American Theocracy – Breaking Down the Chapters

Part 1: Oil and American Supremacy

Chapter 1: Fuel and National Power
• A country’s ability to develop a single energy resource for profit and power is strongly linked to its ability to become a global hegemony. As history has shown us, the main issue with this pursuit is due to past world economic powers inability to transition from one energy source to the next. The question here lies within the United States’ capacity to transition from oil to a post-oil system as word oil supplies are expected to decrease significantly by 2020.
• In the past, the United States has largely overestimated the amount of oil supplies remaining in the world and has generally viewed the utilization of petroleum through an American lens.
• The government’s unwillingness to thoroughly inform its citizens of the perils that lie ahead via the depletion of energy resources has created three problems: (1) the refusal to discuss the present oil crisis and its connection to geological, economic and military history (2) failure to relate the United States current energy situation to those of past world economic powers (3) the withholding of evidence that outlines the degree of oil-field depletions and lack of new discoveries that insinuate a worldwide shortage (11).
• History has shown that past world economic powers have lost their prominence after an era of innovation in energy. Although the United States transitioned into the 21st century as the focal world economic power, there were already signs of waning: the replacement of manufacturing by finance and an aging energy infrastructure (pipelines and refineries)
• The physical and economic factors of the United States’ crippling energy infrastructure are the following: the age of the U.S. oil industry, the extrapolation and reduction of U.S. oil and gas reserves (i.e. Hubbert peak), the flaws of U.S. international oil-companies, and the inefficiencies of the U.S. automobile and its market (17).
• The United States consumes a hefty amount of oil and natural gas while producing hardly any of its own.
• At the time of this writing, the top oil companies in the world were: (1) Saudi Aramco (2) Exxon Mobil (3) the National Iranian Oil Corporation (4) Petroleos de Venezuela(5) British Petroleum (6) Royal Dutch/Shell (tied) (7) Chevron (8) Total (9) Pemex and (10) Petro China. This is a major shift from the original seven sisters (American oil companies that dominated the industry between the 1930s and 1960s,) and is largely caused by the absorption of global oil reserves across the Middle East and Latin America (25).
• The central manufacturers of automobiles in the United States (Ford, GM and Chrysler) retrieve most of their profits through the sale of light trucks, SUVs and other heavy vehicles. Furthermore, these vehicles produce the highest levels of carbon-dioxide emissions. If the economic and energy landscape continues to face downturn, the United States may be susceptible to disparities in global trade.

Chapter 2: The Politics of American Oil Dependence
• Oil symbolizes American independence and fulfillment. This is partly due to the fact that it was so plentiful for two centuries in many U.S. states. Evidently, it is a defining characteristic of American lifestyle. This has caused politics to represent oil interests.
• No other nation in the world consumes as much oil as the United States. Considering how much the U.S. depends on oil, it has affected our culture tremendously as it plays a huge role in our foreign policy where we seek to invade and attain oil rich lands. Oil initially seeped into politics through its influence over party politics and the presidency.
• Oil began to exert its influence in U.S. states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia during the 1870’s. As oil rich lands were discovered in other states, this created bipartisanship within the industry. The oil industry had the most power over Texas politics as Texas was the main U.S. oil and gas producer throughout 1932-1968.By 1955, the U.S was utilizing more than one third of the world’s energy. The two decades that stand out the most in oil history in the U.S. are the 1950s and 1960s because they represented the glory days before OPEC changed the scheme.
• The election of Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first GOP candidate to gain support in all of the southern oil states. He is credited for following through on his promise to California and the Gulf States jurisdictional claims to offshore oil. He is also responsible for the vast expansion of the postwar interstate-highway program (known today as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway System). Furthermore, many of his cabinet delegates were top oil executives.
• The influence of Richard Nixon as Eisenhower’s Vice President signified the complete transformation of oil party politics. However, his decisions as President did not always coincide with the oil industry’s agenda. This is characterized by cutting the oil-depletion allowance, approved price controls on oil in 1971, and renewed them in 1973, along with the possibility of decreasing oil-import restrictions, and signing environmental legislation.
• While this was controversial, it pointed to Nixon’s underlying goal of adjusting the interests of Texan moderate to conservative oil industry Democrats. He wanted to formulate a political alliance in Texas, California, and Florida whose main concerns were oil, retirement centers and aerospace.
• Oil tremendously altered the political debate of the 1970s in four ways; to need to regularize world oil prices and reboot normalcy in the markets; prevent the Soviet Union from carrying out its agenda in the Middle East as a means to guarantee admittance to the Persian Gulf; determining other options for energy independence as domestic oil production continued to increase; and lastly, OPEC’s decision to utilize the dollar as the currency of oil purchase along with reusing these dollars for the purchases of U.S. bonds and weapons systems.
• The 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush signified a huge transition for politics in Texas and the country as a whole as this election was based around oil and the Middle East. Texas took the reins of political power as Texas became the most Republican state in the nation as it represents Republican ideals whole heartedly.
• This allowed oil to continue its prominence as oil and gas industries donated $159 million dollars to American politicians between 1990 and 2002, along with the $256 million from the transportation industry, were granted protection from clean-air legislation, and avoided tax breaks.
• The 2000 election of Texas governor George W. Bush and Halliburton chief executive Dick Cheney represented the political and global ties that oil has to the U.S. presidency. There is no other U.S. political family that neatly epitomizes the interface of oil interests, the financial sector, the intelligence community and the military/industrial industry.
• Oil has played a pivotal role in U.S. foreign policy since the Civil War era as this was the first time in U.S. history in which oil supplies were heavily contested. It’s consumption and importance is related to transforming the ability of warfare in WWI, created competition between WWI allies as to who could capture the most oil rich lands in the Middle East, and the U.S.’s domineering role in exerting its economic interests across the world.
• As the U.S. oil companies became the apparatus of domestic security and foreign policy, WWII signified the establishment of the United States as the leading economic power in the West and the world’s oil hegemon.
• Oil has made its vestige on every aspect of American culture. Due to the extent of U.S. oil and gas culture, it will be extremely difficult to transition to another energy source, which is why the U.S. maintains its dependency and seeks to protect it in every which way possible. Any attempts to steer the U.S. citizenry away from this has been backfired. The presidency of Jimmy Carter is a perfect example due to his inability to effectively retaliate against the Iranian government in 1980 and his energy politics that outline the viewpoint, “less is more”.
• Once Reagan and Bush took hold of the office, Carters efforts to reduce energy consumption were washed away by missions in Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989) and Iraq (1990-1991), all enacted to protect oil supplies and American lifestyle.
• The narrow reelection of George W. Bush in 2004 insinuated the new polarizations that were taking place amongst U.S. citizenry. While much of this is attributed to religious divides, relationships between oil, gas and automobiles play a unique role in Bush’s coalition. This relates to the fact that most oil and gas producers are found in red states, states that backed Bush are also among states with the largest car culture, and states the with largest automobile/manufacturing industries.
• The Republican administrations have left its mark areas of federal government that regulate the environment and all of its components that are utilized for consumption. These administrations have allowed theology to be one of the determining factors of natural resource issues. Although economic conservatives in the energy industries (oil, gas and coal) don’t necessarily believe in end times, their discontent with environmental regulations neatly fits with the ideals of the religious radicals in the Republican Party.

Chapter 3: Trumpets of Democracy, Drums of Gasoline
• Overall, the Iraq War is about securing oil supplies in the Middle East and the U.S. continuing its exertion as a global power. Although there are three other reasons why the U.S. decided to invade Iraq in 2003; linking the war on terror to its oil objectives, to ensure that U.S. dollar’s role in oil transaction as a means to remain the global currency, creating an appeal to the Christian right who viewed it as a destruction of the new Babylon, en route to Armageddon and redemption. All of these reasons have fused what is known as petro-imperialism, which is a combination of oil interests, foreign policy and overseas military invention, also known as the Iraq War.
• Phillips introduces the idea of a “Hundred-Year Oil War” spanning the 20th century. This is characterized by the fact that oil has been a primary interest of Western nations (Germany, Britain, Russia and America) in which they have sought to overthrow or invade Middle Eastern nations, coupled with the oil geography of the Persian Gulf and Tigris-Euphrates Valley has made it one of the main regions for warfare.
• However, Washington analysts of realpolitik claim there has been a Thirty Years War beginning in 1973 which include the invasions of Iraq and all oil-driven invasions beforehand.
• Although the formulation of OPEC caused great angst for the U.S., the 1970s is the only decade that constitutes high production and high oil revenues. The fact that most of Iraq’s oil has yet to be pumped, Iraq’s resources is what the U.S. needs to transfer power back to U.S. oil companies, reinforce the prowess of the U.S. dollar, and convert Iraq into what Phillips calls, a “oil-protectorate-cum-military base”. (p.76).
• The U.S. executes petro-imperialism by appearing that it stands behind the values of democracy, promotes freedom of pipeline routes, and neglects its constituency by focusing on how to better secure, protect, drill and ship oil. However this resource quest has been exhibited in other nations during their time of supremacy.
• Oil-based foreign policy has been displayed in George H.W. Bush’s decision to intervene in Somalia in 1992, Clinton’s partnerships with Caspian Sea region countries to ensure pipelines were kept safe, and his invasions aircraft and cruise missile attacks in Iraq in the mid to late 1990s.
• The September 11th attacks sought to assure that Washington policies were focused on fighting terror, moving oil to the background of anti-terror efforts. The counter arguments of this supposed focus were not recognized until 2004.
• In the 1990’s, UN sanctions centered on weapons of mass destruction were placed on Iraq as a means to prevent a partnership between Iraq and French, Russian and Chinese oil companies due to fears of Iraq’s capability to realign the global oil industry, estimated to be worth $1 trillion at the time. The U.S. sought to control Iraq as a means to rebuild Western countries oil company reserves, secure a military base as a means to protect oil pipelines, and reinforce the value of the U.S. dollar.
• Phillips defines what is known as “petro-imperialism” in this chapter. Petro-imperialism is the utilization of the U.S. military to globally secure, protect, drill and ship oil all while proclaiming that its endeavors are based on the values of democracy and freedom. This is exemplified by the fact that the U.S. is the primary nation concerned about its oil resources. Phillips relates this to Britain’s fall as a global hegemony as 1919-1953 characterizes the years in which Britain was pursuing oil to reduce its dependency on coal.
• The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War in 1991 was the first instances in which the U.S. engaged in military intervention overseas where oil was the primary reason. Similarly, the LA Times found that Bush’s decision to intervene in Somalia in 1992 was heavily oil driven. Bush is not the only President that based U.S. foreign policy as President Clinton formulated partnerships with Uzbekistan and other new countries in the former Soviet Union.
• In 2004, it became apparent that oil was a national-security matter to the United States. Military units all over the world were strategically placed to guard pipeline corridors and oil production centers. Examples would include the U.S. Southern Command in Colombia and the European Command in Georgia. As the U.S. military expands its role as the global oil protection force, it is likely that it will begin to receive its imported oil primarily from countries that are hostile and possibly unstable such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Colombia, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Indonesia, and Russia.
• It came to light in the 2000 and 2001 that American oil production had reached its ceiling. Furthermore, global oil production was said to peak within five or ten years as well excluding OPEC nations. This caused American oil companies to fear for the future of their companies in terms of profits. During this time, many Americans were worried that OPEC would threaten the viability of the dollar. Climatologists also contended that the vast amount of hydrocarbon fuels dispersed into the atmosphere during the 20th century alone posed major threats for global climate change. Lastly, the agenda of American Christians began to emerge as they told polltakers that they anticipated the biblical prophecies of Armageddon to be true. Approximately 70-80 of Republican constituents are comprised of energy producers and consumers, the upper class, and fundamentalist, Pentecostal and evangelical Christians.
• Phillips credits Dick Cheney for recruiting a domestic constituency that supported an invasion of Iraq due to his experience in military affairs, invading Iraq in 1991, global oil issues and U.S. domestic politics. Cheney knew very well how to address the anxiety of the U.S. oil industry. For instance, it was well known by 1998 that the U.S. imported more than half the oil it consumed. In 1999, Cheney announced the prediction to the London Institute of Petroleum that by 2010, the U.S. would need to order an additional 50 million barrels per day.
• Many policy analysts, government officials and other people associated with government made vast speculations regarding the reasons for invading Iraq. Numerous accounts suggest that the future of major U.S. and U.K. oil companies was a predominant factor in moving forward with the Iraq war. Looking past the accusations of weapons of mass destruction, there was talk regarding whether or not the dollar would be used to buy and sell Iraqi oil as American and European policymakers engaged in currency and monetary competition. In particular, 2002 and 2003, the protection of the dollar was largely at stake.
• Aside from the survival of the U.S. dollar and countdown of oil reaching its peak, climate change began to reap through national conversation as per environmentalists. These fears were largely dismissed by the Bush Administration, from Republicans and Democrats alike, despite the fact that the industrial revolution of the late 19th century along with the entire 20th century contributed to the excessive consumption of hydrocarbons and other chemicals. Oil geologists, top oil company executives, currency analysts, climatologists and evangelicals all had their own time frame of drastic, major events to occur. Overall, there are peculiar similarities between the current state of the United States and past world powers that Phillips continues to discuss in the remainder of the book.
Part 2: Too Many Preachers

Chapter 4: Radicalized Religion: As American As Apple Pie
• The Christian religion has always had missionary undertones in the United States, most specifically the Protestant sect. Come the 20th century, religious fanaticism took on a new face as missionaries refocused their efforts on salvation through the anticipated return of Christ via end of times countdowns. The presidency of George W. Bush affirmed the belief that supposedly, the United States is a nation of God’s “chosen people”.
• At the turn of the 21st century, America began to experience a powerful formation of Evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal denominations. In fact, so many small and medium size denominations have arisen that it has been hard to sample their religiosity, which is partially attributed to their reluctance to participate in such samplings. Phillips begins to touch upon the comparison between the United States and other militant and economic world powers of the past, making references to 17th century Puritans, Presbyterian Covenanters, Dutch or Swiss Calvinists, in regards to their intensity and status as a large minority group of religions. However, the importance and variety of religious radicalism seen in the United States holds unique characteristics that undoubtedly, as the author suggests, makes it, “truly as American as apple pie.” (104).
• Phillips outlines the following reasons for its functionality; the similarity between Britain and the U.S. in professing itself as a chosen nation and how Britain led many people to depart for American colonies for religious refuge, the multitude of denominations as compared to Europe, higher rates of churchgoers, the convergence of denominations based on shared theology and ideology, the popularity of the belief of the second coming of Christ most notably by Pentecostals, the influence of the Bible on American culture, the prevalence of narrow-minded emotion and revivalism, and ever-increasing trend of former central denominations losing their influence to smaller radical denominations who essentially begin to outnumber their predecessors.
• In the beginning of the 21st century, no other Western nation besides the United States had congregations that practiced revivalism (outward displays of personal salvation) in such a manner that is largely displayed amongst radical sects. However, Phillips notes that this behavioral practice dates back to 17th and 18th century Presbyterian “holy fairs” held in Scotland and Ireland. This behavior is characterized by shaking, crying, falling, and shrieking. These practices have been recognized through many religious sects in the United States since the end of the American Revolution and are centered around the belief of the second coming of Christ. Consequently, these revival sessions caused the evangelical sects to increase.
• Phillips takes us through the timeline of the practice of revivalism as it evolved with various denominations. Specifically, he makes references to Baptists and Methodists as the sects who inherited the revivalism practices seen in Ireland and Scotland. By the 1830’s, there was a frontier-restorationist movement to change people’s perceptions of Christianity put forth by the Baptist and Methodist sects that was largely recognized in states engulfed in the Ohio Valley and the upper South. These sects were entitled, the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He also provides significant details regarding the formation of the Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. After the Civil War, the breakdown of the Methodist and other central Protestant denominations (Presbyterians (USA) and Congregationalists) began slowly but surely. However, their relative decline was not largely recognized until the 1930s as fundamentalist, Pentecostal and other smaller sects were gaining considerable membership.
• The 20th century experienced a large growth of sectarian groups that is comparable to the rates seen in the 18th and 19th century. Fundamentalism planted its roots in the last quarter of the 19th century thanks to an acclaimed evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. Moody’s successors conjured a series of booklets, entitled “The Fundamentals”. These writings preached the thesis of evangelism as it asserted the importance of the Holy Spirit after conversion, detailed the second coming of Christ, and the accuracy of the Bible. This facet of Protestantism adopted the name ‘fundamentalist’ to distinguish its beliefs and consequently spread like wildfire, particularly during the 1920s-1960s, which is a focal point for many religious historians. Pentecostalism’s variation is largely centered on the practice of speaking in tongues.
• In the 1960s, mainstream Protestant denominations (Methodists, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and Episcopalian) declined due to their increasingly liberal stances on politics, war, society, civil disobedience and more. As history shows, changes in theological supremacy move adjacently with political and societal changes. Phillips cites various statistics within this chapter that demonstrate the increases within the Pentecostal sect. During the period between 1960 and 1997, “the Southern Baptist Convention added 6 million, the Mormons 3.3 million, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God 2 million, and the Church of God (Tennessee) some 600,000 (p. 118) The shift of theological dominance in the United States portrays why many Americans nowadays strongly believe in the accuracy of the bible and the nearness of the end times. Phillips notes that this is not the first time in U.S. history where religion has had an influential role in politics and warfare as this relationship dates back to the 17th century.
• Many people underestimate the impact of religion on American politics and war. Phillips exemplifies this assertion by referring to the role of religion when philosophies such Marxist economics, scientific modernism, Enlightenment fashion and more began to emerge. Alas, religion has been intertwined with American politics and war since the colonial days. Economics and religion become relatable during times of stagnant growth and panics. Phillips also points to three notable wars that succinctly demonstrate the extent of this relationship such as the English Revolution of the 1640s, the American Revolution, and the 1861-1865 War Between the States. This inference has also been made about the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, and in the two military engagements between the U.S. and Iraq.
• American people, particularly religious radicals, profess their self-importance, as a nation chosen by God, to play a unique role in this world. Phillips points to the disillusionment of the Spanish armadas and the German Army during World War I. The pervasiveness of religious radicals believing they have a biblical agreement with God is worrisome as it relates to the leadership of the United States.
• Vast religious and political renovation in the United States, with largest alterations occurring in the South, has caused presidential election precedence, military conquests, and the formation of Southern Baptists as the leading U.S. Protestant denomination, a reality that echoes the dreams of Confederates.

Chapter 5: Defeat and Reconstruction: The Southernization of America
• Phillips proclaims that the culture of the South has had a significant effect upon U.S. politics, specifically referring to the profusion of the Southern Baptist Convention and the election of George W. Bush. He exemplifies this by stating that for the first time in history, the following states -Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – voted against the successor of Bill Clinton.
• The differences between the values of the North and South in the United States are derived from the Civil War era 1790-1860, in which, the origins of many people who settled in the North and South were vastly different.
• One of the hidden premises of the Civil War was the interpretation of the Bible as it related to slavery. This remerged again after 1865 during the Reconstruction era. Phillips coins this feature of the war as the, “Hidden Civil War” (137).
• The Civil Rights movement is largely regarded by historians as a ‘second Civil War or a ‘second Reconstruction’.
• The implications of the Civil War can still be felt in modern times as it still displayed in their culture; state rights, white supremacy and honor are notable examples. Alas, many historians regard the Civil War as a theological war. Phillips makes the connection between the South’s forceful exceptionalism and religious sects bred from this region.
• The Confederates constantly referenced the Bible during the Civil War as the answers to their experiences within the war, such as abolitionism and losing battles. It has been cited that politicians such as Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun pondered the survival of the United States if they were not able to unite religiously.
• The South’s religious identity is the only thing they could really hold onto during the period of transition between the Civil War and Reconstruction. White supremacy seeped through the membership of Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian denominations. Phillips provides pivotal information by stating how the South has generated a plethora of historians who speculate the notions of the Civil War. The Southern Baptist Convention has been coined as, “the backward glance” (148).
• The Southern Baptist Convention has endorsed the Republican influence in the South since the 1990s, which evidently led to the win of George W. Bush. Their strong conservatism has allowed their values to deviate from mainline sects as their membership is largely comprised of fundamentalists. Their preaching focuses on regional culture, hierarchy and slavery and has caused the alienation of poor white people who are not able to afford their ostentatious approach to missionary.
• The Southern Baptist Convention’s prominent roots are derived from the formation of a regional bloc of eight states, spearheaded by Virginia, in 1845. The SBC are responsible for providing the Confederate army with religious literature. After the war ravaged the South, the Southern Baptist Convention regrouped ferociously during Reconstruction.
• Meanwhile, in 1985, the all-black National Baptist Convention became the United States second-largest Baptist denomination. The NBC’s values are entirely different as they trained themselves for self-government, which would consequently serve them well during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
• Although there is a dividing discourse amongst religious scholars as to whether or not modern day Southern Baptist Convention fits the description of a fundamentalist, the majority believes members of the Southern Baptist Convention adhere to the general definition.
• Phillips states that there are many similarities between the Southern Baptist Convention and its predecessors found in countries such as Netherlands, South Africa, Ireland and Scotland.
• The main characteristics of the Southern Baptist Convention are the following: unique, distinctive, independent, separate, expansionist, and a keep of the regional and cultural flame (159).
• Phillips speculates that if the Greater South were more united in 1861 and 1862, the Confederacy would have had a better chance of winning the war. He connects this to the fact that in modern times, the Greater South has leverage in regards to the national population, political and economic clout.
• A significant migration occurred between 1910 and 1960 in which 4.5 million African Americans migrated North while 4.6 million Whites moved to the Midwest and West. The migration of White people westward is credited for the increasing amount of military bases and war industries found in these areas. This influx was prominent during 1941-1945 and had lasting effects on the membership of the Southern Baptist Convention as their following base increased dramatically in Western states between 1940 and 1974.
• As the Southern Baptist Convention mostly consists of white conservatives, their preaching asserts that the answers to life are outlined in the Bible and are entwined with the second coming of Jesus. Anything else, such as government social-welfare programs, only deviates from personal responsibility and salvation.

Chapter 6: The United States in Dixie Cup: The New Religious and Political Battlegrounds
• The presidency of George W. Bush is not the first time the United States has experienced the reign of a political party that encompasses southern ideology coupled with fundamentalism and inerrancy of the Scripture that allows for a drastic shift in national government. The only other time that a president has ever had such a profound effect on the ideology of government is the presidency of Democrat Andrew Jackson, beginning in 1828.
• Many political and social tensions seen in modern-day United States reverberate that of the pre-Civil War era. Examples include: contrasting views of blue and red states, the leverage of war hawks within politics, the frequency of Bibles being utilized as a public policy guide, American exceptionalism and the forecast of end-times (i.e. Armageddon). Phillips states there is much need for caution due to the eeriness of these parallels, especially when you consider the destruction that religious radicalism and global crusaders have caused for previous world powers.
• The reversal of philosophy between Democrats and Republicans is something worth recognizing when trying to understand how the Republican Party was shaped to the way it is now. Southern states did not begin to vote Republican until 1920 that represented their opposition of Woodrow’s Wilson’s involvement in Europe’s war. Phillips outlines the trajectory of change as per presidential voting patterns and social ideals of Southern states. Examples include: the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, racial tensions during the late 1940s and 1950s and the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
• Although it took five decades to actualize this transference, it was clear by 1980 that Democrats were no longer able to attract southern and evangelical supporters. Democratic policies heavily contradicted the ideals of southern culture, religion, foreign policy and states’-rights issues.
• Most of the notable instances in which the GOP advanced its leverage are derived from angry white reactions to the policies pursued by southern and border-state Democratic presidents. The political environment of the American Civil Rights Movement, the 60s, 70s and 80s caused this southern shift from the Democratic to Republican Party. By the 1990s, the United States began to experience a shift in political culture that is characterized by beliefs and theology.
• Since 1980, the presence or lack of religiosity became the determining factor amongst U.S. citizens as to what party they subscribed to. For instance, religious Americans (regardless of faith) move towards the Republican Party, while nonreligious Americans have moved towards the Democratic Party. This is also the first time the United States has had a religious party and is the only influential Western nation that is wrapped up in religious conservatism.
• As per a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll in 2004, 1972 was the beginning of the religion gap in the United States (184). From there, Phillip outlines the changes in political alignment up until 2004.
• The shift in religious identity within the United States became prominent by 2004 as approximately 43-46% of Americans considered themselves as born again in the Christian faith (193). As per data, George W. Bush was elected in 2000 and 2004 because of the voter turnout of this population. White evangelicals increased their support for George W. Bush from the 2000 to 2004 election.
• Republicans used to attract many votes from mainline Protestants but the 2004 election displayed the shift from Republican to Democrat as more mainline Protestants voted for Kerry. This is due to the fact that this denomination tends to have a more liberal theology and care about issues like the environment and poverty (198).
• Overall, data has shown that denominations such as evangelical, Pentecostal and fundamentalist grew the fastest at the turn of the 21st century, which in turn, has allowed their beliefs to have leverage in the political environment.
• According to Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby in Fundamentalisms Observed, “Fundamentalisms arise in times of crisis, real or perceived. The sense of change may be keyed to oppressive and threatening social, economic or political conditions, but the ensuing crisis is perceived as a crisis of identity by those who fear extinction as a people” (205).
• Author/professor, Charles Kimball, has branded five main tendencies of fundamentalism: “1) claiming absolute truth; 2) seizing upon an “ideal time,” as in claims for imminent cataclysms or fast-approaching end times; 3) fostering blind obedience; 4) using ends to justify means; and 5) pursuing “holy war” as in the Crusades (and to some extent the Gulf War)” (205).
• It was clear by 2004 and 2005 that George W. Bush was invoking fundamentalist ideals into American politics in a variety of ways: presidential-campaign discourse; the decline of American influence in Iraq, and the White House’s involvement in “right to die” case via Terri Schiavo (208). Apart from the evolving environment of the Republican and Democratic parties, these examples displayed the “southerinzation” of our government. Consequently, this led to an alternation of the relationship between church and state as theocracy began to plant its presence firmly into U.S. politics (208).
• Phillips proclaims that it is reasonable to consider the effect fundamentalist and evangelical churches has had on supporting the Republican Party, similar to the role business, labor, farm, pro- and anti-slavery groups had on previous presidential elections. This can be linked to the fact that red-state Republican conferences decree the United States as Christian nation, seek the withdrawal from the United Nations, and consistently press for anti-gay and anti-abortion amendments.
• Bush’s political theology has characterized the discourse of America’s relationship with the rest of the world.
• The Southern Baptist Convention, Mormon and Lutheran churches are the Protestant denominations that are strongly associated with intertwining religiosity with political clout and everyday community governance.
• Phillips claims that the rise of these denominations makes it plausible to assert that theocracy has recaptured its hold on politics, which is comparable to its role in the Republic when New England states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) sustained Congregational churches via law.
• Evidently, the religious right has had an effect on cultural as many of its preachers became extremely wealthy through bestselling books, videos, sermons and Bible hours, TV stations and broadcast networks (217).
• The characteristics of the religious right (forcefulness via foreign policy, replacement of faith for reason, missionary persistence, etc.) have destroyed previous world powers such as Rome, Spain and Britain (217).

Chapter 7: Church, State and National Decline
• Regardless of religious identity, the main concerns of Americans during the early 2000s were the following: “immortality, decadence, crime, terrorism, private and public corruption, moneyed politics, greed and luxury, and the stratification of wealth and power” (218). However, definitions and emphasis on these issues varied significantly depending on ideology.
• As per Charles Kimball’s five tendencies of fundamentalism, not all need to be present to indicate the decline of a past world economic power. Conversely, Phillips has his own five symptoms of decline in which he has outlined in several of his books over the last two decades. Phillips “symptoms” are as follows, 1) national concern over cultural and economic decline 2) increasing religious fanaticism 3) increasing commitment to faith over science 5) countries that are constantly pursuing international missions via military overreach are prone to its unsustainable consequences via politics and economics.
• Phillips relates these notions to the history of past world powers such as Rome, Spanish-centered Hapsburg Empire, the Netherlands, and Great Britain, warning that each symptom aforementioned was recognizable during the periods that began to mark their decline.
• Religious fanaticism did not play as large of a role in the decline of Dutch and British empires as it did in Rome and Spain. However, he notes this symptom is worrisome for the United States, as it has become a prominent feature in national pride via political discourse.
• The relationship between faith and science is a symptom that was notable in Rome and in Victorian Britain. We have seen contemporary evangelical Protestantism challenge the validity of rational thought in the 1920s and again, in the beginning of the 21st century.
• The previous four world powers all displayed economic, cultural and social divisions during the later years of their reign. To clarify, Phillips explains this “decay” (229) in two parts: economic and social divisions are characterized by progressives complaining about the state of society while conservatives and fundamentalists are outraged by, in their eyes, moral and cultural degradation (i.e. fashion, fancy cuisine, prostitution, the acceptance of homosexuality, etc).
• The belief of Christ imminent return or Armageddon is a feature that has been present in all four previous world powers and usually conjoins the preponderance of war.
• Lastly, the inability of nations to avoid excessive international involvement, specifically foreign military oversight, is a pivotal characteristic of a nation’s decline. Nowadays, the question in matter is whether or not oil and/or religion-based conflict in the Middle East will put America in its place.
• The political rise of Christian conservatism is exemplified through trends such as meddling with rational thought such as science, a biblical standpoint of climatology and petroleum geology, and a refurbished relationship of church and state. Phillips warns readers again by stating that none of these trends are in the United States favor. Alas, it has already been overtly exercised, as it is a word for word platform of the 2004 Texas Republican Party.
• During George W. Bush’s first term, many Republican legislators rivaled one another to be “theologically correct” (234). Theological correctness became a dogma in Republican Party as it heavily influenced Middle Eastern geopolitics, repelling global AIDS, abortion and the legal rights of fetuses, misleading the public regarding the reasons for the Iraq invasion and describing geological controversies as if they were justified via the Book of Genesis (236).
• Phillips delves into theological correctness by examining areas of society in which theology began to overtake previous notions (logic and realpolitik) via political discourse. Since 2001, constituency politics have increasingly imposed theology onto many principal areas of society: birth, life, death, sex, health, medicine, marriage, and the role of family. Furthermore, we have seen its influence on climate, natural resources, global warming, resource exhaustion, environmental regulation, and petroleum geology. The Christian right is also typically in favor of deregulation and protecting the interests of corporate America and the individual pursuit of the wealthy, as this ties in neatly with self-interest interpretations of the Bible. Lastly, theological has heavily influenced American foreign policy as it relates to the war on terror in the Middle East, the second coming of Christ and the end times (237-239).
• Due to the immense pressure of the religious fanatics, the requirement of being theologically correct causes many Republican politicians and their respective party conventions to deviate their stance on a number of issues frequently.
• The most extreme religious constituency within the GOP is the Christian Reconstructionist Movement, as they seek the most changes regarding church-state relations. Their objectives consist of altering public education with religious education through, utilizing biblical law, and giving Christian men the authority to impose such radical changes. Phillips notes that there is not enough evidence to determine this constituency’s degree of influence on U.S. politics.
• By the beginning of George W. Bush’s second term (2005), religious issues began to arise in the federal judiciary as they primarily deal with issues regarding, “sex, life and death, church-state separation, and the global contest between good and evil” (245).
• There are many other examples where religion has tried to take over the discourse and findings of the scientific community; ranging from curing disease such as HIV/AIDS, evolution to climate change via the Bush Administration’s intrusion on the Environmental Protection Agency. Many observers have recognized that the qualifications and incentives of Bush’s allies and advisors were largely religious.
• Phillips makes a connection between past world powers and the United States through the disintegration of scientific-infrastructure, warning that it is not being adequately funded and many significant research universities are falling behind their international counterparts.
• In order to exemplify the connection between momentous wars and religious aspirations, Phillips outlines the notable crusader wars by Roman, Britain, Dutch, and Spanish empire, asserting that the antichrist and Armageddon was the main feature of their rhetoric. The role of evangelical religion, biblically driven foreign policy, and the crusader mentality that has fluctuated throughout world history, makes it extremely difficult for nations to sustain the increasing economic burden of dismantling strategy and energy.
• Nonetheless, the Bush Administration of the early 2000s displayed these qualities in a much more powerful fashion.

Part 3: Borrowed Prosperity

Chapter 8: Soaring Debt, Uncertain Politics, and the Financialization of the United States
• The economic transformation surrounding the finance, insurance and real estate sector is largely attributed to financial deregulation of the 1980s, in which its sector accounts for 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The rapid growth of debt, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, is directly connected to the growth of the financial services.
• Financial services became a profitable sector because it increased the artificial purchasing power of American households, i.e. taking out loans to consume or revitalize income.
• The new role of debt and credit as it relates to the financial sector is the third major danger that can affect the vitality of the United States in the future.
• Under normal circumstances for a typical nation, the overbearing presence of debt has negative consequences. The United States is unique in this situation since the dollar is the world’s reserve currency and for that reason, is typically able to print more money when needed. This approach to fiscal policy has led Phillips to coin it as “debtsmanship: how big a deficit could the United States get away with, and for how long?” (270).
• Many economic strategies were utilized in the 1980s under the Reagan Administration that led to excess for stakeholders of corporate America and their political companions. In 1980, George H.W. Bush coined many of the suggestions made about the impact of financial deregulation as “voodoo economics” (270).
• As a result, income inequality expanded adjacent to dwindling manufacturing industry. This consequence is recognizable when one examines the extraordinary decline of the U.S. personal savings rate since this shift in economic policy (273).
• For clarification, Phillips explains that this mounting problem of debt did not spring out of nowhere in the 1980s, rather it has been slowly permeating our economic health since the 1960s and 1970s. The 1960s marked the decade where the psychological basis for economic activity was based on consumerism, stock market booms, and borrowing (275).
• John Maynard Keynes’ theories of handling debt became increasingly popular during the Democratic presidential cycle, beginning in 1933, up until inflation of the 1970s. Many Republicans remained influenced by Keynes’ theories, with the exception of Richard Nixon, and were especially prominent during the Reagan administration as debt theories of Keynes were applied in tax-cuts, military spending, restoring infrastructure and bailing out financial corporations.
• This allowed current-account deficits to remain stable as many debt philosophers pointed to the prospects of foreign investment. This positive outlook about debt began to wane once there was word of a tech bubble in 1998-2000, in which a stock-market crash and a recession subsequently followed. By the time George W. Bush took office in 2001, he mentioned the importance of decreasing the U.S.’s national debt and increasing the Medicare budget for the future.
• By 2004, many citizens were skeptical as the nation’s economic health became considerably worse as compared to ten years ago. Many were focused on the overwhelming amount of tax-cuts, the increasing loss of manufacturing jobs, the human and economic costs of the 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation, the volatility of the oil markets, and the decreasing value of the dollar from 2002-2004. On top of that, national, international, financial, corporate, and household public and private debt were setting records in regards to the amount and the velocity of accumulation (278).
• The increasing levels of debt during this time is attributed to the massive reductions in interest rates coupled with a plethora of tax-cuts, which caused a housing boom and rejuvenated stocks post 2002-2004 market crash. Stocks were replenished by, “1) giving business cheap capital 2) allowing debt-burdened corporations to refinance and 3) motivating individual investors to buy stocks instead of leaving cash in money-market accounts that paid negligible and even negative real interest” (278).
• The fact that economic relief via monetary policy was focused on the FIRE sector reaffirms the shift of interest within our political system.
• One way or another, debt has caused bubbles and periodic crises for a nation’s economy. Never before has political leaders urged it’s citizens to take on unprecedented levels of debt as a means to improve the health of the U.S. economy. Post-September 11th, this marketing strategy was implemented all over the place as a means to impede consumerism.
• Income inequality is another warning sign of past world powers and is a red-flag for the United States as the sector with the highest gains employs the least amount of people per the entire workforce.
• Phillips makes many references as to where the FIRE sector has gained influence within politics, to the point where many political careers depend on it. This is seen in elections and the revocation of policy such as the Glass-Steagall Act of the New Deal era. Most of this influence is seen within both Bush administrations as their family has always been heavily involved within the sector.
• Phillips makes a connection to the role of finance in America to that of previous world powers such as Britain and the Dutch, who were also known for their techniques of directing global finance, central banking, market and trade (286).
• The importance of upholding the vitality of the financial sector is exemplified through their ability to call on the Federal Reserve and, in some cases, the Treasury Department to bail out banks, hedge funds, bondholders and critical currencies that are “too big to fail”. Conversely, this occurs because the government continues to maintain minimal regulatory oversight (288).
• Along with changes in federal policy, banking deregulation has successfully altered American social values regarding consumer credit and debt to the point where it catches the attention of teenagers. Alas, we have turned into a society that is obsessed with consumption due to the objectives of mass marketing/media and finance.
• Phillips points out that the deregulation of financial services goes against the ideologies of America’s founding fathers and notable presidents (Washington, Adams, Roosevelt, etc.) that were entirely aware of the harmful effects of greed and the incentives to control it.
• The United States pursuit of mass consumption is by no means unique in terms of the history of past world economic powers. Many of the symptoms surrounding economic are all too familiar, and for that reason, worrisome.

Chapter 9: Debt: History’s Unlearned Lesson
• Past world powers did not beam with financial preeminence from the get-go. All but Spain has followed a trajectory of agriculture, fishing, commerce and industry, and then finance.
• A behavioral pattern associated with the development of capitalization is the time period where the leading capitalist nation undergoes innovative invention of complex financial instruments, which eventually surpasses the production of real goods and services.
• The development of these instruments places importance on stock and bond markets, insurance, brokerage, global finance, and the materialization of considerable rentier communities.
• Rentier is defined as a, “person living off unearned income” (307). Spain, Holland, Great Britain and the United States have all been characterized as a rentier culture. Nonetheless, rentier cultures leave nations open to economic danger.
• Overtime, high debt ratios became an integral characteristic of developing global economic supremacy, leaving each of the world powers to become acquainted with its presence, continue its practice and utilize its devices.
• This only proved to serve these nations well during their early and middle years when their industries, exports, and capitalizations were still growing. Debt became an issue as the importance of these variables began to wane, along with the lack of foundation and/or upkeep of their manufacturing industries. As history has shown us, financialization is not sufficient to maintain equilibrium across incomes.
• The balance of manufacturing and finance, while maintaining economic prowess, is possible. Phillips points to three other countries who do this quite well even though they having higher wages and overall production costs. Germany, Switzerland and Japan maintain a relatively thriving financial sector while producing products that are of great quality.
• Along with deindustrialization, America is also suffering from a waning technological sector that is attributed to the following factors, as concluded by Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute: “1) research and development; 2) present and future workforce education, and 3) the particular peril posed to high-technology leadership by the nation’s increasing ability to implement, test, or support that expertise in an actual manufacturing milieu” (315).
• Many American economists hind behind Adam’s Smith’s “invisible hand” theory which has resulted in the overlook of strategic economic thinking as they fail to consider integral pieces to the puzzle such as adjustment costs, closed factories, disintegrated skills, and communities in shambles. Authors and economists alike assert that the Bush Administration fails to understand the solutions needed to reverse our debt crisis.

Chapter 10: Serial Bubbles and Foreign Debt Holders: American Embarrassment and Asian Opportunity
• By the beginning of the 21st century, the United States faced many risks being the world’s largest debtor and borrower. Furthermore, the U.S. was running many trade deficits due to the fact that it consumes more than it exports. Evidently, the world economy has clout on the U.S consumer. This is largely due to the fact that the manufacturing sector has declined tremendously in the United States, allowing Asian economies to pick up where they left off.
• Due to Chairman Greenspan’s lack of action in counteracting the buildup of credit or asset bubbles in 2002 and 2004, it is plausible that extraordinary damage will be visible in the future. The manipulation of private debt has a strong relationship to politics and government and the policy designated to fuel consumer demand.
• Along with the disintegration of manufacturing and the formulation of finance, wages as a portion of personal income has severely receded. A new environment erupts as a result of this shift, which is characterized by the following: the reduction of quality jobs and wages, and the stabilization or increase of consumer demand, particularly through the acquisition of credit cards.
• At the time of this writing, a housing bubble was looming over the economy that was projected to be worse than the stock market crash from 2002-2004. International historical research suggested that it would have an overtly adverse effect on the economy as the private sector created a plethora of new jobs related to housing between 2001 and 2005.
• Infamous millionaire investor Warren Buffet, known for his dismissal of the finance industry and its mechanisms, specifically derivatives and credit-default swaps, has mocked the theory of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. Furthermore, in reference to substantial trade deficits, Buffet has suggested that Americans are consistently spending more than they have for the benefit of other markets and finance companies.
• The rapid occurrence of financial mergers and leeway of hedge funds, coupled with the invention of complex financial instruments for higher profit margins has essentially allowed the financial sector to capture the functionality of the economy.
• The two new instruments that posed the greatest threat to the security of the economy are credit-default swaps (CDSs) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).
• All facets of debt were expanding during the beginning of the 21st century; national debt to pay for stimulus, corporate debt, consumer debt and mortgage debt. However, corporate debt was utilized for the restoration of stock-market capitalization. Phillips concludes that the status of private determined the course of public policy.
• Many academic experts have pointed to federal deficits and lack of national savings as the causation of current-account deficits. Phillips refutes this assertion by mentioning the fact that wages no longer amount to the same share of national income, which is exemplified through the dismantlement of our manufacturing sector and our consumption of oil relative to the amount we produce. It is time to put aside the talk of savings and focus on the reality which is the United States overdependence on manufactured and petroleum imports for East Asia and the Middle East.
• The United States is following in Spain’s footsteps by using its global clout to borrow for its levels of consumption and has, as a result, created the biggest national current-account deficit ever seen in history.
• Asian central bank purchased massive quantities of U.S. Treasury debt in the wake of the 2001-2002 stock market crash. This helped to maintain the viability of the dollar as many other private investors were reducing their holdings.
• If Asian central banks, for whatever reason, were to stop increasing their dollar reserves adjacent to the expansion of the U.S. current-account deficit, the federal government would face an extraordinary burden paying off short-term debt if interest rates were to rise on 2-5 year treasury notes.
• The six danger zones of indebtedness, slightly unique to the characteristics of the United States, are: 1) national debt 2) household debt 3) financial debt 4) fixed exchange rates 5) current account deficit 6) terror/resource based war in the Middle East (338-339).
• Major wars have played a large role in the transition of one world economic power to another. If the United States involvement in the Middle East extends over a long period of time, perhaps causing guerrilla or civil wars, the end result could have damaging effects economically and militarily.
• Phillips relates the lifetime of a nation to that of human beings in which each nation has its youth, maturity, old age and passing. During the end of a nation’s lifetime, many factors besides economics and military can erode its sustainability.
• The impact of indebtedness is focused on the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare. Phillips asserts that the promises of these programs may fall short of expectation due to our oil and debt problems. What’s concerning is the possibility that it may happen sooner than projected.
• Ultimately, the main factors that threaten the future of the U.S. hegemony are our fiscal irresponsibility, oil dependency and radical religion.

Chapter 11: The Erring Republican Majority
• In more or less words, Phillips holds the Republican Party responsible for the proliferation of oil dependency, indebtedness and radical religion, particularly since 2000.
• The special interests of the Republican Party are a causation of the threats looming over the United States.
• Although the Middle East started to become the top producer of oil between 1973 and 1981, the United States made an agreement with OPEC to price oil in dollars.
• As debt began to grow, due to the ascendancy of financial services in the early 2000s, and U.S. oil production continued to decrease, many experts wondered how long it would be until oil was no longer priced in dollars.
• The subversion of the dollar was recognized pre- Iraq invasion because many OPEC nations were reducing their holdings and moving investments to their own stock markets and real estate.
• Many potential scenarios could cause a substantial slump in the U.S. economy such as: sudden increase of interest rates, stock-market crash, currency speculation, the burst of a housing-bubble, or perhaps a combination of these factors which could then result in trade protectionism, foreign banks to reduce their dollar holdings, the deflation of assets and more (350-351).
• In response to the instability of the economy and the increasing dependence on foreign energy, the Bush Administrated enacted legislation in 2005 that excluded options for reducing the demand of oil, improving the efficiency of automobiles, and the utilization of renewable energy sources,
• In the early 2000s, most notably 2000 and 2003, average Americans were in favor of religious public officials as it seemed to be a quality they looked for in choosing their electorates. Evidently, George W. Bush was quite expressive regarding his religiosity and references to the biblical via political rhetoric.
• Citizens began to catch on mid-decade as poll respondents were expressing their discontent with the increasing connection between church and state.
• Theological correctness is largely a symptom of the Republican Party as born-again and frequent church-attending voters push the envelope with issues such as sex, life and death, the First Amendment and church-state relations (357).
• While the number of American debt was increasing via foreign shareholders, the U.S. oil strategy through the invasion and occupation of Iraq proved to be inefficient as OPEC was raising the price of barrels and gradually depleting their reserves of dollars. This move signified OPEC hostility towards the United States as the motives of the Iraq invasion was clear to outsiders looking in: conquering Iraq oil production and driving down prices.
• The emergence of China’s manufacturing industry since the mid-1990s has replaced any glimmer of hope that U.S. manufacturing will ever get back on its feet. This has led to increased direct foreign investment overseas as American companies can make the same amount of money that foreigners make by investing in the United States, therefore leaving no incentive to invest in manufacturing at home.
• By 2004, many multinational corporations avoided taxes by keeping their profits in off-shore accounts. Federal tax legislation was enacted as a means to encourage corporations to bring their profits back home through the reduction of taxes via profits accumulated before 2003 and on liquidity held in foreign subsidiaries.
• The Republican Party’s track record has shown that its policy decisions are based on faith, rather than reason. Their perseverance affects domestic economics, foreign policy, science and constitutional law.
• As time went on, most of America was revoking its support for the invasion of Iraq with the exception of evangelicals. Phillips asserts that it is safe to assume that there is a hefty constituency that supports the following doctrines: “1) putting a top priority on following religious principles in foreign policy; 2) adhering to a Bible-centered worldview; and 3) favoring U.S. military intervention in the Middle East to promote the fulfillment of end-times prophecy and the second coming of Christ” (364).
• Although support for Bush began to decline by 2005, his evangelical stance on various policy issues was still in full throttle; biblical influence was prevalent amongst issues such as abortion, HIV/AIDS, stem-cell research, pregnancy/abstinence, gay marriage and climate change.
• From 2000 to 2004, Republicans attracted economically conservative constituencies who were not influenced by religion.
• In the early 2000s, the rise of the rightward movement is characterized by their fervor for institutionalized religion, church-state relations within the GOP constituency and their biblical perspective on the conflicts in the Middle East.
• Phillips notes the following example where the impact of radicalized religion has disintegrated past world powers; Militant Catholicism in Rome and Spain; Calvinist fundamentalism in the Dutch Reformed Church; the interaction of imperialism and evangelicalism in pre-1914 Britain (375).
• By 2005, due to the policies of the Bush Administration, the GOP Congress and the Federal Reserve Board, many were concerned about the United States economic health. Crisis seemed imminent because of the large degree of tax cuts and deficit finance, deregulation policies and the cultivation of a massive credit bubble.
• This is largely attributed to the utilization of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit-default swaps (CDDs), as both derivatives bring high returns conjoined with high risk. By 2005, over-the-counter credit-derivatives accounted for $5 trillion of the financial sector. The unprecedented levels of borrowing from hedge funds and the vast amount of options for adjustable-rate mortgages and interest-only loans also played a significant role in the likelihood of a crisis.
• Phillips discusses the possibility of China and other East Asian and Middle Eastern countries surpassing the economic capabilities of the United States. At the time of this writing, Phillips discerns that it will be noticeable by the 2010s and that by 2020, many predict that China will become the foremost economic rival of the United States (380). China has many advantages over the United States, ranging from its remarkable savings rate, advanced science, technology and low-cost of labor (381).
• This comes at a time when the United State is struggling to secure its oil supply, manage its escalating debt, adjust to the decline of the dollar and salvage Medicare and Social Security.
• As per history’s examples of past world powers who were overpowered by religious influence, Phillips speculates that pivotal demise of the United States will be experienced by the 2030 or 2040 (383).
• According to various Pew Global Attitudes studies, conducted in 2004 and 2005, findings show that a handful of countries, even allies, have unfavorable views of the United States ranging from the war on terror, religious fervor and its influence in American politics, and levels of violence and greed. Conversely, U.S. allies favor China over the United States. Alas, the global reputation of the United States has been unmistakably tarnished.
• The United States crippled leadership also demonstrates that it may prove difficult to reverse the considerable damage of the hegemony.
• Phillips speculates that the Bush presidents will be associated with the decline of the United States as per history books of the future.

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