There's a lot of people in the U.S. these days looking for a massive reduction in the scope of the Federal government and more of those powers going to the individual states. Because when the nation was formed, in the 18th century, that's how it was.
Seems fairly obvious to me that this noble and folksy plan is completely idiotic. Why?
World War One. World War Two. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq (both times). Kosovo. Bosnia. Somalia.
Here's the thing. Some jack-hole back in 1914 or thereabouts decided that we needed to be the policeman of the world. When someone was oppressed, there we'd be, the red, white, and blue cape fluttering behind us. Well, first time out of the gate we did okay, but people still went back to their old ways once they got back from "over there."
After Pearl Harbor and D-Day, that changed.
Once the full atomic might of our Superpower was unleashed upon the enemy, we were hooked. We spend almost as much on our military as the entire rest of the world combined. Why? Because we've got to have the tools to do the job.
Now, let's be honest, if we'd had this change of heart about the Federal government under Bill Clinton and walked away then, we'd be reasonably well off right now. But we didn't. We put the Chimp-in-Chief in the Oval Office, he started his "Regime Change" war against Iraq, the economy, like that of the Soviet Union while they hemorrhaged money and lives on Afghanistan, is in the toilet. So, we should take away the power of the Federal government and give it to the individual fifty states. Let's hang tea-bags on our hats and send a message to Washington D.C.
Only problem there, and it's a big one, is that the infrastructure of being the World Police has been in place since 1941. Solidified in 1945. 66 years, for those keeping count. And we have no money to make these renovations. Again, had we been through this change of heart while Clinton was running the show, maybe it could have worked. We had a budget surplus of trillions. No states were on the edge of collapse due to finances. Maybe it would have worked. Maybe even 9/11 would not have made us take up that star-spangled cape again. Maybe the fifty little states could be happy, with only big states like New York and California even needing a foreign policy of any complexity.
Too late now, Tea Party. You can't have it both ways. You're either the World Police or you're a Third World Country at this point. Pick one.
The late Major Richard "Dick" Winters of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division said that the United States needed to be strong as Hell and kind as Christ. We haven't been. We look at the Roman Empire and we wonder how they did it. They did it by conquest and annexation. They conquered countries and then taxed them and exploited their people and resources. We just conquer them and walk away. And we expect them to love us when we kill 300,000 civilians as collateral damage, rape their women, destroy their infrastructure, and mock their faith.
Seems fairly obvious to me that we're now the loutish and spoiled High School star quarterback, just graduated and working as a mechanic in an auto repair shop in town, and on Saturday nights we'll hit the bar, get drunk, and bore everyone with tales of the glory days. That's where we are, as a nation, right now. And we're every bit as juvenile and arrogant and ignorant of the world in which we're living.
So we need to develop an exit strategy, if we want to return to the pastoral splendor of 1800. If we want a small America that minds its own business. But no one has an exit strategy. We're going to let the rest of the world team up to make us obsolete while we're arguing about whether the first African-American President was born in Hawaii, as he claims, or in Kenya. The United States bickers like toddlers over issues that could be settled, as often as not, if they took the time to read the fucking legislation that's being bickered over.
Make no mistake. I love my country. Much like other loving relationships, sometimes you can be pissed off at your love and find it repulsive. So that's about where I am now. I love the U.S., but if it gets taken down a peg or three, it might be good for the national character. I'd rather it didn't, since I love it and want to see it do well. But it might not be all bad if it stumbles a little. Or a lot.