country not at the apex of world power! The world would just be different, period! It need not even lose its pole position; it is enough to lose its interest in others! It is like life after humans – jackals on the prowl in cities, towns and everywhere, with domesticated animal survivors, cowering! It could be an exaggeration, but such a harsh world is still a possibility. It is easy to criticize the big brother, but if he loses strength, unable to stop the bullies; who else can the little ones turn to for protection? There are bullies promising now to behave but without the heft, others will be easy pickings, with even some siding with the bullies for self-preservation!
I remember with great admiration & awe America as the country that put a man on the moon over forty years ago, straining to listen to that feat live on radio! Like many others, I felt part of the adventure & proud of the whole process; with a take that the whole universe would soon be our oyster! To imagine that so much progress has been made since, but none others are able to replicate the feat! And again, how the hell did they have the gumption to send manned spacecrafts on an impossible mission, to heed the call of their President! And also to contemplate that communication technology was at its infancy when compared to the progress made since! Hats off to those with nerves of steel! And some go to such an extent that they think it was all a hoax; such claims make the achievement all the greater!
It is indeed painful to see such a country wounded, hurting, limping and lost in recent years! Playing world policeman has hurt them, having to carry the burden, sometimes alone; even at the best of times, the cooperation is hesitant, and needs lot of cajoling! Obviously, all these burdens are weighing down on America, which feels it alone can keep the baddies at bay with a higher calling, due to its might!
I feel the sad at the turn of events, mainly because of loss of focus. From being the leader in science & technology, it has changed direction falling into the trap of wealth creation, rather, making money out of thin air; the old school of hard-knocks has been replaced by looking for an easier life. All permutation & combinations used for derivative products & dispersing untenable risks; but the basic sins will return with a vengeance though the perpetrators could well find new pastures with their ill-gotten wealth. The long arm of law cannot net everyone in time.
Space explorations might have budget constraints, and there are critical areas that cry for attention. America must reinvent itself, and back away from mindless speculation that nets the best talent, and get back the focus on sustainable development. Self-sufficiency through clean energy sources is attainable which can act as a panacea for many ills & give back the confidence. Real leadership should be shown towards world peace through nuclear disarmament; why have exclusive clubs for nuclear weapons, tempting others to gatecrash?
America is the bastion of democracy, around which others build their own. A weak leader cannot boost confidence & even tempt some to usurp powers and it would soon be back to a black era! The basics that powered America have been forgotten but it can reassemble the fallen pieces and regain the past glory & refocus. It is still eminently possible to return to former glory, with the confident gait that made them stand apart, provided the ills that have seeped-in are fixed & the energy flows back through proper focus on the basics that made them such a winner. The world requires a powerful America as much as its citizens do, to show the way through an egalitarian system of society & government. Enough of temporary distractions that have made it to stray from the right path!