Perry Glasser

THE END OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY

In Business, Economics, Economy, EDUCATION, Finance, MILITARY, Personal Finance, Politics, Wall Street on August 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

In the long run, we’ll all be dead – John Maynard Keynes

We owe a debt to the future; we must act in the present; our only compass is the past.

Gather round readers, as Dollar$ kicks back, pours another Woodford (one ice cube, thanks) and contemplates the melancholy long view.  The floor is littered with newspapers making dire comparisons. Is the  economic crisis of 2011 a continuation of the economic crisis of 2008?  ( when Dollar$ began.)  Iin 2008, the same pundits asked, Are we still in the  throes of the Internet Bubble-Bust of 1999?

Terrified of the Military

Fact is, the US economy is in a downward spiral for nearly a generation, a spiral accelerated by Wizards and Buccaneers. The pity is that the causes are well known. The criminal fact is that our Weasel leaders could act, but will not.

We are sticking to the initial mission or Dollar$,  as Noam Chomsky put it in 1967, “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.” I don’t always agree with the professor on details, but that sentiment is irrefutable. I was a college boy when I read it The New York Review of Books. It still sounds right.

American Political Concern

Dollar$ asks readers who recite a daily mantra for positivism and munch  mood enhancers rather than look at reality, those who withdraw to the very private, very definite pleasures of gardens, grandchildren, video games, zombie movies, or the happy falsehoods of self-help books and memoirs where harried women travel the world, eat brown rice, and settle down to bliss with a swarthy Brazilian, to consider that pharmacological peace and self-induced blindness is immoral.

Inaction mortgages the future by tolerating the Weasels who borrow money our children can never hope to repay.

THE AMERICAN CENTURY

The American century began with the end of World War I. In Europe, a generation of young men lay dead in trenches on the Eastern and Western fronts, while North America remained unscathed, the only country in the world with the resources and infrastructure to grow to be an economic superpower.

The peace was botched. Twenty-five years later, the war resumed, this time a true world conflagration, different from the first installment of a World War because technology had advanced to enable  civilian populations to be slaughtered.  The dead piled up in London, Dresden, Stalingrad, Hiroshima.

But not in North America.

It’s important to note that in the subsequent peace, Germany and Japan were forbidden to arm themselves.  Consequence? Despite being in ashes, Japan and Germany rose to become the second and third most formidable economic powers in the world.

At the same time, the United States began 70 years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, a “cold war” that became brush fire avatar wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Israel, and Afghanistan.  The ruling notion of American policy was MAD — Mutual Assured Destruction. We closed missile gaps, launched spy satellites, manufactured warheads, deployed Star Wars defense systems, and set nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers into every ocean of the world.

None of that weaponry has ever been deployed against any foe with similar capabilities. We DID get some Navy Seal snipers to drop some sorry-ass Somali pirates, but we never went as far as kicking the ass of the ports from which  they set sail in rubber boats.  This is like killing mosquitoes with baseball bats–it can be done, but why would you? and why not drain the swamp from which they came?

The Soviet Union collapsed, unable to afford competing with the US military. Its citizen on bread lines, those citizens dissolved that union into a half dozen warring states based on regional and long-standing ethnic identities, now at each other’s throats in Chechnya and the former components of Yugoslavia.

RECENT ADVENTURES

Lacking any real foe, since the fall of the Soviet Union the US has invented a few. Instead of the kind of enlightened leadership that made the lives of people in Germany and Japan trading partners by depriving them of the military parasite, we have pursued policies that have created Islamic fundamentalistsintent on inflicting harm upon us.

They fight with bombs in their underwear, hijacked airplanes, box cutters, and bombs in their shoes. They finance their war effort with oil money from sympathetic states or from the proceeds of poppy fields. As a matter of policy, the US does not firebomb the sources of heroin that poison our youth; as a matter of policy, we support medieval kingdoms like Saudi Arabia; as a matter of policy, we turn a blind eye to Pakistan that harbors enemy leadership in wifi and porno-equipped mansions.

All so the United States can continue to feed the tapeworm on the body politic, the US military.  What’s our purported  justification?

Well, we engage wars to pre-empt the use of weapons of mass destruction, find none, hang Saddam, and then hang around for a decade or more defending no real or imagined American interest.

We prosecute a war at a cost of billions in Afghanistan to find and bring to justice the leader of the Taliban, find him with the aid of intelligence, kill him by deploying 20 or so brave, well-trained men, and then hang around more defending no real or imagined American interest.

US military expenditures account for 43% of all military spending IN THE WORLD. Do you think we could do with half of that?

We have no bread lines yet, but 10% of Americans are unemployed. Cities in the United Kingdom are burning because idle youth see no opportunities. At home, our policy makers debate how to afford senior citizens who persist on living too long, and how much we must reduce compensating the teachers who train our most important asset, youth.

WHAT NOW?

  • Drop your Prozac.
  • Get pissed off.
  • Organize.
  • Circulate this note.
  • Circulate notes like it.

Change the national dialogue from “entitlements” to  military expenditures.

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