Originally posted by MrSandman
When the USSR was around the U.S. had an equal competitor. Someone to balance the power. The USSR couldn't do anything without thinking of the reprocussions that the U.S. would inflict. The same goes for the United States.
The same goes for its people.
I read something some time back about the way that the threat of invasion will unite the citizens to work together for the good of the country. Many examples exist. The British during WW2 to pick one famous one.
This was also the theme during JFK's "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You" speech. If you read it entirely, it is wholly based around the threat of the USSR and the dangers of communism. Thats why you have to do stuff for your country. Your country really really really needed you for its survival.
But nowdays, as you say, no real threat, the people dont need to think about the country and (citizens and leaders alike) can just gorge themselves on their own private pleasures. How much does that cost? Who cares, lets party!