Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Superpower?

Attached are some definitions for the word "Superpower"

Here is the main one:

"1. an extremely powerful nation, esp. one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations."

I have been thinking and wondering for a long time if this definition really fits the United States of America anymore. A superpower must be more than just a military power. Everything about it must be "super"

As the Iraq war goes into it's fifth year, every aspect of this country's might continues to erode. I am not nearly a gifted enough writer to connect all of the dots, and make it a cohesive, systematic picture (I really wish that I was), but I can offer a few of my thoughts on the general status of our country - all of these things tie together, but are often viewed separately.

1. The economy. I think that the economy is a house of cards that could be blown over at any time. The war has been financed not with tax dollars, but with BORROWED money from such countries as China. That we are going to have to pay this back is going to affect our economy for a long time. We could see an economic collapse, and when that happened, we could see the kind of events that happened in New Orleans post Katrina on a nationwide scale. As things get scarce, the violence could hike up. Also factor in that our economy is generally built on the premise of cheap, unlimited energy. This could be taken away at any time and in multiple ways, and our country would not really be prepared for it at all - we have no plan B.

2. The military. The military has been degraded due (both in equipment and personnel) to the wars that have been fought over the last few years. Also, they are not being replenished (i.e. new people are not joining - for SOME reason, really can't figure out why.......). We keep sending back the same units to Iraq and Afghanistan over and over again. There is a breaking point, and I believe it's getting close. We will see massive draining of the best, most experienced leaders. We see also in other places that the system is not designed to cope with the stress being put on it. The "sudden crisis" at Walter Reed (even though there was nothing sudden about it) is a good example. As a side note, why do we hear nothing about Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala's work???? This same thing happened after Vietnam, and the military was rebuilt by dedicated soldiers who lived through the horror of Vietnam, and promised "Never again". Do we have one more "rebuild" left in us? Will the military be too degraded to do anything other than start over? And what if the National Guard has to go out and restore order in some city because of events transpiring in item 1? Does it have the strength to do so?

3. International Relations. We are seeing that our influence as a superpower is waning in that countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria (and to a lesser extent our old nemesis the Russians) are snubbing their noses because they know we won't deal with them on a talking basis (because this Administration sees diplomacy as a weakness), and we can't do anything to them on a military basis.

4. Our infrastructure. Closely related to item 1, our infrastructure is old and decrepit and could be heading for a massive collapse. As items get scarce due to item 1 (an economic collapse), our ability to move goods from point A to point B could be seriously hampered.

These are just a few items. As I say, a more gifted writer could tie them all into one cohesive package, and not a rambling diatribe as I've done. I believe this country has the POTENTIAL, with the right combination of events, to slide into at least a Second World status over the next several years.

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