Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


U.S. to become a second-rate power

U.S. to become a second-rate power

By Mike Ferner
February 3, 2013
http://warisacrime.org/content/us-become-second-rate-power

(Cue sound of emergency alarms. Insert graphics for panic, terror, devastation and collapse here ______.)

Yes, believe it, friends. That is exactly what Outgoing Secretary of War Panetta said in a Feb. 1 exit interview with USA Today, when asked what effects looming cuts will have on the War Department if Congress fails to reach a budget deal by March 1.

Red-blooded Senate and House members eager to protect the military from even a rumor of a budget cut will certainly welcome Panetta’s words. Whether it will result in the U.S. becoming a “second-rate power” is a little less certain, considering we now spend as much for war as the rest of the world put together, with perhaps the exception of Upper Volta and the Cayman Islands.

To put the Secretary’s America-as-second-rate-power fears in perspective, the dreaded “sequestering” of the budget means the Pentagon will have to cut 8 to 9 percent out of this year’s $535 billion dollar budget.

In the near term, according to USA Today, the cuts would require the Air Force to throttle back on flight training, the Navy to keep ships in port longer and the Army to reduce utility costs at its posts. The U.S. would be able to handle its commitments in Afghanistan and the Middle East but little else. And continued sequestration cuts over the next decade would leave the Army with only 390,000 soldiers to guard the Empire’s reaches.

“We are the world's most powerful military, and we use that to promote peace and stability in the world,” Panetta stated. Whether the sequestration cuts would reduce world peace and stability by more than eight or nine percent this year was not clear, nor were any estimates given on peace and stability reductions over the next decade.

"When we're called upon to do other crises, whether it is in Syria or Mali or North Africa or elsewhere, we may not be able to respond," Panetta said…as the Syrians, Malians, North Africans and Elsewherians breathed a sigh of relief.

But let’s give the devil his due. In truth, I think the War Secretary is on to something. For most of us in this country, coming in second would be highly welcome, a real improvement over the current state of affairs, considering that among the nations of the world we are now in:

• 22nd place when it comes to keeping our people out of long-term unemployment
• 26th place in school performance and the same in literacy
• 35th place in keeping our fellow citizens above the poverty line
• 37th place in providing health care, or to state it another way
• 48th place in infant mortality – keeping babies alive until their first birthday – generally accepted as the best overall indicator of a nation’s health
• 50th place in life expectancy at birth
• 91st place in overall equality of income distribution and
• 116th place in the share of income held by the poorest 10% of the population.

But take heart, Mr. Outgoing Secretary, we just missed a blue ribbon at something – the amount of money spent on health care. A “We’re Number One!” award just slipped through our grasp when those cagey Maltans figured out how to spend even more than we do, so now we’re only…well, a second rate power on health care expenses. You’ve sounded the alarm not a moment too soon.

*************

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio. He served as a Navy corpsman during the Vietnam war and is a former president of Veterans For Peace.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Valerie Morse: Key And NZ Police At G20: What A Contribution

While 200 New Zealand police officers are helping to repress protests outside of the G20 in Brisbane this week, John Key has been inside pushing the interests of giant multinational corporations to fast track the World Trade Organization (WTO) ... More>>

ALSO:

Gabriela Coutiño: Ayotzinapa Caravan Meets With EZLN In Oventic

In their visit to Zapatista Territory, parents of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa Guerrero, agreed with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), to articulate a national grassroots movement that would question forced disappearances ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Talk Of A Third Intifada: Where To From Here, Palestine?

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. More>>

ALSO:

David Swanson: Who Says Ferguson Can't End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something ... More>>

Melanie Duval-Smith: Homeless Is Where The Heart Is

So, you are not allowed to feed the homeless on the streets of Florida. Last week, a 90 year old man and two Christian ministers were arrested for doing just that. I can hear the cries of the right wingers from here. “Not in our back yard”, ... More>>

John Chuckman: What We Truly Learned From the Great War and the Absurdity of Remembrance Day

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, The Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding ... More>>

Redress Information: A European Call To Suspend EU-Israel Association Agreement

More than 300 political parties, trade unions and campaign groups have called on the European Union to suspend its “association agreement” with Israel. The agreement, which came into force in 2000, facilitates largely unrestricted trade with Israel ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Age Of TV Jokers: Arab Media On The Brink

As I was finalizing my research for this article, I found myself browsing through a heap of hilarious videos by mostly Egyptian TV show hosts Tawfiq Okasha and Amr Adeeb. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news