Posted by: Tony Carson | 23 August, 2007

The US needs a major make-over

While the brain trust in the Pentagon is busily trying to figure out what to do in Iraq over the short, medium and long term, the brain trust in the State Department should be hard at work re-evaluating what the US responsibilities are in the rest of the world, in the short, medium and long term.

Obviously, the US has to change its policies, its world view, immediately. The fading superpower is investing obscene amounts of taxpayers money in a military that is just so yesterday, while today the country falls apart for want of needed infrastructure investment. 

And the US is increasingly hated for its bullying belligerence, its blatant America-first aggression and its malevolent regulation-free corporatization.

Increasingly, the US government is out of step not only with world opinion, but with its own, failing democracy.

The US superpower could once muscle through the pesky interference from the UN, the Euro-block and the mounting regional interests from South America to South East Asia. No more. Iraq proves the fallacy of power, as did the unlearned lesson of Viet Nam. It also exposes the weakness of unilateralism: going it (nearly) alone in war is no longer an option.

Nor is it an option to go it alone on the diplomatic front. The US has refused to sign countless international organizations, treaties and agreements because it claims that these would weaken (or hold it to account) its strength as the planet’s major policeman. That posturing no longer works. As this article in TomDispatch The Sole Superpower in Decline The Rise of a Multipolar World points out, China, India, Russia and the EU are on the rise and vying with US supremacy in everything from resources to diplomacy.

Regrettably, the US is nearly blind to its own growing short-coming. The media, from the well-coiffed, poorly-schooled TV personalities to the preposterous jingoism of the newspaper columns, continue to see US Superpower dominance as a birthright, an extension of Manifest Destiny and so the population toddles along in the blind ignorance of the overly-smug. The media has become little more than the propaganda arm of government.

Most troubling in this sorry picture is that the US as a state has become so set in its ‘damn, we’re American’ ways that this growing sclerosis vitiates any ability to change. Just look at the Presidential contenders, for instance. The Republicans, if elected, would continue the Bush policies as if they had been effective; the Democrats would deflect them marginally, and incrementally. There is no call for change.

Intelligence, increasingly, will replace conflict in the years ahead. But intelligence requires some measure of wisdom to understand the past, objectively view the present and to collectively plan for the future. And, more than anything, effective intelligence in the future will require collective will and seamless integration.

As the past and present so dramatically illustrate, effective, integrated intelligence has no chance of happening when the richest and most militant country in the world invests so much in arms and so little in collective good will.

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