World to America: Go Stand in the Corner
Go on, scoot over there and just stay out of the way. It’s embarrassing to admit, but globally our country has turned into that ancient doddering relative who graces every family reunion. No longer able or willing to help out with anything, s/he just bores everyone with the same tired anecdotes. “We saved your sorry asses in World War Two you sniveling ingrates” is no longer a relevant response to the criticisms we’ve been getting.
Our five and a half year quagmire in Iraq has pretty much grounded us from any more foreign invasions or occupations. Our last “coalition of the willing” was just that — the last.
Besides, with Russia and China surging ahead — militarily and economically — we’ll be returning to the days before the Soviet Union collapsed. There'll be several superpowers dominating the world instead of just one. I think most of the world would rather have several 800-pound gorillas keeping a wary eye on each other, rather than having one giant arrogant complacent bully who just knows the rest of the world is his own personal chessboard.
And now our Wall Street Casino has collapsed and taken the rest of the world down with it. Sort of like at a skating rink where somebody starts to fall, so they grab onto somebody else and bring that person crashing down too. Gee, why does the rest of the world hate us?
The good news (at least I think it’s good) is that our next president — whoever it is — will be a lot more restrained, more accountable, more hamstrung than his predecessors. We can't afford to invade any more countries. And even if we could, we no longer have any allies who would help us.
And Wall Street is facing a shitload of new oversight and regulations. If our own government doesn’t have the ‘nads to do this, international organizations will probably step in and do their jobs for them. When or if we recover from this meltdown, we need to make sure that no more drunken unaccountable powercrazed tycoons can grab the keys to Wall Street and crash it. If our government won't prevent this, the international community will.
Thomas Friedman says:
“The next president’s ability to act unilaterally on anything other than vital national security issues is going to be reduced. As the old saying goes: He who has the gold makes the rules. Well, we no longer have as much gold, and until we get some, we will have to pay more heed to the rules of those who lend us theirs.”
The United States might redeem itself by serving as the anti-role model for the rest of the world. We could be like those reformed drug addicts who travel around the country, telling high school kids “If you don’t want to look like me, don’t do what I did. Stay clean.”
cross-posted at Bring It On!