That the United States will no longer function as an empire is plainly evident to anyone who cares to look. Our government is, to put it nicely, “dysfunctional” – the actual word is criminal. It exists solely, at this late hour, to funnel money to the wealthiest 1%. There is no free market – not that we had any at any time in our history anyway. The rich make the rules, and they always get theirs first. The only sops given to “the people” is just enough to keep them off the streets. The powerful care not a whit about whatever your pet issue is- and if they seem to care, just follow the money. Drug legalization? It only exists to create a criminal class and those that get rich off it. And don’t forget the medical community, who of course don’t want marijuana legit- a weed that grows in a ditch, has never resulted in one death? Who would need big pharma, and their willing pill-pushers in the AMA?
Or, perhaps this:
“Almost $43 million from seven charitable groups went toward financing anti-Muslim campaigns, the report said, including proposed state laws to ban judges from considering Islamic laws in U.S. courts, opposition to the Islamic center near Ground Zero, and a general encouragement of anti-Muslim rhetoric in politics and elsewhere.“
Dig down deep enough, and you’ll find, I bet, money to made. As long as our population has someone to blame, they will keep the war machine going, cable news will have good ratings, and moron politicians will get elected spouting gibberish like “Sharia law”, no matter how insane it appears to normal people. And while we bicker about it, the relentless, always hungry for more, damn the little people orgy of greed continues. Unstopping, unregulated, oblivious to everything but itself greed. People on every “side” can prattle on about “entitlements” and austerity in some Randian circle jerk, or on the other, wanting a Prius and a solar panel installed by the government. But as long as our country things of itself as the world’s policeman, nothing will ever change.
And because the United States has the world’s largest economy, its share of world military spending is outsized, accounting for 43 percent of all the military spending on Earth — six times as much as China, which has the world’s second largest military budget and accounts for 7.3 percent of world military spending. Russia accounts for just 3.6 percent.
With polls showing declining support for the war in Afghanistan and increasing talk in Congress, even among Republicans, about cutting the military budget, it appears certain that the Defense Department is going to be downsized and our foreign military commitments scaled back in coming years.
This is going to require serious rethinking of what we perceive to be our strategic threats and whether the United States can continue to afford to be the world’s peacekeeper.
Of course it can’t- not to mention it shouldn’t. But every rational person knows this, so there isn’t a lot to debate. At some point the money will run out- what do we do then? Will we go the USSR route, with rebellions and food shortages, or will we just fade in prominence ala the British?
For the U.S., declining economic growth and rising military commitments won’t necessarily signal the decline of Pax America unless others become disproportionately richer and stronger. That is why the rise of China and the resurgence of Russia are such threats to American power. And while it is difficult to imagine the U.S. accepting a diminishing status gracefully, it will have to find a destiny in that seam where finance and commerce meet politics and strategy. Post-imperial Britain shows a possible path.
As for me, I cannot wait. All empires fail, and Fox News notwithstanding, ours is not “the greatest glory God ever placed on the earth”. We will fail, one only wonders if it will be graceful or brutal. In any event, it’s past the point of if, but when. So, what do you do? Well, for starters, assume that its already happened, and that we’re five or fifteen years down the road. Do you live off the grid? Do you make most if not all your money in an underground economy or with barter? Do you grow food? There are a thousand things that can be done- investigate. But in a “post-American” world, things will be changed, some rapidly, some incremental. This will require you to adapt and evolve- or face a world unfamiliar.
One man spoke to this. He was Gandhi, and he spoke multitudes when he said:
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
Until you understand this – really understand this, deep in your soul, until it is second nature, like breathing, you will be forever out of step. You don’t want war? Then be a beacon of peace, not hostility. You want freedom for all? Then approach everyone as free. Quite simple. Except for actually doing it. It might take you a lifetime to achieve.
If you’re lucky.