Monday, October 25, 2010

Should We Pull Out and Pull Back?

Steve at The Otter Limits has a couple of scorching posts condemning the United States’ foreign policy, otherwise known as the American Empire in The American Empire: Part One and The American Empire: Part Two. In these posts, Steve suggests that we shutdown nearly, if not all, of our military bases around the world and end the war in Afghanistan. His reasoning is fairing simple –
  1. There is no need for these basses,
  2. We can no long afford to keep these basses open,
  3. No invading country has ever won in Afghanistan.

All of that makes perfect sense. Most of the military basses in Europe and Asia are left-overs from WWII and the Cold War. Those battles are now long gone and neither region is instable or at risk of being taken over by some tyrannical government, so why should we continue to keep a presence there? The only dilemma with leaving Afghanistan is the power vacuum that it would leave, but Steve’s argument that we cannot win that war the way that we are fighting it is correct. So unless there is a major strategy change, we are destined to lose that war.

The simple fact is that the United States has spread itself too thin and we need to pull back and tighten up and I’m sorry but defense spending is one of the first places we should start. Aside from the fact that the Pentagon has no clue where a lot of their own budget goes, there has got to be places that we could make massive cuts. Besides with the technology that we have today, physical bases all across the world are just no longer needed.

But I highly doubt this will ever happen. Why? Money. War is an extremely profitable business and those doing the profiting will demonize ANYONE who even suggests making cuts to defense spending (even though I suspect that the majority of Americans would support defense cuts when they actually look at the facts instead of listen to the demagogs). There are also the hawks who believe that America must have a strong military presence around the world. Many of these people also believe in the teachings of Leo Strauss who taught that America needed an enemy to keep the public focused to prevent chaos (i.e. the US needs an enemy in order to help keep the masses in order and under control). So we here were have a group of people who are interested in maintaining control and profits who will do, I suspect, nearly anything to maintain the status quo of the American Empire.

Like Steve I love my country. I love the values that it was built upon: freedom and liberty. But, also like Steve, I am not blind to the fact that there our country has made some very bad decisions that have had dire consequences. It really is time that we took a long, hard look at what our nation has been doing in foreign countries and decide if this is truly how we want to conduct our business.

1 comment:

Otter Limits said...

"Most of the military bases in Europe and Asia are left-overs from WWII and the Cold War. Those battles are now long gone...so why should we continue to keep a presence there?"

You are right. There is no reason for us to remain in those areas. But I will go one further with you. Was it ever really necessary for us to have been there in the first place?

In my opinion, the Cold War was a complete waste of money and resources. The Cold War was "fought" specifically to rid the world of communism. Why? Did communism offend us so much that we had to be at war for 5 decades over it? And was it really worth it to be at war that long when the only REAL outcome of it was that now half the world (if not more) hates us because of our illegal operations around the globe in order to keep communism contained? I don't think so.