Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Consequence of the Crash

Pat Buchanan points out the simple fact that with the U.S. deficit about to reach historic and astonishing levels, the financial system in shambles, and a recession on the horizon, the neo-conservative dream of Empire is about to bite the dust.

We no longer live in Eisenhower or Reagan's America. Even the post-Cold War world of George H. W. Bush, where America was a global hegemon, is history. In both relative and real terms, the U.S.A. is a diminished power.

Where Ike spent 9 percent of GDP on defense, Reagan 6 percent, we spend 4 percent. Yet we have two wars bleeding us and many more nations to defend, with commitments in the Baltic, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans we did not have in the Cold War. As U.S. weapons systems are many times more expensive today, we have fewer strategic aircraft and Navy ships than Ike or Reagan commanded. Our active-duty Army and Marine Corps consist of 700,000 troops, 15 percent women, and a far higher percentage of them support rather than combat troops.

With so few legions, we cannot police the world, and we cannot afford more. Yet, we have a host of newly hostile nations we did not have in 1989.

Not only does US no longer possess Eisenhower's or Reagan's military, it no longer possesses the same population of those years. The American people of 2008 are, demographically, not the same American people that fought WWII or broke the back of the USSR. For the last 40 years, the US government deliberately imported a new people, mostly from backward, third world nations, whose denizens had never accomplished anything of merit. Now America is saddled with their unproductive progeny even as its own productive population declines markedly. The illusion of easy credit and fiat money made it possible for Washington to distract the electorate from what was going on for decades, but now the bills are so large, and coming in so fast, they cannot be ignored.

Still, it's not a complete loss for the US. After all, why are we defending Europe and South Korea, which have long had the financial wherewithal - if not the desire - to defend themselves? Why drain the US treasury to stick our noses in other peoples' fights?

With U.S. markets crashing and wealth vanishing, what are we doing with 750 bases and troops in over 100 countries?

With a recession of unknown depth and duration looming, why keep borrowing billions from rich Arabs to defend rich Europeans, or billions from China and Japan to hand out in Millennium Challenge Grants to Tanzania and Burkina Faso?

America needs a bottom-up review of all strategic commitments dating to a Cold War now over for 20 years.

Is it essential to keep 30,000 troops in a South Korea with twice the population and 40 times the wealth of the North? Why are McCain and Obama offering NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees against Russia, to a Georgia run by a hothead like Mikheil Saakashvili, and a Ukraine, millions of whose people prefer their kinship to Russia to an alliance with us?

We must put "country first," says John McCain.

Right you are, Senator. Time to look out for America first.

Unfortunately, while paring back America's overseas commitments would be an undoubted good, regardless of the current financial climate, there is no evidence that the money saved would be used to advanced financial stability or fiscal discipline at home. Any money saved from drawing down our overseas commitments is likely to be used for "community organizing" to assist the perennially poor, sick or criminal at home. Different toilet, same result.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home