Friday 6 January 2012

imperium or neap tide

Speaking from the Pentagon, the US administration announced (DE) some vaguely but patriotically worded plans to transform America's military forces into an agency more compact and agile and with costs commiserate with desired results. Although the reduction is promised to be significant (it remains to be seen what they will be able to deliver, considering the soldiers of fortune, mercenaries and defense contractors probably have other plans) and few details were specified other than what goals are to be sustained--all of them and more with less--the speech was symbolic, not for the cuts to military support which is the only form of social welfare and support that the US has executed well and millions of soldiers and families rely on for careers, education and health care since the number of soldiers can be cut but because I doubt the budget will go down, and they will be replaced with drones and kill-bots and service contracts, but rather symbolic for America abandoning its self-appointed role as world-police.
Though the US was oblivious or otherwise in denial to its decline, this nebulous but surgical extraction from that leadership position does bring into contrast those differences between a vested and a vetted leader. For many decades, the US has not been fighting the world’s wars but rather its own battles, drawing the rest of the world into it, and the other major powers have avoided direct confrontation and fought wars by proxy: the US funding the Taliban in Afghanistan to send the Soviet Union over the tipping point, USSR vs US vs China in Vietnam and Korea, the US vs the British Empire in the Suez Gulf through currency manipulation that devalued the Pound Sterling. I wonder if there’s the potential even for a power-vacuum to be created. Recent military adventures have created more miseries all around than good and it would be a welcome change in attitude and posture if the priorities of the US erred on the side of restraint and partnership, but I think America, pensive and excitable over its faded glory, will try to maintain the same hulking footprint in the world with video games, and with the same costly profligacy and with fewer (soldiers--who put their lives at risk but are valued and cared for) whom stand to profit by it but with just as much to lose.