European Council on Foreign Relations

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Of ironing boards and decline

My wife wonders why I like ironing shirts so much – I tell her that it gives me more time to listen to more podcasts (at which point she either sighs or questions my sanity). I digest hours of podcasts every week, ranging from politics to football to business to history. And every so often, I find something that makes my ears prick up and my brain start to spin.

The BBC’s flagship Today Programme’s recent short series on declinism – the idea that the US is on the slide on a rather grand, historical scale – had my ears pricking and my brain spinning. Presenter Justin Webb spoke to an impressive list of interviewees – Richard Haass, Francis Fukuyama, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Jeffrey Sachs (all interviews plus an overall piece from Justin are on the web page). The result was fascinating and illuminating.

Here are just two of the more engaging points that were raised. Richard Haass

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