American Consequences - May 2020

We have been at such a turning point before.

After World War II, Americans wanted to come home. But we put aside our nation- building to face the challenge of a malevolent Stalinist empire dominant from the Elbe River to the Barents Sea. And after persevering for four decades, we prevailed. What, then, did we do with our epochal victory? We alienated Russia by moving our NATO military alliance into the Baltic and Black Seas. We launched bloody, costly crusades for democracy in the Middle East that, invariably, failed. We exported a huge slice of our manufacturing capacity and economic independence to a coddled China. Historically, blunders of such magnitude have undone great powers. Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. “Unsustainable” was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy. But if our foreign policy was unsustainable during President Trump’s economic boom, with unemployment at record lows and a bull market to rival the Roaring ‘20s, can an interventionist foreign policy be sustained after the losses of this major depression we have induced to kill the pandemic? If the Democrats win in November, we know their priorities: national health insurance,

carbon taxes, the Green New Deal, open borders, amnesty, reparations, and wealth redistribution to reduce social and economic inequality – an agenda costing trillions of dollars. And Democrats will be looking at the defense budget as a slush fund to finance this new progressive era. If the Republicans win, given the influence of hawks and neocons among the party elite, interventionismmay get another run in the yard. Having been exposed as naive beyond belief for their indulgence of China from the Bush I days to 2016, some Republicans are looking to make amends by casting China in the Soviet role in Cold War II. There is talk on Capitol Hill of refusing to pay off U.S. bonds that Beijing holds and of suing China for the damages done by the coronavirus, as China failed to alert the world the pathogen was loose. Americans should think long and hard before defaulting on U.S. government debt and consider the consequences if we open a door to claims against sovereign nations for past sins. Iraq was invaded in 2003 to force it to give up illicit weapons of mass destruction it did not have. Baghdad could have a case in international court against America for the unprovoked war waged against that country. While the U.S. appears determined to bring back manufacturing – especially of products critical to the health, safety, and defense of


May 2020

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