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America has lost its promise.
...of a democratic country with good intentions for all. Stupid priorities hurt the lives of Americans everyday.
The federal government squanders money on unnecessary bases and task forces, reduces taxes for the rich, and then cries that it is too broke to pay for the needs of the American people. Citizens have an illusion of freedom and democracy, but have lost control of their government.
Russia is more pacific.
Some people in the States think of Russia as an aggressive and warlike country. My guess is they are projecting this assumption. The Russian people are less aggressive than I expected.
The Bankers and Money People
... played with the stock markets damaging the world economy. Washington bailed out many of these reckless investors. Few of the criminals who played fast and loose are in jail.
These same people profit from arms sales and military base expansion. Militarism is America’s wide avenue of corruption.
Now the watchword is Austerity
...meaning cut the income and hopes of the Everyday People so the Big Bucks few can continue to make a killing. The huge defense budget expands with little check while it takes away money that would make the United States a far better country.
I was born in a land that wished to improve the lives of its own people, and help even people overseas. Good intentions were subverted in the 1950s by a fear of communism and a threat of atomic war. National good spirit diminished after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Now in 2011, states such as New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, have less federal money so their governors plan to cut teachers, close senior centers, reduce medical benefits. At the same time Obama is pushing for an expensive program to make the US more competitive with the rest of the world.
Billions and Trillions
Better to simply close some overseas bases and stop waging war. The 2011 national budget is around 3.7 trillion dollars. 700 billion is dedicated to the Pentagon plus 1 trillion for Iraq. 3 billion is spent weekly on Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s more important is the horrible suffering America’s adventures have caused.
An inconsistent leader...
It seems that the president governs by how he feels each morning. In his books and speeches Barack Obama said he would never start a war without the advice and consent of Congress, as required by the Constitution. But he did just that with Libya.
Obama accepted the Nobel prize, awarded to him based on his words. The Nobel committee was unwise to give him this prize, and he was wrong to accept it before he was tested.
Which country has learned from history?
Russia learned a hard lesson from Afghanistan, but America forgot its Vietnam lesson. The result is a less aggressive Russia in the same world as an arrogant America. Russia now identifies its vital national interests close to home, maintaining a few bases in nearby countries. (an exception... Syria).
Larissa’s generation reveres John F. Kennedy... the stirring words he spoke, his fresh young smile, his wit. Times changed after Kennedy’s assassination. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, amplified a trend towards an aggressive foreign policy.
LBJ turned our involvement in Vietnam into a major war. It was justified by the phony Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 7, 1964. US planes started bombing North Vietnam.
America’s Vietnam and Russia’s Afghanistan
American helicopters left Vietnam on April 30, 1975, ending 9 1/2 years of American heavy combat, with advisors present before that.
Russia fought in Afghanistan from December 24, 1979 to February 15, 1989, also 9 1/2 years.
Foreign bases, nuclear bombs, trident submarine missiles... all worthless against terrorists.
America shifted paranoia from Communist to Terrorists. It seems the United States always needs an enemy. Sometimes it crashes into a situation with good intentions, when it would be better to leave it alone.
Terrorism is a tactic. People are labeled Terrorists who use this tactic. Some former terrorists later became leaders of Israel and Kenya and in other lands.
Terrorism results when people are enraged by a foreign occupation. Foreign bases increase the possibility of such anger surfacing. Ben Laden was angry about American bases in Saudi Arabia.
American paranoia and Russian realism
American paranoia has involved the US in actions far from home. Russia’s has been more realistic since 1990, with a few incidents close to its borders.
American missions and long wars...
Somalia 1993, Yugoslavia 1990s, Persian Gulf War 1991, The Afghan War 2001 to now, The Iraq War 2003 to 2010, The Libyan Operation 2011.
President Obama declared the Iraq War over last August 31, even though combat operations would continue. [Is this crazy?]
The United States had combat actions or covert activities in Cuba 1963, Lebanon 1981-82, Grenada 1983, Panama 1988-90, Somalia 1992-95, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Covert actions were often brutal, a US terrorism for American government objectives.
I don’t understand.
Americans were sold a story that some tribesmen in Afghanistan planned and executed attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Better to rationally look for ‘who benefits’ and ‘who could do this’. There are indications that suggest involvement by a foreign power, perhaps with rogue domestic help.
The Afghan war has stimulated terrorist activity. Once again, our foreign presence makes things worse.
Terrorists don’t want Americans dead, ‘because they envy us’. Some Americans are naïve about how other people view them. Immigrants rarely come to the United States to live in a democracy... they come for a better material life. Most Europeans, Africans, Asians do not envy Americans. People overseas at times do not admire what America presents to the world.
Immigrants rarely set Americans straight about this misperception. It’s much like the old careful way Black Americans reacted with whites. They pretended to be friendly and funny when at times it wasn’t felt... just a way to get the whites to leave them alone.
Some Americans believe the United States has a mission to guide the world. Militarists want foreign bases to get contracts to build and maintain. The US spends billions to be ready to kill enemies, often portrayed as more of a threat then they actually are
Wherever you go, there you are! And also probably some American military bases, US Navy ships and carriers offshore, State Department offices, organizations, radio stations, technicians, spies, teachers, civilian contractors, and dependents!
The United States has around 1070 foreign military bases in 130 countries. Some bases are left out of the count. The United States has zero foreign bases on its own soil... hypocritical.
Some American superbases to Google.
Bagram, Diego Garcia, Ramstein, Bondsteel, Vizenza.
Starting in Yugoslavia, missiles have been toughened with DU... depleted uranium, leaving a population some of whom are destined to die of leukemia 10 or 20 years later. The bombs supposedly meant to protect civilians in Libya have depleting uranium, which is sure to kill many as the years go by.
The habit of war...
What with... poorly considered warlike behavior, lack of much concern for the welfare of other countries, and insincerely smiling politics, Americans are increasingly unwelcome visitors. We hear such buzz phrases as preemptive strikes, the bulwark of democracy, bringing freedom to other lands... all baloney.
I miss the climate, energy, and kindness special to the United States. But the stupid thinking and actions of its government is repulsive and depressing.
I wonder... how many years have I lived when America was at peace? When if ever will things be set right? Can the military-industrial powers be controlled?
How do you feel about American wars and foreign bases?