Thursday, July 5, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts Vents

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, Paul Craig Roberts isn't happy with the situation in DC.  In this short article he points out some serious issues in US foreign policy.  Some of the things he says are statements of the obvious, others are more open to other interpretations.  For instance:  What the US is bringing is civil wars and the breakup of countries, as President Bill Clinton’s regime achieved in former Yugoslavia. The more countries can be torn into pieces and dissolved into rival factions, the more powerful is Washington.  OK, that's true, in a way.  But who says that Iraq must remain in the geographical configuration that the British and French agreed upon many, many years ago?  The Kurds, who've wandered around the area now occupied by Turkey and northern Iraq for centuries might like to see central power in Baghdad disappear.  In that particular instance, how powerful has Washington actually become?  Prisoners in their own compounds, American troops have less integration into Iraqi society than the Hessians did in revolutionary America, their most effective means of subjugating the Iraqis being the delivery of pallets full of shrink-wrapped hundred dollar bills to the sheiks and emirs that really run the country.  The state of the art, high-tech military equipment that enables a non-com in Missouri to rain death onto a meeting of tribal leaders in a remote desert province on the opposite side of the globe is unlikely to convince the witness residents that they should hang the stars and stripes outside their beyt.  While Washington's adventures in the middle east have certainly had an effect on those living there, they've also had a truly negative influence on life in the US itself, as anyone that's taken a plane ride can attest.

  Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world’s most powerful economy. So what?  If the Chinese economy becomes measurably larger in some way than that of the US, does that mean that we go to the end of some line?  And then have to work our way back to the front?  Are measurements of the GDP of nations akin to the scores of NBA playoff games, where eventually a temporary winner is crowned and allowed to hang a pennant in its arena?  That's nuts.  On the day that the Chinese economy slips past that of the US in some probably impossible to verify statistic, no one in America will even be aware of it.  No one will come to the door, demand our forks and then replace them with chopsticks.  Can Americans possibly believe that citizens of lower rung countries like Argentina and Thailand are perpetually miserable because they're not on the top of the economic heap?  Maybe they are, actually, since they, too, have governments intent on regulating their lives.

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