POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
Whether in war or foreign affairs or economics or trade, the basic problem is the American attitude of "I want it all, and I want it now."
Another word for this is entitlement.
I think there really is no cure for this sickness, just as it is virtually impossible to undo the damage to a person raised by parents who behaved as though they were his servants.
The only time we saw some deviation from this obsession was in the Great Depression, a learning experience comparable to repeatedly hitting one's head into a wall.
But, as we've seen, even depressions have been banned in America now. You can buy your way out, and go back to just what you were doing.
Yes, Wendell Murray, the American military expenditure is actually cancer-like in its growth, and only recently we were assured by the good Mr. Gates that there would be still more coming.
American politicians today sometimes harangue about China’s military expenditure, which at somewhere between 10 and 15% that of America’s (with four times the population), seems almost miniscule.
There is no rational explanation for this.
Consider the countless billions squandered in Vietnam - inflate it to present dollars and the sum is immense - and to what end?
Trillions were spent on the Cold War, almost all of it wasted. The Soviet Union finally collapsed based on the flaws in economics and logic embedded in its very foundation and structure, not owing to America's military might.
I think the practice reflects a combination of the American entitlement syndrome (we are entitled to make all others fear our might) and the Moby Dick obsession with chasing the white whale.
There always seems to be a white whale for America.
Spain’s remaining North American Empire of the 1890s, Communism for decades going back to the 1920s (when Hoover first showed his obsession with getting rid of anyone who could be regarded as a Communist), to Islam in recent times.
Does that reflect a basic paranoid trait in a good portion of the population, the legacy of the horrible Puritans? I’ve long thought so. I think Australia was lucky to get the convicts rather than the Pilgrims.
I do believe the world needs seriously to start re-thinking the role of the American dollar as reserve currency in light of the county’s proved record of irresponsibility. That role for the currency leaves Americans with an option no one else has in paying for its lack of control. Look what it did after Vietnam.