THE THREAT OF FOREIGN ENEMIES IS MUCH USED TO KEEP US FEARFUL--AND THUS EASY TO MANIPULATE
HOW NICE TO READ THE FOLLOWING HEADLINE FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE OF APRIL 12 2015
“The world of threats to the US is an illusion”
By Stephen Kinzer
WHEN AMERICANS look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.
In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.
Geography is our greatest protector. Wide oceans separate us from potential aggressors. Our vast homeland is rich and productive. No other power on earth is blessed with this security.
Our other asset is the weakness of potential rivals. It will be generations before China is able to pose a serious challenge to the United States — and there is little evidence it wishes to do so. Russia is weak and in deep economic trouble — not always a friendly neighbor but no threat to the United States. Heart-rending violence in the Middle East has no serious implication for American security. As for domestic terrorism, the risk for Americans is modest: You have more chance of being struck by lightning on your birthday than of dying in a terror attack.
Promoting the image of a world full of enemies creates a “security psychosis” that misshapes our view of the world. It tempts us to interpret defensive steps taken by other countries as threatening. In extreme cases, it pushes us into wars aimed at preempting threats that do not actually exist.
Arms manufacturers profit from the security psychosis even more directly than militarists. Americans take our staggeringly large defense budget almost for granted, and lament continuously that other countries do not build as many exotic weapons systems as we do. Finding new threats is always good business for someone.
The primary threat to the U.S. is internal and comes from the current American Business Model. Any system which makes only the few ever richer—and leaves most of the population suffering a decline in terms of real earning power—has to be deeply wrong.
But, it is much worse than that. Our political system has now been largely suborned by Big Money, our legal system has gone much the same way, our infrastructure has been neglected for decades—and entrepreneurship is in decline. I could add a laundry list of problems including our truly wretched and unnecessarily expensive healthcare system. I might be tempted to mention, in passing, that we lose out in relation to longevity. On average, we die three years sooner than the citizens of other developed nations. That is a pretty miserable performance for the richest nation in the world.
And we are not even trying hard to change things. We have turned our electoral system into a spectator sport.
Instead, we seem to have opted for a form of oligopolistic crony corporatism—with a bloated financial sector leading the pack.
Greed has become our one and only god. We worship it zealously.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.
VOR words c.115.