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Should the U.S. stop trying to be a Super Power? Options · View
Milik_Redman
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 4:51:14 PM

Rank: Internet Philosopher

Joined: 8/14/2009
Posts: 4,408
Location: somewhere deep under the Earth, United States
Before the second world war, the U.S. was an isolationist country the believed it should avoid 'foreign' wars. After WWII, it found itself as the only western country in a position to resist the Soviet Union and took a role as the international defender of freedom. My view is that, while that may have been necessary at the time, it has become an archaic ideal.

Today, most of the hate directed at the US is a result of the fact that it still tries to enforce it's values on a world that doesn't always share them. Eveen amongst our allies, our activist attitudes tend to cause friction and our attempts to be 'the defender' just make us a target for a world that doesn't really want our help. To me, it's time to stop being the world cop and close our international military bases.

By being neutral to world affairs, we would no longer be the object for international derision and a target for terrorism. Why should the US continue to go broke on military spending when frankly, nobody respects our efforts for doing it in the first place?

To me, it's the height of arrogance for us to presume we know what's best for the world and we would do well to just let other nations take care of their issues as they see fit.

“It is a great thing to know your vices.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero


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ByronLord
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:52:50 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/14/2010
Posts: 753
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Milik_The_Red wrote:
Before the second world war, the U.S. was an isolationist country the believed it should avoid 'foreign' wars. After WWII, it found itself as the only western country in a position to resist the Soviet Union and took a role as the international defender of freedom. My view is that, while that may have been necessary at the time, it has become an archaic ideal.

Today, most of the hate directed at the US is a result of the fact that it still tries to enforce it's values on a world that doesn't always share them. Eveen amongst our allies, our activist attitudes tend to cause friction and our attempts to be 'the defender' just make us a target for a world that doesn't really want our help. To me, it's time to stop being the world cop and close our international military bases.

By being neutral to world affairs, we would no longer be the object for international derision and a target for terrorism. Why should the US continue to go broke on military spending when frankly, nobody respects our efforts for doing it in the first place?

To me, it's the height of arrogance for us to presume we know what's best for the world and we would do well to just let other nations take care of their issues as they see fit.


You have it back to front. The US is more popular abroad when it is spreading its values. The US is very popular right now in Tunisa, Egypt and Libya after helping oust the dictatorships there.

The US is rather less popular when it is engaged in the type of idiot adventure that the brothers Dulles inflicted on Iran. There was a democracy there until they stepped in and installed the Shah as dictator. Then a few years later the people got sick of the Shah, got rid of him and the result was the '79 revolution.

None of the shabby moral compromises practiced by the 'serious' people like Kissinger has paid off. The US is unpopular in latin America because the likes of Kissinger backed the dictators. The US is unpopular in the gulf right now because it is supporting both the house of Saud and the Israeli government.

The Bush administration talked a big line on freedom in the run up to the invasion of Iraq but the result was half a million Iraqi dead, three trillion in US debt, a gulag that is still running in Cuba, a pile of lies and the torture chambers of Abu Ghraib.

None of these have anything to do with US values. Quite the opposite. But it is impossible to prosecute the guilty right now. But that will change over time. We got Pinochet in the end and we will see John Yoo and the rest of the guilty men face trial in time.

In the end it wasn't the US military that defeated the Soviet empire, it was the people of Eastern Europe who just decided they had had enough and threw off the Soviet yoke. To the extent that the US influenced that change it was not merely the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan as the right claim today, it was the fact that under Carter the US had made human rights the core of its case against the US and Reagan built on that platform.

Buz
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:47:53 PM

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Joined: 3/2/2011
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Location: Atlanta, United States
Isolationist! We should not be the world's police force! Let's get out nose of everyone else's business and take care of our mounting debt. We could still have the most powerful military in the world and cut massive amounts of military spending at the same time. That is how huge that white elephant is.

The main reason the Soviet Union collapsed was economic. They did not have the economic structure to support their vast empire which of course desperately wanted to be free from their tyrannical communistic dictatorial choke hold. Yes communism can be imperialistic and it was. Soviet bureaucracy grew massively out of control (kind of like it is doing here in the USA.)

As far as Bush policies, many of those are still being carried out by Obama. Maybe he will cut the umbilical cord that W. left attached to him over this next term.

Milik_Redman
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:37:15 PM

Rank: Internet Philosopher

Joined: 8/14/2009
Posts: 4,408
Location: somewhere deep under the Earth, United States
It's easy for us in the west to speak about our values and it does do us credit, but when you consider the real cost of insisting that others live by them it becomes more complicated. We have massive forces entrenchent in South Korea and yet many of the people resent our being there. My question is when does our responsibility end? Is defending South Korea our problem forever? They are a prosperous industrial nation, why do they need us? Do we continue to irritate China by defending Taiwon? Why is that our problem? It seems the world loves us when they get to choose how we use our military, but are very quick to call us evil when we do smething they don't approave of.
I don't believe we should be responsible for maintaining world peace. The cost is enormous and all to often it goes with no thanks at all from those we help.
Take Iraq. While W blew the explanation for that, can anyone really say the world would be better with Saddam still in it? I dont think it would be.
Personally, I think that its time some of the other western powers step up and take some of the load and the responsibility. How are Japan or Europe going to react to a nuclear armed Iran? They will sit back and ask us why did we let that happen? Personally, I don't think we should get involved unless the UN or NATO specifically and publically demand us too.
Times have changed. We cannot be expected to do it all by ourselves.

“It is a great thing to know your vices.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero


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Delphi
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:11:26 PM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 6/30/2012
Posts: 1,369
Location: United States
Buz wrote:
Isolationist! We should not be the world's police force! Let's get out nose of everyone else's business and take care of our mounting debt. We could still have the most powerful military in the world and cut massive amounts of military spending at the same time. That is how huge that white elephant is.

The main reason the Soviet Union collapsed was economic. They did not have the economic structure to support their vast empire which of course desperately wanted to be free from their tyrannical communistic dictatorial choke hold. Yes communism can be imperialistic and it was. Soviet bureaucracy grew massively out of control (kind of like it is doing here in the USA.)

As far as Bush policies, many of those are still being carried out by Obama. Maybe he will cut the umbilical cord that W. left attached to him over this next term.


I love these political forum posts. I used to read them and just as I was about to comment, Buz would say what I was going to. Thanks, man. All that typing is so rough on my fingers. coffee



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WellMadeMale
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 7:48:02 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,301
Location: Cakeland, United States
How does a Super Power nation, cease to be one? What defines a super power anymore? Financial clout? Military dominance? Cultural influence?

I get what you're saying Milik, I do. But how do we civilians put that genie back in the bottle after we've let it out and then lost control of it? I'm referring to the US/NATO military industrial complex which Eisenhower and a few others tried over 50 years ago, to warn us all about.

They have mastered technologies which they haven't even released to the general public knowledge base yet. Here, I'm thinking things like UFOs. They are unidentified, they fly, they might even submerge and scream along underwater at speeds unimaginable using technology the rest of us accept. Laser weaponry may be in their possession which would seem magical to anyone who has never seen it repeatedly enough to accept its possibility of existence.

What do we call those 'things' if not - UFOs (and I'm not talking about any Nutbag alien/off planet beings) - our own damned UFOs evil4

Such high-tech weapons technologies have been witnessed in war zones since the late 1980s.

Why do we think George Herbert Walker Bush's administration & Pentagon decided to start 'embedding journalists' to cover and report on warfare tactics and spread the desired American propaganda? Well... see Vietnam - and the unfettered news reporting which showed the world what a fiasco that little skirmish actually was.

Panama was quite the playground for the MIC. As was Iraq during Desert Storm. Weaponry was utilized which amazed our own troops, let alone the poor SOBs it was used and 'tested' against. Collateral Damage (a hateful/remorseless term if ever there was one) is what this Super Power calls those unfortunates whose countries, cities and towns and tent caravans which receive that drone visitation or a sudden burst of energy from above.

As long as 'Allied' nations around the world are willing to pay (or be extorted by our government) for the use of our military might... How do we short circuit that? Our politicians seek to coerce countries to join Coalition Forces, through all means of economic or military threat (simply to provide political cover for striking out at other nations which the war mongers and profiteers seek to take control of).

We can't even 'make' our multi-national American based military hardware manufacturing corporations quit creating weaponry and selling it at arms expositions around the world, all the time.

'We' often end up facing advanced weaponry in the hands of our 'next adversaries'. I noted this 30 years. Shah in power in Iran, we sold/gave him a fleet of top shelf Grumman F14 Tomcats. Ancient now, but at the time of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 - they were state of the art fighter jets with tons of state of the art missiles. They only lacked experienced pilots.

How do we quit our addiction to flaunting our Super Power $tatu$ is probably the better question.

How did Rome collapse...? That's probably a good indicator of how the United States of America may wink out.

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Piquet
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 8:16:47 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/12/2009
Posts: 339
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Excellent posts guys.

My 2 cent's worth is that as long as the US needs Middle Eastern oil, the US will be inextricably bound to intervene in Middle Eastern affairs. If the Israelis and Palestinians were slugging it out on some remote island in the south Pacific where the only oil came from coco nuts, the US would not be involved.

Oil is a curse, a bigger Pandora's Box than nuclear power ever was. I'll leave it up to historians in future centuries to guage which has done the world more harm.

What the US needs to do is to spend it's money looking after its own economy and its own people rather than be crippled by overseas wars and the monstrous expenditure that they entail.



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DLizze
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 3:08:23 PM

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Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,552
To those who seem to favor isolatonism, I would refer to President JAmes Monroe, who as early as 1823, recognized that we live in a global network, and that to mpractice pure isolationism was to invite disaster.

That said, I see no reason (other than to aid certain economic and business interests which, last time I checked, were NOT the majority or even a substantial minority of the American populace) to keep ourselves enmeshed in the improglio that is the Middle East. Those who are worried that we are slave to Middle Eastern oil interests should remember that it is in those business interests best interest to keep us in that untenable positio. If we as a nation were truly concerned about that, we would have continued on the path of energy independence started under President Carter, as Germany, taking a cue from America, has. In other words. as Shakespeare might have put it, we are hoist by our own petard.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
ByronLord
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 6:23:33 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/14/2010
Posts: 753
Location: Massachusetts, United States
DLizze wrote:
To those who seem to favor isolatonism, I would refer to President JAmes Monroe, who as early as 1823, recognized that we live in a global network, and that to mpractice pure isolationism was to invite disaster.

That said, I see no reason (other than to aid certain economic and business interests which, last time I checked, were NOT the majority or even a substantial minority of the American populace) to keep ourselves enmeshed in the improglio that is the Middle East. Those who are worried that we are slave to Middle Eastern oil interests should remember that it is in those business interests best interest to keep us in that untenable positio. If we as a nation were truly concerned about that, we would have continued on the path of energy independence started under President Carter, as Germany, taking a cue from America, has. In other words. as Shakespeare might have put it, we are hoist by our own petard.


The obsession with the middle east oil is ludicrous. Whoever has the oil is going to want to sell it because that is the only way to make money from it. Iran would just love to be selling oil to the great satan right now.

Oil supply is going to be increasingly constrained as other countries become more developed. Peak oil production was reached back around 2005. In the real world (not the fantasy world of nutjob talk radio) oil is a finite resource and supply is declining as the most accessible supplies are tapped out.

nazhinaz
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 1:15:10 AM

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Joined: 1/16/2010
Posts: 293
Location: Longview, United States
Can US stay isolated from affairs in other parts of World?
Almost all countries of the World except Euro Zone have their reserves in US Dollars.
That gives US the right and also need to medle in the economic and financial affairs of all these countries.
Even China has its reserves, the holder of largest reserves, if my memory does not fail me, of US dollars.
US was asked and invited by West to join in NATO.
Being a country having largest and most potent and lethal army among the NATO forces (even in the World), US was awarded the lead role in NATO.
Now I believe US has over 70 overseas Military outposts.
US is the country producing largest number of PhDs in the World.
US is the leading country producing new knowledge in the World.
US is the country which has bagged more than 60% of the Noble Prizes.
This new knowledge and research has given US the leading economy (which perpetually is developing and leading) in the World.
True that other economies, (China & India) too are fast developing; but one must understand that these economies are still developing by mostly copying the attainments of US.
Unless these countries are able to surpass US in creating new knowledge and thereby the research, they shall continue to develop by copying US.
With all these pluses, can anyone in sound mind, think that US should not have the Super Power role in the World?
US has not imposed upon itself the role of Super Power.
This role is the attainment of being the leading country in creating New Knowledge in the World, which gave US the leading economy, the leading currency and the most powerful and lethal Army in the World.
As far as the issue of mounting debt, we should try to understand that the creditors lend to only those who are worthy of a loan.
The creditors would only lend if we have the otential to repay; otherwise no creditor would lend us a penny.
Milik_Redman
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 6:14:18 AM

Rank: Internet Philosopher

Joined: 8/14/2009
Posts: 4,408
Location: somewhere deep under the Earth, United States
Some excellent points have been made by all, but my point wasn't necessarily to give up our military, or to stop acting in our best interests. We shouldn't and won't do either.

I do wonder why we do get involved in things that are counterproductive to our interests. Is it good for America to continue to bankroll Isreal even though they are in the middle of an obvious land grab on the West Bank? How does this benefit us? I mentioned South Korea and still wonder why we spend so much money defending them. Certainly, they can afford to defend themselves. Why risk our relationship with China over Tiawon? Again, it doesn't make sense.

I'm not railing about these issues though. I really am just interested to see how others feel, especially those members who are not American. Do people oversees feel that America should take a leading roll or would they be happier if our foreign policy was like that of Canada or Austrialia? We can have our beliefs, but do we really have the right to insult the Russians and Chinese over human rights? It isn't like we're perfect either.

“It is a great thing to know your vices.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero


My New collaboration with Dirty _D is one I am extremely proud to offer:






Silverl0cust
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 8:49:35 AM

Rank: Rookie Scribe

Joined: 1/29/2010
Posts: 6
Don't take my opinion as being in any way representative of all non-Americans (I live in Australia) but I think I can give a bit of an outsider's perspective.
Your original question stated "our attempts to be 'the defender' just make us a target for a world that doesn't really want our help".
The thing is, those countries that don't see America as an ally, view it's foreign policy as being as an aggressor rather than a defender. Even among your allies, the more liberal thinkers tend to view the US in that way.
Rather than considering US forces protecting Sth. Korea or Taiwan from invasion, they are seen as invaders of Iraq on the strength of a lie and infidel invaders and supporters of corrupt, undemocratic governments in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (Moslem holy ground).
Even when US forces are not directly involved, the American government or its agencies are remembered as being directly involved in the overthrow of legitimate foreign governments and/or the installation of dictators, so long as they served US purposes. (Iran, Nicaragua, Chile and Vietnam come to mind).

I don't think the US is "going broke" by defending the rights and freedoms of foreign nations but by trying to further its own economic interests. this necessarily involves keeping its lucrative trade routes open and safe. (Note the greater US emphasis on Asia since the trans-Pacific trade overran the trans-Atlantic trade). The cost of controlling all the major oceans of the world is crippling as Britain found out.

But despite the current US debt, I think it will be a long time before we see the decline of the American empire and it would be a mistake to revert to isolationist policies of the past. America still has some growing and evolving to do before the world sees its best. A self-centered and arrogant teenager of a civilisation it may be now but I think a wiser and more mature America will be a wonder to behold.

As an aside, a consistent view of "the average American" as seen from outside the US is of jingoistic flag-wavers who claim to live in the best country in the world while simultaneously knowing next to nothing about anywhere else.
This is obviously an unfair and wildly generalised view (especially given the thoughtful and erudite posts above) but it's one that does exist.

I hope I haven't offended and let me say that the Americans I've met (in every part of the US) have been some of most friendly, generous and hospitable people it's ever been my pleasure to come across.
tazznjazz
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 2:29:04 PM

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Location: under bright lights, United States
I admire Switzerland as a country that has minded it's own affairs throughout modern history and has prospered peacefully while it's neighbor's on it's borders waged numerous conflicts. There is a lesson to be learned there.

It may not be possible for the US to return to isolationism due to commitments we have already made, but it would be much better to be an equal partner in The U.N. than it's major source of military might and have all nations or a majority agree on actions and contribute equally.

Ideally a global armed force to resolve worldwide conflicts would be a worth while goal.

Desert storm was done by common agreement and is a somewhat flawed model of how this could work in the global 21st century. By contrast the second Iraq war and the Vietnam conflict will hopefully serve as a lesson of how not to wage war.

A vastly reduced military and focus on our own economic, energy and infrastructure problems maybe a pipe dream, but is a needed dream.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 4:48:40 PM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,620
Location: Burrowed, Norway
tazznjazz wrote:
I admire Switzerland as a country that has minded it's own affairs throughout modern history and has prospered peacefully while it's neighbor's on it's borders waged numerous conflicts. There is a lesson to be learned there.


Why was Switzerland neutral? Because they could. The geography makes it a hellish place to invade and you don't want to go there without a complete neccessity to enter. It's not so much smart politics, but it's more being lucky with the borders. Until recent times bringing in supplies as you wage the war would happen by land or sea, not air, which in return makes Switzerland a really risky place to bring in supplies. Easier to go around than through.

As far as the US I don't know if quick isolationism is the way to go. You'll end up leaving a power vacum that has to be filled. The world will always need one big boss, as it always has. Question is just who. At the moment I can only see China as the possible candidate, since Russia is struggling too much to become a super power. Despite what you wish to believe, a strong military power brings on a greater diplomatic and economic influence. Would you really want China to become the new super power, dictating world politics and the economy? Because that's basically what the US has done. The US has made a move and the rest of the world have responded accordingly.

The US's problem is they go in where they're not really needed. Afghanistan can be excused, since the government there housed Al-Qaida. Iraq really can't, since they didn't find the WMD's. Two long lasting wars and no dead Osama bin Laden(until recently) and no WMD's makes it seem like the US are more invading to promote their own interest than being "liberators". Just have a look at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and you have two media nightmares that just shows the US as an aggressive power with no respect for the people of the country they invade. Add a few dead children from US bombs and you got yourself a really shite image even amongst your allies. The important part isn't what really happened, it's what people believe happened. If they believe a US bomb dropped on an appartment building then that's how they'll act and view America.

Add the anger towards Israel and the US always having Israel's back, then I'm sure even I as a white man could rile up a couple of hundred people to burn a couple of American flags in Saudi Arabia or Yemen or anywhere in the Arab world.

What should the US do to get more "likes"? Not go anywhere military without broad support from the rest of the world, no matter how strong desire inside the country is. It will only lead to more problems.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
nazhinaz
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:40:16 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/16/2010
Posts: 293
Location: Longview, United States
Milik_The_Red wrote:
Some excellent points have been made by all, but my point wasn't necessarily to give up our military, or to stop acting in our best interests. We shouldn't and won't do either.

I do wonder why we do get involved in things that are counterproductive to our interests. Is it good for America to continue to bankroll Isreal even though they are in the middle of an obvious land grab on the West Bank? How does this benefit us? I mentioned South Korea and still wonder why we spend so much money defending them. Certainly, they can afford to defend themselves. Why risk our relationship with China over Tiawon? Again, it doesn't make sense.

I'm not railing about these issues though. I really am just interested to see how others feel, especially those members who are not American. Do people oversees feel that America should take a leading roll or would they be happier if our foreign policy was like that of Canada or Austrialia? We can have our beliefs, but do we really have the right to insult the Russians and Chinese over human rights? It isn't like we're perfect either.


Are we risking our relations with China over Tiawan?
China is the one having lended us the most.
Chinese naturalized Americans are the largest holders of property and monetary investments besides Caucasians; thus a large stakeholders in USA.
China has over $ 300 Billions of investment from USA private sector.
China is now producing from batteries to cars for USA, employing millions of men and women in China.
We did not risk our relations with China over Taiwan.
Similarly we are not defending South Koreans but our own interests in that region.
We are also defending our business in South Korea worth hundreds of billions dollars.
We are defending US investments in the region.

Please try to understand; we are NOT TRYING TO TAKE A LEADING ROLE IN THE WORLD AFFAIRS.
A leading role has been say THRUST OR MANDATED TO USA.
This leading role has been mandated to USA because of attainments in RESEARCH, ECONOMY AND MILITARY.
If another country takes over the mentle anytime say in 100 or 200 years; well it will be MANDATED TO TAKE A LEADING ROLE IN THE WORLD.

Yes, as humans, we do and have committed some mistakes while handling World affairs.
But still these are mistakes of a super power.
SITTING
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:24:56 AM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 722
Location: Leeds, United Kingdom
Buz wrote:
We should not be the world's police force! Let's get out nose of everyone else's business and take care of our mounting debt.


THIS. The US has no need to help other countries become democracies. When enough people demonstrate, change comes about in those places itself.
Jack_42
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 3:32:42 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/21/2009
Posts: 986
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Oh wow I'm so pleased the US saved me from Communism; yes those invading Vietnamese attacking New York in their armoured sanpans and running loose down Madson Avenue just had to be controlled. And as for those naughty hidden weapons of mass destruction (which are still so well hidden by Saddam's mob probably underneath the oil rigs or maybe in Hiroshima) why I can't thank the US enough. And of course they would have eventually stepped in and stopped mad Adolf they didn't really have to be goaded by the sons of Nippon. And here I am safe in an ex iron curtain country and able to consume my big mac all due to the help of Dr Strangelove. Super power - now what image does that conjure up what is it they say about power it.....waxes Shakespearean I think.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 8:46:55 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,301
Location: Cakeland, United States
nazhinaz wrote:
Can US stay isolated from affairs in other parts of World?

Now I believe US has over 70 overseas Military outposts.


For a fellow who never misses an opportunity to display how well educated he thinks he is, you often type what amounts to... fictional misinformation at worst and hypothetical partial truths at best.

Yes, the USA has over 70 overseas military outposts. Actually America has 10 times that amount. On every continent (including Antarctica). Use the internet as if it is the best encyclopedic material the world has ever known - as that is actually one of its strengths.

Then, verify those resources where you obtain your information. Cross check as much as you think should be done. Then, cross check some more.

It's similar to the self-editing process when one writes a story for publication.

===

Johnson believed that the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War II the U.S. has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. A long-time Cold Warrior, he applauded the dissolution of the Soviet Union: "I was a cold warrior. There's no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so."[9] At the same time, however, he experienced a political awakening after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, noting that instead of demobilizing its armed forces, the U.S. accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political. The result of this militarism (as distinct from actual domestic defense) is more terrorism against the U.S. and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. Of four books he wrote on this topic, the first three are referred to as The Blowback Trilogy:

Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

Chalmers Johnson summarized the intent of Blowback in the final chapter of Nemesis.

"In Blowback, I set out to explain why we are hated around the world. The concept "blowback" does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to and in foreign countries. It refers to retaliation for the numerous illegal operations we have carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. This means that when the retaliation comes -- as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 -- the American public is unable to put the events in context. So they tend to support acts intended to lash out against the perpetrators, thereby most commonly preparing the ground for yet another cycle of blowback. In the first book in this trilogy, I tried to provide some of the historical background for understanding the dilemmas we as a nation confront today, although I focused more on Asia -- the area of my academic training -- than on the Middle East."[10]

The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic

Chalmers Johnson summarizes the intent of The Sorrows of Empire in the final chapter of Nemesis.

"The Sorrows of Empire was written during the American preparations for and launching of the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. I began to study our continuous military buildup since World War II and the 737 military bases we currently maintain in other people's countries. This empire of bases is the concrete manifestation of our global hegemony, and many of the blowback-inducing wars we have conducted had as their true purpose the sustaining and expanding of this network. We do not think of these overseas deployments as a form of empire; in fact, most Americans do not give them any thought at all until something truly shocking, such as the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, brings them to our attention. But the people living next door to these bases and dealing with the swaggering soldiers who brawl and sometimes rape their women certainly think of them as imperial enclaves, just as the people of ancient Iberia or nineteenth-century India knew that they were victims of foreign colonization."[10]

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

Chalmers Johnson summarizes the intent of the book Nemesis.

“In Nemesis, I have tried to present historical, political, economic, and philosophical evidence of where our current behavior is likely to lead. Specifically, I believe that to maintain our empire abroad requires resources and commitments that will inevitably undercut our domestic democracy and in the end produce a military dictatorship or its civilian equivalent. The founders of our nation understood this well and tried to create a form of government – a republic – that would prevent this from occurring. But the combination of huge standing armies, almost continuous wars, military Keynesianism, and ruinous military expenses have destroyed our republican structure in favor of an imperial presidency. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire. Once a nation is started down that path, the dynamics that apply to all empires come into play – isolation, overstretch, the uniting of forces opposed to imperialism, and bankruptcy. Nemesis stalks our life as a free nation.”[10]

Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope

Johnson outlines how the United States can reverse American hegemony.

===

We cannot ignore the military industrial complex of the USA, the avarice of those in control at the top of the power pyramid which actually decides where the US Military will and won't be employed around the globe. As always - follow the money.

The US Military is simply a tool, when one simply picks nits or gets down to the brass tacks of the current worldwide situation we live in today. See also, Council on Foreign Relations. The material they publish will give you a pretty good idea of who is calling the shots.

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
flytoomuch
Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 9:23:15 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/24/2011
Posts: 242
Location: Fremont, United States
Milik, great post with some very engaged responses. As has been pointed out Eisenhower and others have in fact warned the American public about the dangers of where they were headed. Unfortunately vested interests and a blind nationalism that has prevented rational discourse in the USA about many global issues has prevented the USA from heading exactly where they were advised NOT to head. There is nothing wrong with thoughtful engagement with the world and leadership based on real principals (not rhetoric...."freedom" "democracy" etc.). The USA in opposing what was loosely termed "communism" or "terrorism" or whatever other "boogey man" they could come up with have opposed the legitimate interests of huge swaths of the worlds population and they continue to do so in a variety of locations around the world.

The starting point of your discussion was what will end the military/political dominance of the USA? Well good old free market principals is my answer. The major cause of the USA's huge deficit and national debt is the bloated military budget that no politician has the will to trim in any meaningful manner. As the debt piles up and the future tax burden rises the ability and willingness of the global nations to fund this crazy spending will fade. If global interest rates rise and US Treasuries become more costly to issue the burden on the American public will explode. This debt burden will impact the ability of the USA to invest in education, public health, technology, etc. and will dramatically reduce USA competitiveness. The USA spends more on "defense" than the next 10 or 15 countries combined. If you are a young American hoping for a better future, look at your nation's pile of debt, look at the bloated defense budget and hope that your prayers actually work.

Combined with the financial pressure is the global information expansion via the Internet. This means that USA foreign policy positions and historical actions in other countries that previously were largely unnoticed globally are now readily examined by anyone in the world and real facts can be posted by anyone anywhere on any topic. The credibility of the USA on many fronts is undermined by the truth and the respect of many in western european populations has been lost. This means the "soft power" of the USA to lead has been dramatically reduced. This is especially true in expanding and modernizing economies in areas like Asia, South
America and Africa. American hypocritical support of despots for short term goals cannot be justified when juxtaposed with their florid soaring rhetoric of freedom and democracy? People around the world now easily see through America's cheap words when faced with their real policies of economic self-interest, short term oil need driven actions and military global posturing.

Anyways, good post. As WellMadeMale points out, it's simple. Follow the MONEY and follow the votes. Some issues like Israel and Cuba are pure political plays for money and votes based on domestic demographics and nothing more.
MotelMILF
Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 12:15:00 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 55
Location: A Boston suburb, United States
Yes, history shows that Super powers and empires always end. Egypt, Rome, even the British Empire. The US should learn from history. From 1980 - 1989, the powerful Soviet military fought a war in AFGHANISTAN! against freedom fighters on horseback known as the mujahdeen. The vaunted Soviet army was defeated, and the mujahadeen became the taliban. It's no surprise that the US is fighting a protracted war there, take a lesson from the Soviets. It's time to end it.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012 6:23:12 AM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,620
Location: Burrowed, Norway
MotelMILF wrote:
Yes, history shows that Super powers and empires always end. Egypt, Rome, even the British Empire. The US should learn from history. From 1980 - 1989, the powerful Soviet military fought a war in AFGHANISTAN! against freedom fighters on horseback known as the mujahdeen. The vaunted Soviet army was defeated, and the mujahadeen became the taliban. It's no surprise that the US is fighting a protracted war there, take a lesson from the Soviets. It's time to end it.


Rome fell because their entire economic system was based soley on plundering areas that weren't in their control as well as having extremely large borders that needed a standing professional army ready. As the migration patterns of Europe changed during the 5th century as well as having so many different ethnic groups under their control that refused to look on themselves as Romans then you have a recipie for failure.

As for Afghanistan the US fucked over themselves when Rumsfeld refused to view Taliban and Al-Qaida as two different organisations. Even BEFORE any non-specialised troops, like the US Marines and similar branches of any "regular" armed forces, set foot on Afghan soil the Taliban were willing to go into negotiation with the other native Afghan tribes to get a peace that was acceptable for ALL Afghan people. Rumsfeld and the US arrogance made sure that such negotiations never took place and VOILA! you have created your own little hellhole through ignorance and your typical arrogant "We do not negotiate with terrorists, even those that we brand terrorists but really aren't terrorists" agenda.

As for the Mujahedin you're sort of right, only that the Soviets invaded from the North and the people of the North are mainly Uzbeks and other tribes, while in the South you have the Pashtuns which are the people that mainly make up the Taliban today. And the Soviet tactic that seemed to work well in areas with good infrastructure in the Europe was obvious to fail in a country that today only has two main roads.

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
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