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The Grounding Of The USS American Empire

December 10, 2010

There are few certainties in this chaotic universe of ours.  One is that life will always find a way.  The other is that everything changes.

Everything.

With that fact in mind, I can say with confidence that the age of U.S. economic and military supremacy, the American Empire, will end.  The questions of when, where, how, and why are still being answered, but the certainty of the outcome is, at this point, a foregone conclusion.  This is the natural way of things, and is not something we should shy away from.  The course is set, but we may still be able to avoid a catastrophic collapse, and instead bring about an orderly shift away from America the super-power, to America the respected world citizen and leader.

The arguments over continuing Bush’s trillion-dollar Bonus for Billionaires is heating up, with progressives pushing back hard against the White House.  That’s a good thing, and with any luck they may be able to block this nightmare before it happens.  Though I don’t think I’d call up my bookie just yet to put money on it.  Chances are still very good that the Republicans are going to get exactly what they want out of this.  Again.  Our economic outlook is grim at best, and another multi-hundred-billion-dollar hand out to Wall Street is something we can ill-afford.  We need a jobs program and an indefinite unemployment extension beyond 99 weeks.  We need to rein in big business and “encourage” them to start hiring again by increasing incentives through tax policy.  We’re simply not going to get any of this, even if they do manage to block this “deal”.  Our economic goose is cooked and on its way to extra crispy.  Because of this fact, the days of the Dollar as reserve currency are numbered, and when that happens, it’s going to get ugly.  Our import costs will skyrocket, exacerbating the oil crisis that we’re blundering into completely unprepared, and with an already staggering economy, two ongoing military quagmires, and exploding debt, we will simply not be able to mitigate the damage.  Our ability to project power around the world will diminish to near irrelevancy.

So what do we do?  If the American Empire is going to end sooner rather than later, how long do we have?  What are the implications?  How do the American people go forward?  These are serious questions that no one can answer with any certainty, but consideration of them is critical if we are to plan for the future of human life on this planet.

Within 15 to 30 years the age of American supremacy will draw to a close.  The trajectory set by conservative non-governance over the last thirty years has sealed our fate of  in a world that is quickly leaving us behind.  The withdrawal of America from its roll as super-cop isn’t a bad thing, considering all of the crashing about and fucking up we’ve done over the years. However, it is the manner of our departure from that role that should be of concern to all people.

The consequences of our current policies may well be catastrophic.  The nihilists and disaster capitalists on the right would watch the whole world burn, as long as they and their billionaire masters can loot whatever is left.  They are not ignorant to what is happening, they just don’t give a damn.  As the American Empire steams toward its ultimate destination we need to ask ourselves what we want that end to look like.  An international power-vacuum could be an ugly, violent thing.  So how do we engineer a soft landing instead of a disastrous crash ?  We have to start at home. Immediately.

It’s actually pretty simple (if nearly impossible politically).

  • End the wars and bring home our military.
  • Cut defense spending and raise taxes on the wealthy to increase budget revenues.
  • Implement a cap-and-trade system immediately for CO2 and other greenhouse gases as a first step in addressing global climate change, and to raise revenues for alternate energy investment.
  • Extend aid to States to protect programs and jobs.
  • Use extra revenue for a massive jobs program geared towards infrastructure and energy independence.
  • Break up the large financial firms that threaten our economy and shut down the Wall Street Casino to bring sanity back to our markets.
  • Strengthen the social safety-net to help absorb the impact of future downturns, including single payer health care and strong labor protection.
  • Implement comprehensive immigration reform geared towards expanding our tax base and increasing revenues.
  • Ensure all people, especially the middle-class and poor, have access to quality higher education as a right of citizenship to restore our brain power.
  • Invest in technological innovation and renewable manufacturing to ensure our future as a strong member of the world community.

That’s just a start.

These are not radical ideas that are completely untested.  Dozens of non-superpower nations have looked to their own people in this way and enjoyed economic prosperity.  If we are incapable of self-preservation, then we cannot rise to meet the multitude of other problems facing humanity.  If we cannot do that, then we are an impediment to progress, and undeserving of a leadership role in the world.

Rest assured, the USS American Empire is going to ground.  The question is, will any of us survive the crash?  Will we steam ahead at full speed, ignoring the beacons, sure and steady in our hubris and ignorance until finally being torn to pieces on the rocks like so many before us?  Or will we heed the many lights and signals, maneuver safely towards the sandbar of history, and remain there as a tribute to our great society that, after loosing our way for so long, finally found the strength to embody our own ideals?  We can only hope.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2010 7:16 pm

    Getting Obama to pony up for tax cuts for the rich wasn’t the Republicans’ biggest achievement, although it’ll likely cost him. The real sucker-punch was getting him to focus on the deficit they created instead of jobs and the economy. The Republicans don’t care anything about the deficit – how often do they recite Ronnie’s Mantra; “deficits don’t matter”. They just pretend to care about the deficit so they can have a signature issue that isn’t included in Obama’s platform (for good reason).

    And now they’ve managed to make Obama at least pretend in public to be concerned with the deficit. He should know better, they’re just getting him to play their game, but he doesn’t seem to. He’s making the mistake of trying to do too many things at the same time, with the increasing probability that none of them will get done.

    • December 11, 2010 7:50 pm

      You’re absolutely right about the deficit. Obama’s going to own it, and the Republicans will beat him over the head with it until he pushes to gut Social Security. That’s where all of this has been going for years. Break the government, and then use that crisis as an excuse to undo the New Deal. They haven’t exactly been secret about it.

      Obama is pulling a Clinton. He thinks triangulation will win him reelection, but I don’t think that’s going to do him much good this time. We’ll see I guess.

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