Letter: America’s decline has been wrongly predicted before


As a devout contrarian optimist I took heart in Gideon Rachman’s column on the pessimism of intelligence gurus, media explainers and noted academics on America’s future and China’s gleeful response (“Tale of two elites in Washington and Beijing”, Opinion, December 21).

In contrast to the impressive record of scientific and medical warnings on climate change and pandemic risks, the prognoses of political experts have been notoriously wide of the mark, from the alleged existential Japanese threat of the 1980s, the “end of history” of the 1990s, the impending “permanent Democratic majority” of the 2000s, and the triumph of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016. Astrologers did no better in a survey that August.

Rachman’s hopeful concluding note was far too tentative, given over 250 years of failed predictions of America’s decline and fall. Like our Wall…

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