Must We Be a Global Superpower?

I want to comment on the perceived wisdom that our ability to apply military force anywhere in the world represents a triumph for our country, a GOOD THING. I personally would be quite satisfied with a US military capability that would allow us to respond decisively against anyone who threatened our own territory, while allowing us to participate effectively with our allies in the common defense of joint interests.

That is a quite different matter. We would not feel obliged to keep military bases all over the world, prohibitively expensive and frequently causing problems with host countries. We would not consider it our unique responsibility to serve as the world’s policeman. We would not even consider acting unilaterally to initiate wars of choice, because in most cases we would not have the capability.

We would be able to downsize our military establishment drastically, saving the hundreds of billions annually that we will need to save if we are to put our economy back on a sound basis and salvage the international position of the dollar, let alone fixing our schools and other infrastructure.

At present we are behaving like an empire not like a republic. Great military power aggregated in one capital leads to imperial ambitions vis-a-vis the rest of the world and the rapid erosion at home of the democratic base, as a military-industrial complex assumes ever more power. Rome. Nazi Germany. The pattern is there, varying in detail but not in its overall trajectory.

Anyone who see America’s destiny in imperial terms needs more exposure to our history. Our forefathers’ view of our country’s future was the antithesis of what it is now becoming. As matters stand now, our republic is at risk, but it’s not the immigrants who threaten it, it is the military-industrial establishment and the media barons who rationalize its efforts to further strengthen their control of the levers of power.

Words have been turned upside down. So-called conservatives are trying for a kind of rolling coup that will transform America beyond anything the founding fathers ever contemplated. The much-maligned liberals are trying to resist the onslaught, maintain the basic democratic principles that made us such a special place two hundred years ago.

Sorry for the sermon. I see so much misinformation these days, it kind of builds up and every once in a while for the sake of my sanity I have to let it out. I await the howls and curses from those of you who specialize in such vocalizations, and the more considered critiques from any of the rest of you who care to comment.

I shall have more to say on this and related subjects, now that my old website has been reincarnated as a blog. For me it’s the most important issue of all the many that have produced virtual deadlock in our nation’s capitol. It goes to the heart of what we want to become as a nation.

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