I have begun feeling more and more sorry for America and, indeed, for the people of that great country. America is beset with contradictions and self-destruction, or at least self-reduction. This is not only caused by the economic and financial crisis of the world, and the capitalist Western development models lack of sustainability, but it also has to do with America itself. Why cannot America, with all its scientists, researchers, specialists, politicians and common people find peaceful and sustainable models for the countrys current and future development - and its relations with all other countries in the world? Why cant America begin analysing its own situation and problems at home and those with other countries? All other countries need good relations with America, that we all take for granted. But doesnt America need that with other countries, too, to avoid decline and live in peace with itself and others? On the one hand, it is full of possibilities, vibrant energy, innovations, creativity, and enormous resources and wealth. It is the richest country in the world - and that which uses most resources to keep it going. On the other hand, it is also full of all kinds of problems. In many ways, it is like a new-rich teenager out of control. People use drugs; people dont know what life should be for them - except for making and spending money. Thus, it is difficult to grow up and find your way in such a land, where people seemingly have it all. In the political sphere, huge problems can be found domestically with some 20 percent of the workforce underemployed or out of work. Many live without proper welfare benefits, as all Europeans have, or family support, as most Pakistanis have. In the foreign policy field, ordinary people have no say; it is all decided by the government in Washington. And I think that it is not the politicians, but the civil servants and the military leaders who make the decisions. Ordinary people can have rallies, as they sometimes have, for example, against the war in Afghanistan. No other country in the world has as high military budgets as America; half of the worlds total military budgets. It is reckless and it will lead to disaster - for America itself, eventually, and before that, for yet more other countries. We are lulled into believing that America is not aggressive. But is it not when it seeks to maintain and expand its military, economic and other influence worldwide? Dont be afraid of China when it experiences unprecedented growth and economic success, a friend told me recently. It is when it will experience decline that we should worry about China - and America - for their own people and for the countries and people in their spheres of interest, he said. And, for China and America, that is pretty much every little corner of the worldBut then America is not really in decline, it just experience recession, along with the rest of the Western world? That is true, at least to some extent. But Americas unsustainable development and its overuse of natural and other resources cannot continue. It is a bubble in the worlds leading capitalist country, and bubbles do burst. Whereas much good can be said about Americans on the home front, less positive can be said about its foreign policy. Well, we do not know who will take the superpowers place instead of America, and what military, economic and other interests and values that or those countries will advocate. Perhaps, America wasnt so bad after all? We may say However, the fact is that America has been bad for many countries, and only good for a few, such as Israel and South Korea - but not for Afghanistan, Pakistan, or anyone else in our region. In any case, most forced relations are unsustainable. When the United Kingdoms world empire crumbled, it managed pull-out in relatively decent ways. Not always, of course; our region being a sad proof of the opposite. But the UK has managed to become a better country now, for its own citizens and rest of the world, much better than when it ruled an empire so large that the sun would never set on all its subjects at the same time. If America could learn a few lessons from the UK, it would help it in shaping its future, too, and it would be appreciated by its vassal States and elsewhere where it has geopolitical interests. It would eventually be better for all parties, the way it generally was better for all after the UK became just one country among other countries. America will in any case remain a major power for centuries. And nobody can deny that the UK is still important. Why would I otherwise have written this article in English? Is America likely to realise that its future will be quite different, and that it will be reduced from being a superpower to a major power? No, I dont think Americas leaders have realised this. Maybe the President and top politicians have, but certainly not the civil servants, who deal with security and foreign policy issues. The way America behaves vis--vis Pakistan shows its unrealistic and unsustainable world outlook. After the tragic Salalah check post attack recently, killing and injuring more than 20 soldiers, a former American Security Adviser, General James Jones, said that Pakistan is hell bent on self-destruction. He and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thought that Pakistan should keep accepting business as usual. I say not It is America that is not able to establish more equal relations with countries it says it needs, for whatever logical or illogical reasons one can find. It is not for Pakistan to explain why it did not attend the Bonn moot. Indeed, America and Nato should have explained and apologised. We should not say that it is Pakistan that is careless with its international relations when if (finally) says that enough is enough. Shouldnt any country do that? Shouldnt Pakistan have done it years ago? In this connection, I dont cry as much for Pakistan. I cry for you, America America is the country that is bent on self-destruction, or at least, self-reduction. Yes, that is, probably, to the best for itself and the rest of the world. Yet, I also feel sorry for America - and, indeed, Americans - because so many of its (original) values and history should be appreciated. The writer is a senior Norwegian social scientist based in Islamabad. He has served as United Nations Specialist in the United States, as well as various countries in Africa and Asia. He has also spent a decade dealing with the Afghan refugee crisis and university education in Pakistan. Email: atlehetland@yahoo.com