I’ve given the comments about my last post a lot of thought. I mean, when long time readers disagree with me, at the very least I should consider carefully the wisdom of their words. It’s times like these where I almost regret not being a fundamentalist or a Neocon Republican, it must be nice in a way to have a philosophy that answers all questions and all critics with the same well rehearsed rote answers. However, for good or for ill I rejected all isms as a young man and have never looked back, the universe is way too complicated for any set of beliefs to explain everything and answer all critics. Aside from the basic logic in this, the facts speak for themselves. The greatest atrocities in history are almost always inspired by rote application of some belief.
However, I digress. In the matter at hand, I have decided I won’t be writing any more posts critical of Obama. I mean, Obama supporters and I pretty much agree that McCain is a catastrophically bad choice for president. So for me to criticize Obama would pretty much be considered friendly fire by Obama supporters, in fact almost by definition it is friendly fire. So I’ll find other subjects to direct my criticism at, it’s not like there’s a shortage. It’s just such a damn shame that politics in America has degenerated to the point where people’s votes are often determined by which candidate they despise the least, instead of having candidates with genuine differences of opinion on the issues. So good luck to Obama and his supporters, I can’t give the man a ringing endorsement, but I’ll try to stay out of the way so to speak.
Moving right along, someone took fault with my description of America as “The greatest empire the world has ever seen.” Well, technically speaking, maybe they are correct. However, in many many respects America occupies an almost unparallelled position in history. Since 1945 no fleet or combination of fleets could dispute America’s domination of the world’s oceans, a status that only England (arguably) matched in history. There’s never been a nation that spent as much money on defence as the rest of the world combined. At one point the USA with 6% of the world’s population was consuming over 60% of the world’s resources. That’s probably come down a bit in the last few decades, nonetheless no other nation has ever consumed anywhere near the percentage of the globe’s resources as America. America’s system of global alliances and military bases is again virtually unmatched in history, and certainly unmatched in the current day. I suppose I could say that the USA is a nation of unparallelled economic, political, and military power with a global influence and interests that know no boundaries. However, calling the US the greatest empire the world has ever seen has more cachet, is shorter, and hopefully people can understand that I don’t mean it in a literal sense. And it certainly is an accurate way to describe how most Americans feel about the superiority of their way of life.
A reader suggests that Europe is waiting for the USA to re-engage with the world, not pull out. Well, mea culpa, I suppose that is true, at least in regards to Europe. I wasn’t really including Europe when I made my statement, but I can only agree. Before the Bush administration successive American administrations did try to work with Europe, then along came Bush with his unilateral “you’re with us or against us” style of diplomacy. So I stand corrected on that front, my only comment being, I hope Europe isn’t holding its breath. As for the remark that most in Europe support NATO’s presence in Afghanistan, I’m saddened, but not surprised. Europe invented modern global colonialism, and at heart many in Europe must still have an arrogant paternalistic view of the rest of the world. Maybe not as arrogant and paternalistic as the typical American’s attitude, but it’s there under the surface no doubt. Otherwise their troops in Afghanistan would not enjoy the support of many Europeans.
And lastly, if anyone took offence at my last post, none was meant. And if any was taken, please accept my apologies. (Clearly I have no future as a right wing radio entertainer.) As with all my posts I meant to inspire thought and discussion, not insult people. Sometimes I go over the line, and in this case I clearly did. However, my gentle readers pointed out the error of my ways. If some still disagree with me after my clarifications here, so be it, I know damn well that I don’t have all the answers and that intelligent people can disagree without without either party being in the wrong. I hope.
As always, thanks for the thoughtful comments. Tomorrow, as promised, how to survive a nuclear attack using only your wits and a pillowcase.
(The above image of the aftermath of a friendly fire incident is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and arguably it is a historically important image. Crdit and copyright: BBC news. It’s from an incident in 2003 where a US Navy jet mistakenly bombed a group of US and Kurdish soldiers and a BBC news team. In modern warfare, IE since gunpowder came into wide use, friendly fire has typically accounted for about 5-10% of the casualties in war. Yet one more difference between Hollywood’s portrayal of war and the ugly reality.)