This blog is mostly devoted to a discussion of the big fiscal and economic problems facing our country. A growing and fiscally prudent economy will do the most good for the greatest number of Americans. I have also argued that “A Strong Country Requires a Strong Economy” in the sense that our adversaries take us more seriously because we have the world’s dominant economy.
In addition, I strongly believe that U.S. power plays a critical role in maintaining stability around the world. More bluntly, the world is better off because the good guys are also the strong guys. It is often said that we can’t police the whole world but whether we want to or not we have this role.
In this regard, the Wall Street Journal has just published an informative article, “New Way the U.S. Projects Power around the Globe: Commandos.” The U.S. Special Forces currently has 70,000 people in uniform and an annual budget of $10 billion. Last year they operated in 81 different countries on six continents. For example:
- Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets are stationed in the Baltics, training troops from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia for the type of proxy warfare Russia is conducting in eastern Ukraine.
- U.S. forces are helping Filipino forces stymie al Qaeda aligned Abu Sayyaf Group.
- The U.S. has trained Columbian troops to fight rebels and drug traffickers.
- A Navy Seal raid killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout.
- U.S. special operators work with Ugandan troops to hunt the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
- 1,300 troops from 18 western nations are training commandos from 10 African countries to fight extremist organizations such as Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram.
The world is a messy, chaotic place. Our own wellbeing depends on maintaining at least a minimal degree of stability. We have accepted this responsibility and are meeting it head on. This represents America at its best.
I simply am not as sharply divided in my notions of good and evil as are your views. History does not tell me that either side ever has all the good or the bad. I also think agree with the, I think, Englishman Lord Acton who said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That military might you speak of as a “good” also protects many U.S. corporations to impose cheap wages on many peoples of the world, as well as keep wages down here. “Stability” can be a plus but it can also be a means of preserving oppression and injustices toward the less powerful. As we know the Wall Street Journal has always been a newspaper for the wealthy. I generally support policies that make the least comfortable a little more comfortable and the most comfortable a little less. My position seems to have been ignored for much of the past 50 years, or so I think.
Your alter ego,
The U.S. certainly is not all good while some other countries are all bad. But democracy is better than tyranny and capitalism is better than socialism. In fact, world trade especially as promoted by corporations in western democracies has greatly reduced inequality around the world as I have discussed in a previous post: https://itdoesnotaddup.com/2014/01/23/a-global-perspective-on-income-inequality/.
What I am saying is that the world greatly benefits when a liberal, free-enterprise, democracy is providing world leadership as the U.S. has been doing ever since the beginning of WWII.
I have great difficulty believing that capitalism is better than socialism. Such a statement beckons for discussion. I found neither one satisfactory in and by itself. However, I hardly see America’s capitalism as simply one of free enterprise. I view it as more state capitalism with an excessive blend of government and corporate partnership.
What we have in our country is “crony capitalism” rather than completely free enterprise. State capitalism, or mercantilism, is a good name for it. Government is much too involved in bestowing favors on particular industries and companies.
But even our corrupt form of capitalism is better than socialism where business and government are one and the same.