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A Less Super Superpower (from ATSNN)

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posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 03:48 PM
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I thought this succint piece was finely written, and summarizes many aspects of the current state of affairs surrounding the US, as they are discussed here on ATS.

It includes the situation in Iraq, Korean nuclear weapons and the emergence of European power, plus the US economy and foreign debt.

Read for yourself - if anything, there is less sensationalism and more sobriety in the analysis than I've seen in a long time.

 



www.tomdispatch.com
One of the most difficult things to judge in the world today is the extent of American power. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the United States possesses a far larger pile of weapons than any other country, that the American economy is also larger than any other country's and that America's movies and television programs are consumed globally. America is widely accorded the title "only superpower," and many of its detractors as well as its supporters describe it as the world's first truly globe-straddling empire. On the other hand, it is not yet clear what the United States can accomplish with these eye-catching assets. For power, as Thomas Hobbes wrote in one of the most succinct and durable definitions of power ever offered, is a "present means, to obtain some future apparent good." Power, after all, is not just an expenditure of energy. There must be results.

Measured by Hobbes's test, the superpower looks less super. Its military has been stretched to the breaking point by the occupation of a single weak country, Iraq. Its economy is held hostage by Himalayas of external debt, much of it in the hands of a strategic rival, China, holder of nearly $200 billion in Treasury bills. Its domestic debt, caused in part by the war expenditures, also towers to the skies. The United States has dramatically failed to make progress in its main declared foreign policy objective, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction: While searching fruitlessly for nuclear programs in Iraq, where they did not exist, it temporized with North Korea, where they apparently do exist, and now it seems at a loss for a policy that will stop Iran from taking the same path. The President has just announced that the "end of tyranny" is his goal, but in his first term the global democracy movement suffered its greatest setback since the cold war -- Russia's slide toward authoritarianism.

...
In an atmosphere of programmed smiles and brittle celebrations, the presidential dinners and toasts compensated for local public sentiment rather than reflecting it. The less popular Bush was in a given country, it seemed, the jollier the summit meeting. Even in little Slovakia, where the festivities seemed more spontaneous than elsewhere, an opinion poll showed that a majority believed that the United States, not Russia, was the most worrisome threat to democracy.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This article make me a bit sad, as many of the points are consistent with what we see in the news, and it manages to paint a big picture that is frankly quite bleak.

Let's hope the political climate in this country will eventually change.

[edit on 3-3-2005 by Aelita]




posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 04:02 PM
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I agree that the USA has the most powerful military in the world to this point. Unfortuantely they also have almost zero respect. And the current administration cannot gain any until they leave office. Kinda like the school yard bully. Respected only when they are beating on you, but despised the rest of the time.
Peace.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 04:08 PM
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Just the latest installment of anti-American tripe--certainly not news. Just one more opinionated hack journalist cranking out one more predictable article to boost his ratings with blame America first crowd. Is there a yawn icon?



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 04:14 PM
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News needs to be hard information - with the facts up front in the first paragraph - you might want to re-write this as an op/ed piece.
Good luck.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 04:20 PM
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Grady,

your automaton comments are quite predictable. If you are to dispel a few observations in this paper, that would be much more helpful and might be useful to save you from boredom.

As for the paper being anti-american, this I totally disagree with. I think the opposite is true -- people who care can look at things critically and not let their opinions be drowned in the official fanfare of the current administration.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 06:50 PM
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American power at the moment now sucks, yeah. But it has the ABILITY to encompass/ really conquer the entire world if the policy makers weren't just so #ing dumb. If Europe/ America were still handled like the colonial days, they wouldn't be in such a decline. #ing liberals from the 60s and after wwii messed up western civilizations chance at ever becoming great again.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 06:55 PM
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Its military has been stretched to the breaking point by the occupation of a single weak country, Iraq.


That makes it sound like our whole military is Iraq and thats all we are able to do.

The forces of our military are located in nearly 130 countries around the world performing a variety of duties from combat operations, to peacekeeping, to training with foreign militaries. Some of these deployments have existed for nearly 50 years, as in Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

As of early May 2004, there are some 250,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed in support of combat, peacekeeping, and deterrence operations. This figure does not include those forces normally present in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom or Japan unless bases at those locations are actively supporting a combat operation.


[edit on 3-3-2005 by andpau66]

[edit on 3-3-2005 by andpau66]



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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Originally posted by RedDragon
American power at the moment now sucks, yeah. But it has the ABILITY to encompass/ really conquer the entire world if the policy makers weren't just so #ing dumb.


I really think you are oversimplifying, quite. You can't possibly encompass the world which has many countries with a much larger lpopulation than the US and fairly developed at the same time.



If Europe/ America were still handled like the colonial days, they wouldn't be in such a decline.


I am at loss reading this. America was born out of revolutionary war against colonialism, right?



#ing liberals from the 60s and after wwii messed up western civilizations chance at ever becoming great again.


I observe that right now the country is run by rather extreme brand of right wing vigilantes, rather than liberals, and that it is the current policies that are unfortunately pushing this great country into a decline. Don't blame liberals for that. They didn't create the budget deficit or tied up the Army in Iraq.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by andpau66


Its military has been stretched to the breaking point by the occupation of a single weak country, Iraq.


Excuse me. That makes it sound like our whole military is Iraq.

The forces of our military are located in nearly 130 countries around the world performing a variety of duties from combat operations, to peacekeeping, to training with foreign militaries. Some of these deployments have existed for nearly 50 years, as in Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

As of early May 2004, there are some 250,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed in support of combat, peacekeeping, and deterrence operations. This figure does not include those forces normally present in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom or Japan unless bases at those locations are actively supporting a combat operation.


Quite right. However note that Iraq did indeed have a very weak military and no airforce, which makes a gigantic difference. The 130,000 troops now in Iraq are still a huge fraction of the force deployed globally, according to your data. So the point made in the article is mostly valid.



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by Aelita

Originally posted by RedDragon
American power at the moment now sucks, yeah. But it has the ABILITY to encompass/ really conquer the entire world if the policy makers weren't just so #ing dumb.


I really think you are oversimplifying, quite. You can't possibly encompass the world which has many countries with a much larger lpopulation than the US and fairly developed at the same time.



If Europe/ America were still handled like the colonial days, they wouldn't be in such a decline.


I am at loss reading this. America was born out of revolutionary war against colonialism, right?



#ing liberals from the 60s and after wwii messed up western civilizations chance at ever becoming great again.


I observe that right now the country is run by rather extreme brand of right wing vigilantes, rather than liberals, and that it is the current policies that are unfortunately pushing this great country into a decline. Don't blame liberals for that. They didn't create the budget deficit or tied up the Army in Iraq.


the conservatives right now arent really old world conservatives. you know what im talking about. they try to be imperialist but are doing it in the dumbest way possible. tbh, it was clintons economic pollicies of the 90s that lead to this decline now and Reagan's policies of the 80s that led to the 90s surplus. i dont feel like explaining it now, because i would literally have to write like a 5 page essay. the decline now is normal anyways and will go back to a surplus soon if we deal with the #ty trade agreements we have with the east.

america wasnt against colonialism, they were against british "autocratic" rule - - not really autocratic. we practiced much worse colonialism in the early 20th century/ late 19th .



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by RedDragon
the conservatives right now arent really old world conservatives. you know what im talking about.


I kinda don't, actually.



they try to be imperialist but are doing it in the dumbest way possible.


I totally agree with that statement. But maybe imperialism is not a viable model anymore. The world has undergone qualitative changes. Everything's global, even terror. Connectivity everywhere.



tbh, it was clintons economic pollicies of the 90s that lead to this decline now and Reagan's policies of the 80s that led to the 90s surplus.


That's highly arguable, although I agree that I wouldn't credit Clinton with the economic growth in the 90's.



i dont feel like explaining it now, because i would literally have to write like a 5 page essay. the decline now is normal anyways and will go back to a surplus soon if we deal with the #ty trade agreements we have with the east.


Like how? Ban imports?



america wasnt against colonialism, they were against british "autocratic" rule - - not really autocratic. we practiced much worse colonialism in the early 20th century/ late 19th .


I guess you meant late 20/early 21st, right?



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:07 PM
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why does everyone underestimate the US, we could easily have a much larger army if we needed it, i dont call 14% a high loss rate for a war do you? to say the US is losing or bogged down or whatever in iraq is underestimating our military and just ignorant, its understandable to hate deaths but that doesnt mean any loss should be considered a problem or whatever for our military, if the US debt means we are in economic downturn wouldnt every rich nation be in a downturn too? compared to our gdp, we have one of the lowest debt rates of all rich nations, overall europe is equal in debt, japan is at a far higher level(154%) and canada is high too at 77% and they all arent in economic trouble are they?



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:40 PM
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Very good articla, although I can't say how realistic it is.

It does show the underlying weakness of Americas position, sure its got a big army, but if the rest of the world just take their ball home and play with each other leaving America in the cold, it means nothing. Eventually co-operation will be stronger than military force. And America seems tetering on financial panic if the South Korean bank episode is any indication.

Maybe its a reflection of the lack of intellectual rigor of its president, that its even described in such terms as a bumbling giant. People get the president they deserve...



posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 09:29 PM
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Originally posted by andpau66
As of early May 2004, there are some 250,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen deployed in support of combat, peacekeeping, and deterrence operations. This figure does not include those forces normally present in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom or Japan unless bases at those locations are actively supporting a combat operation.


In military science, we call this having our forces spread thin. And no, it's not a good thing... The time it will take you to regroup says enough about the destruction which is bound to ensue.


why does everyone underestimate the US, we could easily have a much larger army if we needed it, i dont call 14% a high loss rate for a war do you? to say the US is losing or bogged down or whatever in iraq is underestimating our military and just ignorant, its understandable to hate deaths but that doesnt mean any loss should be considered a problem or whatever for our military, if the US debt means we are in economic downturn wouldnt every rich nation be in a downturn too? compared to our gdp, we have one of the lowest debt rates of all rich nations, overall europe is equal in debt, japan is at a far higher level(154%) and canada is high too at 77% and they all arent in economic trouble are they?


They are in trouble. BBC's been reporting German and Japanese economic recession for quite a while now. Perhaps you need to differentiate between the public and private sector?



why does everyone underestimate the US, we could easily have a much larger army if we needed it, i dont call 14% a high loss rate for a war do you?


Against guerillas with early Cold War era guns, I would consider that a high loss rate for a military which puts so much emphasis on technology.

The situation won't get any better in Iraq at this rate. The only true method for dealing with them...well...some might consider "brutal." However, I'm a firm believer in Machievelli's philosophy (hint, hint)
.



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