Former Clinton adviser addresses American ?declinism?

By Alex Cragun, Staff Writer

Economic recession and the growth of non-allied countries have given Americans the perception of “declinism,” a former Clinton administration foreign policy adviser said at the U on Monday.

Nina Hachigian, now a senior adviser for the Center for American Progress, talked with Doug Fabrizio on his political talk-radio show “RadioWest” at the Hinckley Institute of Politics yesterday about how the United States would interact with rising powers.

Hachigian said she believes America is declining economically and influentially and must battle this decline by becoming more active internationally. Hachigian said the overall decline is a not a bad thing, depending on each person’s perception.

“We’re still leading,” she said. “There still is a hunger in the world for us to lead.”

Hachigian said the best way to protect the United States is through three approaches: investing in American innovation, building relationships internationally and trying to leverage power and opportunity to rebuild international order.

She said that terrorism and disease are the main forces that can hurt the United States.

“The one thing everyone doesn’t want is for terrorists to get a nuclear bomb in their hands,” Hachigian said.

But while countries such as Russia, China and India become international powers and grow more interdependent, the United States needs to act now. Hachigian cited Iran’s nuclear development and its relationships with China and Russia as examples of a country that has grown enormously.

“No one wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but India imports Iranian oil and Russia is reliant on Iran as well,” Hachigian said. “We all want the same thing, but getting there is difficult.”

Landon Newell, a senior in political science, said he agrees with Hachigian that the United States is in for some tough times.

“In three years, we’ll be in the same place because of the severity of the recession,” Newell said.

However, Brodie Hatch, a senior in economics at the U, has a more positive belief about the recession, even after listening to Hachigian.

Hatch said he believes the economy is based on cycles and will eventually even out.

“In three years, we’ll bounce back and in 20 or 50 years, we’ll be back in a recession,” Hatch said.

Hachigian also gave a lecture at Westminster College about the decline of American influence.

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