This is the text of my latest blog article for the Busks County Currier Times
There is an old but true story from the Reagan years. Before being assigned to new posts overseas, ambassadors were summoned into the office of Secretary of State George Schultz. He would ask each to point to their country on the large globe by his desk. Many put their finger on their assigned country. “No,” Schultz would say pointing at the United States of America, “that is your country.” Where is that spirit now?
Opinions can differ as to how much of an ally Israel is or how much we gain from our association with the Zionist state. But to grant enthusiasts for any other country the power to block our choices for public service is near treason.
I was put in mind of this today when the President gave one of his rare news conferences. His defense of his own profligate spending was to challenge the Republicans to put forth spending cuts that included significant reductions in defense. In doing so he gained the upper hand. We all know the GOP has foresworn any such cuts. They are willing to lose this and all such fights in order to keep the neocons and the defense contractors happy.
Hitler is dead. The Cold War is won. Our enemies are nitwits in flip flops carrying small arms in places we can’t pronounce. How many aircraft carrier groups do we need in a world where we have more than the whole rest of the world combined? Our great rival China has precisely one carrier bought off a Russian scrap heap. We have tens of thousands of troops defending prosperous and powerful South Koreans from crazy starving North Koreans. We have more troops defending Germany from a Soviet Union that no longer exists. We are now sitting on some of the worlds largest assets of coal, oil and gas, yet we are bankrupting ourselves in defense of oil sheiks. We are on the precipice of going to war to prevent one Middle Eastern state from acquiring nuclear weapons on behalf of the very state that introduced nuclear weaponry to the region in the first place.
The President nominated Hegal in Defense and Kerry for State because he cares little for either defense or foreign policy. It is our country he wants to transform. Hegal is a realist. Hegal has awakened, smelled the coffee and is willing to get our military in line with the world we live in now. Republicans need to wake up as well. Boeing and General Dynamics are not the only players in town. The people at AIPAC are never going to support the GOP at the polls. Being the war party is the road to nowhere in the coming age of austerity and international balance.
The United States is a great power but we are not the only power. We are speedily moving into a multipolar world in which trade and control of resources are the new measures of power and prosperity. In order to succeed in that world we need a leaner military geared to defending our national interests. We can no longer bestride the world playing favorites at the behest of domestic pressure groups. Hagel should be confirmed.