Are America's best days behind us?
That seemed to be the message presented by President Barack Obama during a town hall-style meeting he held Sunday in Mumbai, India. The Times of India picked up on the underlying message of Obama's remarks in a story headlined, "Obama Acknowledges Decline of US Dominance":
Implicitly acknowledging the decline of American dominance, Barack Obama on Sunday said the US was no longer in a position to "meet the rest of the world economically on our terms" ...
Obama, who just lost control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, unbashedly said the objective of his visit was to find jobs for his voters. "I want to make sure we are here because this will create jobs in the US," he said, but stressed he was for a kind of relationship which will create jobs in India as well. As he put it: "A win-win proposition." ...
While replying to a question on how Republican gains would affect US policy towards India, he switched to a larger exposition of how he saw new realities shaping geo-politics and the economy. Saying the competition from India and China was potentially a good thing, Obama suggested that the US had to face up to a changing world order.
"I do think that one of the challenges that we are going face in the US, at a time when we are still recovering from the financial crisis is, how do we respond to some of the challenges of globalization? The fact of the matter is that for most of my lifetime and I'll turn 50 next year - the US was such an enormously dominant economic power, we were such a large market, our industry, our technology, our manufacturing was so significant that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms," Obama said. "And now because of the incredible rise of India and China and Brazil and other countries, the US remains the largest economy and the largest market, but there is real competition."
"This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities."