Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, February 08, 2008

U.S. can’t dominate world by force
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Almost regardless of who wins the presidential nomination, there’s small
likelihood of serious debate about the most crucial long-term foreign
policy question facing the American people: Do we or do we not want to
maintain a global empire by force of arms? Or, to put it another way,
what’s in it for us, as individual citizens, for the United States to
maintain 800 military bases around the world? Does the word “superpower”
actually mean anything in today’s world? Hardly anybody in the foreign
policy establishment likes having it put that way. It strikes them as
vulgar and reductive; hence, anybody who questions, for example, whether
the United States really needs to spend almost twice as much on wars and
weaponry as the rest of the world combined gets caricatured as a
crackpot isolationist, the kind of person who, in the usual formulation,
would have ignored Adolf Hitler’s military buildup in the 1930s. Hence,
too, a seemingly infinite procession of miniature “Hitlers” clanking
along like targets in a carnival shooting gallery—Gadhafi, Noriega,
Saddam, Ahmadinejad, etc. “Endless Enemies,” the late Jonathan Kwitny
dubbed them in his 1984 book of that name. Subtitled “The Making of an
Unfriendly World,” the onetime Wall Street Journal correspondent’s
thesis was that the majority of America’s armed interventions in the
Third World constituted a self-fulfilling prophecy guaranteeing more or
less constant war.

Today, only marginal political figures like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan and
Ralph Nader devote themselves to such arcane topics. Indeed, one
sometimes wonders if the foreign policy experts and resident scholars
who decorate Washington think tanks wouldn’t fear more than anything
else the diminishment of their own swollen self-regard should Americans
return to the Founding Fathers’ views of enlightened national

Thomas Jefferson may have put it best in his 1801 inaugural address,
promising “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations,
entangling alliances with none.” (Because it builds upon George
Washington’s determination to avoid getting sucked into European wars,
the phrase is often mistakenly attributed to him.)

No, al-Qa’ida didn’t exist in 1801, although Barbary pirates did. That
said, the time is rapidly approaching when events outside U.S. control
will force a serious reexamination of America’s place in a American
Century’s founding document really has to be read to be believed.)

Debate the surge all you want. Five years, close to 4, 000 dead
Americans, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and close to a trillion
dollars later, the U.S. remains tied down there like Gulliver in
Lilliput. Its main strategic result has been to improve the position of
Iran, theoretically our next opponent in an empirebuilding war that now
appears blessedly unlikely to happen.

Meanwhile, the Persians are making multibillion-dollar gas and oil
development deals with China, whose continued willingness to buy
American securities basically finances U. S. deficit spending for the

Further east, the U.S. and its NATO allies find themselves stuck in a
slowly disintegrating Afghanistan, a nation (to use the term loosely)
which history records has never been successfully occupied by foreign
powers. In the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination—another Bush
administration daydream gone tragically awry—nuclear-armed Pakistan
teeters on the edge of dissolution. Al-Qa’ida operates with increasing
openness in remote tribal areas not controlled by Pakistan’s government.

Meanwhile, scenes of desperate Palestinians streaming out of Gaza into
Egypt couldn’t help but remind anybody not blinded by propaganda of the
fall of the Berlin Wall. The barriers may be temporarily back in place,
but the Bush/Likud policy of treating the area like an enormous outdoor
prison camp is clearly doomed to fail. None of this is to say that the
U.S. “homeland” is seriously endangered or ever was. From the numbers
alone, it’s clear that no nation or group of nations on Earth aspires to
threaten the U.S. by force of arms. Even China’s estimated $65 billion
military budget, the second largest in the world, is less than 10
percent of ours. (China has almost four times the U.S. population.)
Equally clear, however, is that the United States cannot dominate the
world by force. We wouldn’t have enough troops to fight on all these
fronts even if Americans had ever bought into the imperialist idea,
which they never have. Our vaunted nuclear arsenal has become the
economic equivalent of the Egyptian pyramids: fantastically expensive,
but useless. Maybe after George W. Bush is gone, we can talk about it.


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