You could take care of a lot of sick people and provide a lot of unemployment compensation with the money the US government spends on maintaining and expanding its empire. From Scott Horton at antiwar.com:
Can anyone think what our society might have spent six and a half trillion dollars on instead of 20 years of war in the Middle East for nothing? How about the trillion dollars per year we keep spending on the military on top of that?
Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents, off the hook for it, was “a long time ago.” Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what’s left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for. This would almost certainlythen lead to war with Iran.
The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.
Heaven forbid that all the money we’re borrowing to address the coronavirus and its attendant economic and financial woes prompt anyone to question the money we’re spending to maintain the American empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.
When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO’s border.
Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.
Never allow a serious crisis to go to waste, said Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the financial crisis.
Emanuel was echoed this month by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who called the coronavirus crisis “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
What Clyburn had in mind is what Democrats advanced as their alternative to the $2.2 trillion emergency bill. It was designed to force President Trump either to swallow it whole or to take responsibility for vetoing a critical transfusion of federal funds to keep the economy alive.
Among the items stuffed in the Democrats’ proposal:
A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.
$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.
One benefit of the coronavirus panic: the US is leaving some of its smaller military bases in foreign lands because of the virus. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
“Red” (Morgan Freeman): “Hope is a dangerous thing my friend, it can kill a man…”
Andy (Tim Robbins): “Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
~ The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Two futures lie before us. Like the classic visions of late-Old Testament prophets, contemporary observers – perhaps voyeurs – of U.S. national security policy can, at this precipice of pandemic, discern, however vaguely, as dual, dichotomous prospective paths unfurl. The first, and Washington’s long-preferred, course is one of militarist escalation. It’s contours are there for us to see.
In the past couple of weeks, the Pentagon has unapologetically ramped up its proxy war with Iran – on the soil of an unmistakably unwilling “sovereign” state which has politely, if futilely, asked the US military to leave – by bombing, and killing, third-party “allies” of the Islamic Republic.
Then, though it was hardly covered or noticed, Washington killed a Somali child and an elderly disabled man in an airstrike: the 31st such US attack-from-the-sky in a Trump-accelerated campaign upon yet another country we are not at war with. US Africa Command announced, of course, that five “terrorists” had been killed in the strike with zero reports of civilian casualties. Well, naturally, it helps to have folks on the ground (hardly the norm for America’s techno-killers) to accurately access victim-status. Which is probably one reason – besides flagrant duplicity – that a UK-based airstrike monitoring group’s relevant report estimates Somali civilian casualties in US attacks since 2007 may be 73 times higher than official Pentagon claims.
America’s debt will inflict misery on Americans for this and many generations to come. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French economist
Let’s talk numbers, shall we?
The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $23 trillion and growing.
The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross national product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that public debt annually. And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan.
The national deficit (the difference between what the government spends and the revenue it takes in) is projected to surpass $1 trillion every year for the next 10 years.
The United States spends more on foreign aid than any other nation ($50 billion in 2017 alone). More than 150 countries around the world receive U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance, with most of the funds going to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement, and yet they are being forced to pay for government programs that do little to enhance or advance their lives.
Folks, if you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re not living the American dream.
We’re living a financial nightmare.
The U.S. government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones who will pay for it.
When will the US be thrown into the rubbish bin of empires? From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:
Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) and Maddalena (Anouk Aimee) in La Dolce Vita, impossibly cool and chic, are like the Last Woman and the Last Man before the deluge of ‘tawdry cheapness.’
The United States may be destined for a shorter historical existence than the Mongol era established by Genghis Khan
A considerable spectrum of the liberal West takes the American interpretation of what civilization consists of to be something like an immutable law of nature. But what if this interpretation is on the verge of an irreparable breakdown?
Michael Vlahos has argued that the US is not a mere nation-state but a “system leader” – “a civilizational power like Rome, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire.” And, we should add, China – which he did not mention. The system leader is “a universalistic identity framework tied to a state. This vantage is helpful because the United States clearly owns this identity framework today.”
Intel stalwart Alastair Crooke, in a searing essay, digs deeper into how this “civilizational vision” was “forcefully unfurled across the globe” as the inevitable, American manifest destiny: not only politically – including all the accouterments of Western individualism and neo-liberalism, but coupled with “the metaphysics of Judeo-Christianity, too”.
Government is force, and force applied to anything but self-protection is evil. From Gary D. Barnett at lewrockwell.com:
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. ~ Albert Einstein–“Mein Weltbild (My World-view)”. Essay by Albert Einstein, 1931.
War is an act of murder at every level, and at every turn a criminal undertaking. Aggressive war is simply killing without just cause, and every war begun as self-defense has turned quickly into aggression at the first moment possible, usually the first day. In the case of the United States, no war is or has ever been about real self-defense, meaning every war was aggressive and criminal murder. The common people claim patriotism in order to hide from this truth, they claim national pride, which is nothing more than state worship, and they rally round the flag as if that could protect them from being complicit in the slaughter of innocents. Those who support aggressive war are simply immoral fools.
When any government or political power structure is in place, there is only one option to avoid war, and that is that none submit to the lies of the state, and none participate in the killing of others on orders. Those that would send the children of others to die in war should volunteer to die themselves, but they are the true cowards among us, and always hide in the shadows when the killing they caused begins. They are only capable of handing out medals posthumously to the families of those they used as fodder for their own benefit and political agendas. All in the Executive Branch, all in Congress, all in any fascist political partnerships that profit from war, and all those who claim false intelligence to stoke the fires of conflict, all these and more should be the first and only causalities of any war. No man of worth has the right to ask others to die in his stead for the state.
Empires never last, and the US’s certainly won’t. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:
Empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth. The Roman Empire came about through the productivity of its people and its subsequent acquisition of wealth from those that it invaded. The Spanish Empire began with productivity and expanded through the use of its large armada of ships, looting the New World of its gold. The British Empire began through localized productivity and grew through its creation of colonies worldwide—colonies that it exploited, bringing the wealth back to England to make it the wealthiest country in the world.
In the Victorian Age, we Brits were proud to say, “There will always be an England,” and “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” So, where did we go wrong? Why are we no longer the world’s foremost empire? Why have we lost not only the majority of our colonies, but also the majority of our wealth?