Mitt Romney says so many provably false statements in his stump speeches that it's hard to know where to begin to tear them down. Apparently, for Fareed Zakaria, when you use the title of his book out of context, that gets him in fact checking mode. What is obviously intended to be a red meat, "Obama hates America", jingoistic rallying cry for Romney's followers is a matter of great discussion on Fareed Zakaria GPS weekly. Set the record straight, Fareed:
In 1990, China represented 2% of global gross domestic product. It has quadrupled, to 8%, and it's rising. By most estimates, China's economy will become the world's largest between 2016 and 2018. And this is not simply an economic story. China's military capacity and reach are also expanding. Beijing's defense spending is likely to surpass America's by 2025.
It's not just China that's rising. Emerging powers on every continent have achieved political stability and economic growth and are becoming active on the global stage. Twenty years ago Turkey was a fragile democracy, dominated by its army, constantly in need of Western economic bailouts. Today, Turkey has a trillion-dollar economy that grew 6.6% last year. Since April 2009, Turkey has created 3.4 million jobs - that's more than the entire European Union, Russia and South Africa put together.
Look in this hemisphere: In 1990, Brazil was emerging from decades of dictatorship and was wracked by inflation rates that reached 3,000 percent. Today, Brazil is a stable democracy, steadily growing with foreign-exchange reserves of $350 billion.
I could go on, Mitt.
Barack Obama has succeeded in preserving and even enhancing U.S. influence in this world precisely because he has recognized these new forces at work. He has traveled to the emerging nations and spoken admiringly of their rise. He replaced the old Western club and made the Group of 20 the central decision-making forum for global economic affairs. By emphasizing multilateral organizations, alliance structures and international legitimacy, he got results.
That's all too much fact and critical thinking for your average Republican voter. They don't want to contemplate the reality that all those "We're #1!!" chants mask a country where we're actually ranked 37th in medical outcomes, 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics, and 28th in life expectancy. They cheer on someone whose personal income lands him in the top one-tenth of one percent, ignoring that almost half of Americans are at or near the poverty level.
I'm sure that even as I type this, Zakaria's comments are filling up with outraged notes from conservatives denouncing him as anti-American for even suggesting that Mitt might want to educate himself on the realities of the world. But frankly, I think it's high time the media start doing this for all Americans.
It's a whole new world out there.
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