America as a Debtor Nation
Of all the looming catastrophes and “what-ifs” facing this country, perhaps the most serious long-range crisis (and the one that gets the least headlines) will be our huge foreign debt. The combination of being perceived as the world’s 800 pound gorilla, and being in debt up to our eyeballs, is going to create some major problems down the road.
If you fall behind on your car payments and/or mortgage payments, your car gets repossessed; your home gets foreclosed. So if our foreign debt keeps snowballing and careening out of control, will our country get repossessed? Don’t laugh – our foreign debt is in the trillions. And most of our creditors don’t like us.
We could always just ignore the foreign debt, stop payments, say “what’re you gonna do about it?” (in other words, what we already do with the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.) However, with over 200 military bases in foreign countries, this would not be a smart move. Countries that have American military bases could isolate those bases: American military personnel would be unable to leave the base, and local businesses would be unable to sell supplies to them. Japan, South Korea and Germany (among others) are already “in-between” about whether they even want to continue having an American military presence.
If one of our major creditors (Japan, for example) decided to seize American assets, they would have the support of other creditor nations. The combination of having American assets seized by our creditors, having American military bases isolated by their host nations and not being able to use the airspace of these countries for any military operations – what would happen to our empire?!?
Would the usual “patriotic” chest-pounders and xenophobes still be “rah-rah-rah”-ing for the president to threaten and invade anyone who looks cross-eyed at us if our entire economy has collapsed? Would other countries start calling our bluff if they knew we were about to be foreclosed? Would we still be able to start wars and stage pre-emptive attacks if our country has been repossessed? Or, would our creditor nations have the ability (and the nerve!) to foreclose on us if American tanks and missiles are zeroing in on them? Stalemate! Gridlock!
In addition to getting a grip on the budget, our leaders might just start acting less like an 800 pound gorilla.