以前、イェイツの「再臨」(Second Comming)という詩の一節をServaas Stormがユーロ圏の先行きに絡めて引用したのを紹介したことがあったが、サマーズが表題のProject Syndicate論説(原題は「Will the Center Hold」)で米国と世界の先行きに絡めて引用している

The most important question facing the United States – and in many ways the world – after the events of 2017 is this: Will Yeats’ fearful prophecy that “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold” come true? Will it continue to seem that “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity”? It is hard not to be concerned, but it is too soon to anticipate failure.
2017年に起きたことの後で米国が直面している最も重要な問題――そして多くの点で世界が直面している問題――は、「全てが解体し、中心は自らを保つことができない」というイェイツの恐るべき予言は現実ものもとなるか、というものである。「賢者は確信に欠き、愚衆は熱情を燃す*1」のような状況が続くのだろうか? このことを心配せずにはいられないが、失敗を予期するのは早計である。


So there is plenty of passionate intensity. And much of it is directed at the traditions and understandings that have made the last several decades the best in human history, in terms of living standards, human emancipation, scientific and artistic progress, reduction in pain and suffering, or minimization of premature and violent death.


While high equity prices and low volatility may seem surprising, they likely reflect the limited extent to which stock-market outcomes and geopolitical events are correlated. For example, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks had no sustained impact on the economy. The largest stock-market movements, such as the 1987 crash, have typically occurred on days when there was no major external news.


But the greatest risk in the next few years, I believe, is neither a market meltdown nor a recession. It is instead a political doom loop in which voters’ conclusion that government does not work effectively for them becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Candidates elected on platforms of resentment delegitimize the governments they lead, fueling further resentment and even more problematic new leaders. Cynicism pervades.


When the world’s preeminent power, having upheld the idea of international community for nearly 75 years, rejects it in favor of ad hoc deal making, others have no choice but to follow suit. Countries that can no longer rely on the US feel pressure to provide for their own security. America’s adversaries inevitably will seek to fill the voids left behind as the US retrenches.

Changes in tax, regulatory, or budget policy can be rescinded – albeit with difficulty – by a subsequent administration. A perception that the US is no longer prepared to stand up for its allies in the international community is much less reversible. Even if the US resumes its previous commitments, there will be a lingering sense that promises broken once can be broken again. And once other countries embark on a new path, they may be unable or reluctant to reverse course.

So, will the center hold? Will the international order remain broadly stable? The answer will depend on the Trump administration’s choices and other governments’ responses. But as other countries watch America, they will be looking at more than its president, especially as his popular approval continues to decline. That is why it is more important than ever that all Americans proclaim their continuing commitment to democracy and prosperity at home and to leadership of the global community.
ということで、中心は持つのであろうか? 国際秩序は概ね安定性を維持するのだろうか? その答えはトランプ政権の選択と他国の反応次第である。しかし他国が米国を観察する際には、大統領だけを見ているわけではない。特に支持率が低下し続けている時はそうである。すべての米国人が、民主主義、国内の繁栄、世界社会でのリーダーシップに対する変わらぬコミットメントを宣言することがこれまでになく重要になっているのは、それが理由である。