The United States: Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower?


Thomas Friedman makes some good points about the debt-laden nation that leads — or used to lead — the world, in the New York Times:

In recent years, I have often said to European friends: So, you didn’t like a world of too much American power? See how you like a world of too little American power — because it is coming to a geopolitical theater near you. Yes, America has gone from being the supreme victor of World War II, with guns and butter for all, to one of two superpowers during the cold war, to the indispensable nation after winning the cold war, to “The Frugal Superpower” of today. Get used to it. That’s our new nickname. American pacifists need not worry any more about “wars of choice.” We’re not doing that again. We can’t afford to invade Grenada today.

Ever since the onset of the Great Recession of 2008, it has been clear that the nature of being a leader — political or corporate — was changing in America. During most of the post-World War II era, being a leader meant, on balance, giving things away to people. Today, and for the next decade at least, being a leader in America will mean, on balance, taking things away from people.

And there is simply no way that America’s leaders, as they have to take more things away from their own voters, are not going to look to save money on foreign policy and foreign wars. Foreign and defense policy is a lagging indicator. A lot of other things get cut first. But the cuts are coming — you can already hear the warnings from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. And a frugal American superpower is sure to have ripple effects around the globe…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • Gregory

    Yeah, but the reduced military spending and reduction of the American Empire will allow the US to invest more money in the US. Free, Universal health care would be a start. Then we would have more disposable income. Another start would be to put people to work fixing and upgrading our crumbling infrastructure.

    The reduction of our American Empire would also improve our foreign relations as very few countries where we have sought, really, to intervene for good haven’t hated us for it. It would also sober up Europe and our other Allies once they actually have to pay for their own military and stuff.

    This the inevitable early, painful symptoms of globalization…the US must be brought down so the rest of the world can be lifted up. Once we have a few more countries mirroring the US model, we’ll all be in the same boat. We just have to get over ourselves and be the example.

    For despite what the Tea Party people say…we have ceased to be a “Bastion of Hope” to the world, but we’ve been a rogue nation that has allowed corporate greed to be the economic equivalent of giving our citizens hemlock to drink. They don’t call us “The Great Satan” for nothing.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      I just wish they’d spent the first trillion and a half on that kind of thing…this 50 billion too little too late last ditch re-election effort is just sad.

      Its a cruel irony that the superpower that pushed for globalization loud and clear so that foreign children could be enslaved to make our shirts and shoes…

      …is now looking down the barrel of a future where our wage scale will eventually make theirs look rosy and righteous.

      In a way, its as if we were robbers, breaking into someone elses home with a gun pointed at their head…only to have it backfire and blow our own faces off…and here we lie, in a pool of our own blood, wondering how it all went wrong while we bleed to death in agony.

      • Anonymous

        This majestic is a neocon stooge, I think nobody should humor this plant?

    • Haystack

      “Yeah, but the reduced military spending and reduction of the American Empire will allow the US to invest more money in the US. Free, Universal health care would be a start. Then we would have more disposable income. Another start would be to put people to work fixing and upgrading our crumbling infrastructure. ”

      I think he’s saying that we won’t be able to afford domestic spending, either.

  • Ironaddict06

    Good. America should get back to taking care of its self. Let Africa fight its own tribal wars. Let Kosovo fight their own civil war. Let the Muslims and Jews fight their own war. Let South Korea worry about North Korea. Quit giving billions of finacial aid to Africa or other nations. Then if countries call us up for help, fine we will help but it will be done our way. If we are attacked by anyone, it should be responded by such a powerfull “SHOCK&AWE” that other countries will think twice about making an attack.

    • Haystack

      America’s foreign policy has always been about taking care of America. You make it sound like we intervened in the Sudan to stop genocide, rather than Iraq to secure some oil reserves.

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