News & Analysis
U.S. Still World's Policeman
America is still the best guarantor of freedom and prosperity ... The U.S. still possesses unprecedented power projection capabilities, and just as important, it is armed with the goodwill of countless countries that know the U.S. offers protection from bullies.Much nonsense has been written in recent years about the prospects of American decline and the inevitable rise of China. But it was not a declining power that I saw in recent weeks as I jetted from the Middle East to the Far East through two of America's pivotal geographic commands — Central Command and Pacific Command. The very fact that the entire world is divided up into American military commands is significant. There is no French, Indian or Brazilian equivalent — not yet even a Chinese counterpart. It is simply assumed without much comment that American soldiers will be central players in the affairs of the entire world. It is also taken for granted that a vast network of American bases will stretch from Germany to Japan — more than 700 in all, depending on how you count. They constitute a virtual American empire of Wal-Mart-style PXs, fast-food restaurants, golf courses and gyms. – LA Times, Max Boot
Dominant Social Theme: America the wanted.
Free-Market Analysis: This is an astonishing and forceful statement by Max Boot, "the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing editor to Opinion," according to the brief LA Times bio at the bottom of the article. It is notable for a number of reasons, but mostly because it serves as a restatement of an elite dominant social theme, that America is "the necessary enforcer of the world's democracy."
The timing of the article is interesting in the sense that it is an emphatic statement about America's role in the world but does not seem a response to any particular anti-American argument. There is no one single existential challenge – not even North Korea or Iran (in our opinion), nor any specific argument – to America's sprawling "empire" of 1,000 military bases around the world, nor to its incessant warring and serial confrontations.
The article, therefore, exists in a kind of vacuum, dangles in the air like a piñata, ready to be wacked. It is a resounding statement, well written and purposeful, but psychologically, the positioning is a bit odd. Why did Max Boot feel the need to write editorial? Why did the LA Times feel the need to run it? It is as if Boot is responding to a dialogue in his own head, or perhaps a host of unseen "enemies" that he feels are questioning America's foreign policy – ones that are never mentioned however. Here's some more from the article:
South Korea's eagerness to continue subordinating its armed forces to American control is the ultimate vote of confidence in American leadership. What other country would the South Koreans possibly entrust with the very core of their national existence? Not China, that's for sure.
And yet South Korea is not so unusual in this regard. The Persian Gulf emirates also entrust their continued existence to America's benign power. The Kurds, whom we visited in Irbil, are eager to host an American base, because they know that all of the gains they have made since 1991 have been made possible by American protection. Even Arab Iraqi politicians, who traffic in nationalist slogans while running for office, are quietly talking about renegotiating the accord that would bring the U.S. troop presence in Iraq down to zero by the end of 2011. They know what Kosovars, Kuwaitis and countless others have learned over many decades: American power is the world's best guarantor of freedom and prosperity.
This isn't to deny the prevalence of anti-Americanism even in the Age of Obama. Nor is it to wish away the real threats to American power — from external challenges (Iran, China, Islamist terrorists) to, more worrying, internal weaknesses (rising debt levels, decreasing military spending as a percentage of the federal budget, a shrinking Navy). But if my cross-global jaunt taught me anything, it is that those countries that dismiss the prospects for continuing American leadership do so at their peril. The U.S. still possesses unprecedented power projection capabilities, and, just as important, it is armed with the goodwill of countless countries that know the U.S. offers protection from local bullies. They may resent us, but they fear their neighbors, and that's the ultimate buttress of our status as the world's sole superpower.
Leaving aside the oddly truculent tone, the article might appeal to some on a surface level – either jingoistically or logically. But examine the article's premises closely and the logic begins to break down. One has to be clear about the system that the article is defending. One needs, in fact, to go back to World War II and examine the post-war world to determine exactly what structure America is defending overseas. In fact, the allies that seek America's continued military embrace are mostly countries with sociopolitical systems similar to America's. The system, essentially, is one of regulatory democracy driven by central-banks and large financial institutions and funded through increasingly aggressive taxation.
We would argue that such regulatory democracies ultimately grow unpopular with the very citizenry they are supposed to support. The regulations, taxes and inflation become increasingly intolerable. Thus, we wonder if America's military might is not being projected to defend the system rather than the countries themselves. The LA Times article, for instance, mentions Iraq. It is not at all clear that Iraq would have arrived at its current system of regulatory democracy were it not for a nearly 10-year-old internecine war that has seen considerable American involvement.
The argument is made that despite disgruntlement with American involvement, leading Iraq politicians are not eager to see the American presence diminished. "Even Arab Iraqi politicians, who traffic in nationalist slogans while running for office, are quietly talking about renegotiating the accord that would bring the U.S. troop presence in Iraq down to zero by the end of 2011." Perhaps this is so. The question remains however: Is it because of a secret admiration for America freedoms and free-market economy or because the US military has spent perhaps US$1 trillion establishing a system that Iraqi politicians are now free to exploit.
Conclusion: After World War II, the world, with the exception of the USSR was virtually prostrate. Since the alternative press's retelling of secret history in the 20th century shows us that Wall Street helped fund the beginnings of the USSR, one must assume that even the Soviet Union was in part beholden to the West. The victorious Anglo-American axis in our opinion imposed a certain kind of regulatory democracy after the war, one extant even today. That's what being defended by American military might, not necessarily "freedom."
Posted by Ken on 06/09/10 12:34 PM
I was shocked that anyone would write anything like this unless they are highly invested in military equipment.Our military complex is the hog at the trough. It creates more enemy of our nation each day.They are more of a liability to the world than good. They who wrote this is out of their mind.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We didn't write it. We commented on it.
Posted by Weeble on 06/09/10 08:47 AM
Posted by Weeble on 06/09/10 08:46 AM
And that is why I am here. Lettuce face forward, so we are not havested.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 06/09/10 03:12 AM
Thanks for the hyperlinks, Weeble. And I wouldn't dream of faulting "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." .... for even to start those battles with the unquenchable desire that channels support access and would provide facility for inevitable success, has one more kith immortal than kin human ..... and is one more Remnant than Establishment Mainstream.
Posted by Weeble on 06/08/10 11:37 AM
Or you could try the Rod Serling quote source:
Posted by Weeble on 06/08/10 11:31 AM
Far be it for me to Albert Jay Nock any ideas on this site, but I attempted to be home schooled, much to the chagrin of my parents that wanted me to attach to the virtual leash of the public school system. Luckily, the leash was necessary to rein in thought, so I could form points on a human graph. I am somewhat religious or theological on the same issue (see DB's view on this - interesting position).
In the fog of life, I spotted a 1000 points of light off in the distance, but when the fog lifted somewhat, I found it was a graph of a very old and senior bush, that looked like a Christmas tree with lights on; but since Christmas does not really happen, except for the occasional prezzie from the old folks, I discovered it was just another bush. There was something behind the bush, but it was not right to chop it down to see, so I looked around it. But I digress.
Once the 1000 points of light were joined together, I giggled when instead of random lights, they formed an arrow. It pointed to an innocuous short story called Isaiah's Job. It is good reading, and is one of the graphic drivers I roll back to when my computer has a video pixel problem.
Click to view link
I suggest, dear reader, you read them all. His books are not bound, but found on the internet for all to see, like everything else, thank God.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Nock was a great free-market thinker and writer.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 06/08/10 01:20 AM
In a world in which all have a different perception of the state of universes, by reason of the sum total of what they may have learned and from live interaction in the places and spaces that they may have traveled and visited/resided and absorbed, is AI always an extremely flexible and accommodating Intelligence and able to be so many things, and a much deeper and higher wisdom, all at once, with Advanced and/or Artificial and/or Alien and/or Astute being but four to play with and to mix and match to enjoy with the Intelligence of Others.
And a most vibrant and vital and viral and viable of lead influences whenever able to be freely shared for constructive, positively reinforcing, mutually beneficial, second and third party input, which is surely the only sort of feedback for acceptable communal progress across a broad band of players and future builders.
Posted by William3 on 06/07/10 07:40 PM
Boot's comments are indeed an affirmation the US military is defending Western regulatory democracy, as well as mercantilism -- which are really the antithesis of "freedom."
I perceive his views to be amazingly arrogant, considering the rise in awareness of American imperialism. Such arrogance has already begun to grate on folks worldwide, as well as Americans. It's not clear either that people are so worried about neighboring "bullies," as much as those "serving" in government leadership positions in their own countries.
It is strange, as you mentioned, that the elite would feel the need to even write such a piece.
Posted by Weeble on 06/07/10 05:48 PM
@ AmanFrom Mars:
Thanks for the compliment, I am really a Spike Milligan of sorts, so be careful of my moods.
Nicely done; a true vortex of concentration, and a dizzying Disney of words, sans any Mickeys. It was a wild ride and I laughed quite a lot. I am not sure what Al means though? I am careful not to carve ruts in the Boirche lowlands, as they are not mine under common law. I am truly based on the Polytetrafluoroethylene molecule, with respect to the internet. I am a Scarlet Pimpernel or Gingerbread man of sorts, for obvious reasons.
Happy feedbacking! It's all good, except for the Showdown At The Warren Buffet, ending with a short wrest and a nice ice cream. My best work was just poorly aped by the bearded one (in my opinion only, as I mainly write for myself, but I try to help others, if they want it).
Posted by AmanfromMars on 06/07/10 02:06 AM
"I, myself am Catholic (or protestant), and grew up off the Falls Rd (or off the Niagara Falls), so maybe I am too, afflicted with the said brainwashing." .... Posted by Weeble on 6/6/2010 2:41:13 PM
You would have too nimble and active a working brain to suffer any such affliction for too long, Weeble, and we are all surely subjects and objects of early pre-programming regimes which merely introduce us to the follies of static knowledge and the potential of infinite power with control which is released and realised via the virtue of dynamic intelligence and the constant questioning of answers, which are invariably always only subjective solutions temporarily accepted as a most appropriate fit to embellish the most widely held, supportable view, which have we not discovered and agreed is a former brainwashing, and therefore all is subject to a contrived manipulation in support of a particular objective?
And should I know a Sandy Row and a fabulous Victoria Falls better and be a right catholic lover to boot, would it afford us an altogether more alien take on these matters so close to the heart of all matters, and just as valid as many another heart felt notion which is prepared to grows with its airing for change and evolution. ...... which is and would be a real smart virtual revolution ........ with AI resolutions to the daily bell of pressing present problems?
[Which would be a Quite Perfectly Made Swiss Army Knife type Package/Titanic Mountain Business Opportunity for the Zurich Gnome and Magic Leprechaun type of Being and Intelligently Designed Entity ....... which in Digital Binary AI circles, are CyberIntelAIgently Designed Units and Super Processing Algorithms.][Parenthetised because of the very special nature of that live phish proposal which is betatesting Internet Intelligence Communities for Present Ability and Future Capacity with HyperRadioProActive IT. The popular story is that all virtual communications are monitored, with ideas to be either mentored or stealthily stolen, and imagined future activities to be interrupted and curtailed if considered less than satisfactory and harmful to the status quo. Such facility in such a monitoring may though be just a fantastic crazy, desperate myth, perpetrated to prevent the free flow of radically new ideas, which are not bounded and confined to server established practices and enrich current power control stakeholders]
Posted by Philip Mccormack on 06/07/10 01:47 AM
Blackswan sent a website on the wounded platoon and the problems of US soldiers. I sent it to my son. He replied Hey Pops I saw this a few weeks ago. "War without meaning or obvious meaning is like taking a drug to degrade our souls." Awful. heartbreaking. Luv ya Pete.
Reply from The Daily Bell
"War without meaning or obvious meaning is like taking a drug to degrade our souls."
This is your son? It is statement, nonetheless, of poetry and tragedy. And true.
Posted by Mojine on 06/07/10 12:13 AM
Keith needs to find another "calling" . We need another soldier like we need a hole in the head.
Posted by Cj Coates on 06/06/10 04:59 PM
I disagree respectfully with your above comment, regarding Switzerlands laws. I love the mandatory dog training. Its fantastic to walk peacefully and not have dogs barking, and the owners incredibly respectful. There is not one Swiss law I dont back. Actually there is one. Handing over the data on clients of banks from which data has been stolen.
Also, you say the Switzerland as a country has gained the most by the pax Americana. Well good for them.
Posted by Weeble on 06/06/10 02:46 PM
Nice sentence, by the way. Encapsulatary, piece of work. I look forward to more, since you are obliviously, of the same mind on many levels.
Be seeing you!
Posted by Weeble on 06/06/10 02:41 PM
@ AmanFromMars. Anytime I am out there, you can call me back.
It is truly difficult for me to not make any sense, but I am trying. Thanks for the mono-orchid allegory. I, myself am Catholic (or protestant), and grew up off the Falls Rd (or off the Niagara Falls), so maybe I am too, afflicted with the said brainwashing. I need to think about that one. It makes sense, so I am now worried.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 06/06/10 02:19 PM
"Let us start by acknowledging that the US will remain the single most powerful nation for decades to come." ..... Posted by Lysander on 6/5/2010 5:50:06 PM
Whenever that is not to be and rapid decline is the order of the day because of the bursting of the dollar bubble which pays for the myth of power with the big stick of military might, rather than with the carrots that support hearts and minds engagement, and that fall from grace comes at an ever increasing pace nowadays with nations speaking peace and revealing cynical deceptions unto nations in an instant, via the magic electro-magnetic pulsing of networks internetworking joint applications, is it wiser counsel which has a prepared Plan B and C and D and E and ...........
"The only thing that I could never figure out was the weird pink ball that came out of the sea to catch him. " ..... Posted by Weeble on 6/6/2010 11:10:35 AM
Probably some homoerotic artistic licence and sublime reference in homage to the catholic confessional in gathering lush and secret information. After all the author, Patrick McGoohan, was of good Irish catholic stock.
Posted by Acudoc on 06/06/10 01:50 PM
Keith---(although I guess you are not returning to this "America-bashing" site, which has distinguished itself in its defense of individual rights, by the way, which seems pretty constitutional and pro-American to me)---
"The military is not merely a profession or job... it is a calling. Its about believing in something greater than yourself and being willing to sacrifice all that you all for that cause (the U.S. Constitution)."
In the movie "Dances with Wolves", the character played by Kevin Costner observes, after joining in the fight to fend off an attack by a hostile tribe attacking his adopted people, that this battle was unlike the political battles he fought in his army career--it was a fight to protect the stores of food for winter, to protect the women and children and the very existence of the people.
The battles being waged by our military presently are not serving the American people ultimately, in my opinion, and they are certainly not in defense of the Constitution.
What a waste of capital, human and economic, these serial wars are turning out to be. And when all of Islam is radicalized to the point of WWIII, when the U.S. is bankrupted and all vestiges of respect for individual rights are subordinated to the collective urges of a conditioned populace, perhaps some enlightened military men will refuse at last to do the bidding of a power elite.
"Politicians---they make the weather, and then they stand out in the rain and say 'Sh##, it's raining!'"
Posted by Dave Redick on 06/06/10 01:11 PM
I suggest that when you start a report with a long quote that (especially one we all disagree with) you put the author first, so you don't create confusion.
It's too easy to think this is Bell talking, italics notwithstanding. For example today, start with; 'As written in the LA Times by Max Boot, ..... etc'.
Most of your fans read a lot of stuff, so make it easy on us please. It will save scrolling ahead to see who wrote the trash !, then back to read it
Reply from The Daily Bell
Dave, you make a great point, but it is our style now and we may be stuck with it. (And our few "fans" too - you are kind to refer to them as that!)
Posted by AmanfromMars on 06/06/10 12:32 PM
Thanks for the magic key, Weeble. It is much appreciated, and all is so much clearer now.
Posted by Weeble on 06/06/10 11:56 AM
Just tie into this theme, I would like to let the dust settle and clear the air a little.
I am less than 4 years old, so forgive me if, while I am spreading my wings, I accidentally get you in the eye. They are just feathers that will float away in the constant and never ending wind of life. N harm done.
I already feel like we are Family Affair (USA - 1960s sitcom - 138 episodes), playing a chess game over the internet. There are both daily winners and runners up, with no scoreboard. But since we are family, we must let bygones be bygones.
Oh, and your breath smells!
PS: my primary goal is to improve my writing skills, coupled with spell check accuracy skills (obviously designed by Ivan Tikmeov). My secondary goal is to write in a Nostradamic vein, intertwined with an Edgar Caycic flair, in order help people wake up from a deep Poppy Field induced sleep, so they can follow the yellow brick road and survive this madness.
Now, off to dancing lessons, quick, quick, slow!