America Quo Vadis? (Part 1)
At the end of the cold war dawned a new century which was supposed to usher in an unprecedented era of prosperity referred to a "growth "by economists and technocrats, in addition to peace and democratization. However, what we are witnessing now is the rise of global militarism, greed -driven corrupt- ridden globalization (coded terminology for neoliberalism) huge social disparities and the curtailment of basic civil rights and liberties in the world's preeminent and well established "liberal democracies". How did we get to this? And where are we headed? When one looks at America or its superpower supremacy it is patently evident that its unrivalled status is being challenged by new and rising regional great powers: China and to a lesser degree India. Frustrated by new power blocs such as Russia -China tandem hooking up with India, the U.S has yet to devise a policy to deal with these new competitors. America has so far sought to maintain its global hegemonic dominance by means of a foreign policy whose corner stone is the "war on terror".
This war is based on the premise incompatible with the much vaunted and lofty premise of "conflict- resolution": that by bombing, occupying very poor and weak states it can keep alive the fading myth of a beneficent "Pax Americana" stabilizing and subduing what Washington perceives as the world's unruly barbaric and backward masses. This policy doctrine of "pre emptive "strikes is a post modern version of naked aggression or brute force not unlike the state sanctioned violence used during the crusades in the Middle Ages or from the times of Rome's imperial conquests . This power worst of all, is being used in a most reckless, inefficient and costly manner (to the US treasury and taxpayer that is) possible. There is no post war planning , as in the case of Iraq. As a result the on going "war on terror" the U.S has become a source of instability and a target of scornful vilification in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Instead of a benighted "good guy "or a pillar of strength and stability in a highly unstable international arena it is seen as an agent of instability and destruction operating in a highly unstable international arena. Yet more humiliating is how "the richest nation on earth" conducts the "war on terror". An emasculated and effeminate military force relies on either high -tech gadgetry or mercenaries to fight the ground wars which it can't prosecute alone. Often an ill -equipped army untrained for guerilla warfare is sent to the "theatre of operations" or conflict zones without a "game plan" while on the home front military bases, hospitals are shut down. Due to domestic electoral reason the U.S is unable to make the sacrifices in manpower and troops to properly "pacify" its outer spheres of influence. Instead it relies primarily on air power is reluctant allies and the 21st century version of "gunboat "diplomacy to subdue those nations unwilling to do business with it. Examples come to mind such as Serbia, Iraq, North Korea or Libya which in order to avoid an air war with the U.S renounced plans to stockpile WMD and opened up just in time its rich oil industry to U.S oil companies.
When the cold war ended the U.S was blessed with a "peace dividend". Yet instead of capitalizing on this 'surplus of good will " generated by the Fall of Communism and the triumphant emergency of freedom and fast food , it squandered this wealth on massive defense spending, over- consumption , fastidious space programs and tax cuts to the wealthy elite at the helm of corporate run America. The domestic economy driven by consumption replaced production as the main engine for economic growth in the world's largest economy has resulted in a 600 billion trade deficit with China, now the main exporter of goods to the U.S. The Wal Martisation of America has seen massive displacement of the manufacturing sector to the Far East and China. The traditional American worker has been replaced by an underpaid coolie slaving away for pittance wage in sweat shops located in what the Chinese euphemistically refer to as "free zones": estentially giant mass labor camps.
Hurricane Katrina has exposed the fault lines of class, race and income in the U.S. A huge underclass surfaced for all too see to the horror of the new American under taxed "White over class" as the analyst and author Michael Lind calls Bush's corporate buddies. It has also called into the question the relentless and merciless on- going dismantling of the welfare state at a time when government is needed more than ever in crisis such as these. The state actor is called on to disburse Federal hand outs in the form of disaster relief to the Gulf states, bankruptcy protections is sought to save a collapsing domestic airline industry, or policing the murky and opaque world of corporate fraud and tax evasion and other crimes against shareholders are some examples of much needed "intrusiveness" by government and its agencies in the life of its citizens. Right wing republican ideologues bulk at the mention of state intervention and trumpet the glories of the free marker and deregulation instead. However, it was deregulation in the energy sectors which led to Enron's collapse and resulted in thousands of American shareholders losing 100 billion investments savings. This same deregulations dogma has brought North West and Delta Airlines down to their knees and groveling in front of the Federal government for state funds to stay alive.