As individuals, we are consistently taught about the merits of learning from our experiences and mistakes, with the expectation that we may grow both in terms of our knowledge and behaviour. If we fail to do this, then we must understand that we will subsist in a repetitive cycle of inadequacy, punctuated by sporadic highs and then lows of experience. The same philosophy applies to government rule, and a specific regime is often only as effective as the wisdom that its leaders gain from a countries history.
However, it is not only historical or domestic examples of rule that can influence a governments ideology, as knowledge and effective methodology can also be drawn from other nations across the globe. For a country to advance and continually adapt to an ever changing set of circumstances, a willingness to learn is crucial, as in awareness of its own standing in the contemporary world order. It is the unfortunate case that nations that fail to adhere to these principles often suffer from negative consequences, whether in the guise of social issues or instances of financial difficulty.
Current Examples of Prosperity
An example of the latter can be witnessed in contemporary USA, where the nation faces a series of domestic challenges while attempting to mediate in various international affairs. Given the countries perilous economic state, this diverse balance of activity is not adequately supported by the requisite financial or corporeal resources, which has the inevitable consequence that several aspirations will go unfulfilled. The current situation in the US displays a general lack of awareness, both of its own global standing and contemporary models of successful rule.
In terms of the current world order, countries like China and Australia have emerged as 2 of the most prosperous nations, especially in terms of their economic wealth and continuous growth. While China stand alone as the single most influential global power, Australia have cultivated a robust and intricately managed economy that has remained recession free for a significant period of time, and both have worked tirelessly to establish favorable policies that relate to industry, manufacturing and foreign affairs.
Put simply, the ethos of these countries and others currently experiencing prosperity is focused directly on domestic growth, and the integral needs of nationals who reside within their physical boundaries. This introspective attitude to government does not mean that these nations do not participate in international trade or assist in global tragedies, but instead that their time and capital are invested primarily in domestic interests and policy implementation. It is this well directed focus that elevates these countries to the summit of global influence, and has allowed them to usurp the US in terms of economic prosperity.
How the US Model Varies
Despite their current plight and a budget deficit shortfall of an estimated $1.5 trillion, the differences between the US and current economic super powers are fairly insignificant. However, perhaps the main variation is their attitude to foreign policy, and the nations assumed and accepted role as international mediators. As the recent uprisings in Egypt and Libya have demonstrated, the US and indeed the UK act unflinchingly at the forefront of global conflict resolution, and have continued to do so despite their own fluctuating economic fortunes.
The parallels between the US and the UK are startling, as both are extremely active in global disputes and also suffering simultaneous examples of fiscal and social hardship. These circumstances reflect 2 nations who have failed to react to the changing environment around them, as well as their reduced effectiveness as economic powers. This lack of awareness means that both countries continue to attempt to find a balance between domestic and global interactions, without having the resources to support such a diversity of interests. In this instance, it is often domestic aspirations that will suffer, and leave citizens feeling undervalued and vulnerable.
What the US must bare in mind is that while their ideals are largely courageous and admirable, (despite the ill directed cynicism of some commentators) they are not necessarily beneficial to their own citizens. Subsequently, the country and its government find themselves in a disruptive cycle, where they seek to maintain their international presence and standing while their internal economy and social conditions falter, and may ultimately lead to a situation where the US is forced into a state of severe civil unrest.
The Immediate Future for a Nation
The US cannot be expected to terminate their involvement in international affairs, especially given their historical influence and the existing level of participation in countries such as Iraq and Libya. However, the current level of physical and financial commitment outside of their national shores can surely not be sustained, especially as schools continue to close, public sector cuts are implemented and poverty continues to soar amongst the southern states. Therefore, a reduced international involvement may be significant in helping the country to advance out of its current predicament.
There is nothing wrong with learning from contemporaries, especially those who have learned their own historical lessons and evolved into prosperity. Australia may be well be the best example of self improvement and are a model of economic consistency, and the US would do well to heed their lessons of considered public expenditure even during times of unchecked growth. By studying relevant models of rule, they may well be able to assuage their domestic economic and social issues.