Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, October 11, 2008

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!


Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

You know, as un-American as it is for me to say this, I can't wait. I can't wait for America to be humbled a little, to have to talk to other countries before we just willy-nilly fly in and try to whoop someone(s). Mostly, I want us to be humbled enough to quit saying "we're the greatest country in the world!!!" No, we're not. We're not first in education, we can't make a decent car or DVD player anymore, we're not first in exporting goods, we're not first in research or technology. we're only first in exporting nightmares to other countries. We need, as Dr. Phil might say, to get real. We need to have self-esteem, not ego, about our nation and realize that while we're a good country, we're not great, and we DO have what it takes to be great, to be better than we are now.

October 11, 2008 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger People in the Sun said...

Friedman and his mustache might have a point there, but more if McCain wins. It seems likely that Obama wins and the world resumes treating the US as a strong partner rather than as a bully smaller countries need to stand together to fight against.

October 11, 2008 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

MHP: Being pissed at your own government isn't "anti-American." Or to put it another way, being against your government isn't the same as being "against your country." Phony "patriots" always try to draw that connection, but it's totally bogus.

I too can't wait for our neocons -- the gang of thugs who have pretty much been running the country since 1981 -- to get some sand kicked in their faces and get their asses handed to them by a bunch of "third world" governments and organizations.

All these buzzwords -- Laffer Curve, Trickle Down, Supply Side -- every time some "expert" spewed them out, I had just the tiniest doubt, combined with hope. I'd think "it just doesn't sound right to me, but this guy seems to know what he's talking about."

But now I realize we've all been had. And major changes need to be made.

PITS: I sure hope it's Obama. But I really think (from Thomas Friedman's column and other things I've read) that the U.S. government won't have as much autonomy from now on. The world is just too interconnected now; no single country can be allowed to fuck everything up for the rest of the world.

October 11, 2008 at 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a mess our "leaders" have made of everything! and not just one person or one party but pretty much all of the politicians from the local level to the federal level. there is such arrogance and self service that has been going on for decades. we did not get where we are overnight. this morning on cspan i hear bush is now rethinking his bail out plan and is considering ,at least, partially nationalizing the banks. i have friends in the Philippines and they are in worse shape than we are due to our failing economy, they are very, very, worried. our country is full of good, honest, hard working people but you know what they say about one (or a handful of rotten apples) we as citizens have become lazy and uninvolved in what our leaders are doing. we need to be proactive and let them know when they have crossed the line, let them know when they are wrong, stop voting for charisma, and appearances, and start really listening to the politicians and thinking and discussing about how their plans are going to affect us and our country now and in the future. you, Tom, and the people like you who do these blogs and such and question the government are not unamerican, we are the true patriots.

October 12, 2008 at 4:34 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Good old George Bush took a budget surplus and outpouring of lovin' for the US and squandered it all to make his rich friends richer (and the rest of us a little poorer). Way to go!

October 12, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kate: This is definitely the fault of both parties. I tend to agree with Democrats more often; their slogans if not their actions. But both parties are up to their eyeballs in this corporate bribery system (aka "campaign contributions") that's corrupted our government at every level.

We're definitely taking a lot of countries down with us. I hope there'll be an international solution to this meltdown before it's too late.

It's true that the public needs to get more involved in the political process. But Congress is totally in the hands of its corporate donors. If a congressman finds out that 95% of the public has a certain viewpoint, and then he gets a huge "campaign contribution" representing that other 5%, whose side will he/she take?

Lew: Yup, he squandered all that money and good will. Right after 9/11, we had more international "political capital" (Bush's term) than ever. Now our only ally is Israel.

October 12, 2008 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

"It’s embarrassing to admit, but globally our country has turned into that ancient doddering relative who graces every family reunion."

Excellent analogy, Tom!

I think if Obama is elected, the world may cut us some slack, for a little while, anyway.

October 12, 2008 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: I agree, we'll get some slack from the world if Obama is elected. But he'll need to show leadership and a new direction, or it'll be a short honeymoon.

October 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter what we do anymore-Putin has put us on notice that the former superpower Russia is going to rise again, and he put the period at the end of the sentence in Syria, where a new Russian base is now being fitted for Russian ships to come and call.

Russia will continue to rise, and we most certainly will continue to fall. I will be amazed if this is still an intact country a decade from now.

October 12, 2008 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: That sounds pretty grim but I think it's probably better that way. For the past 18 years or so, we've been the 800-pound gorilla dominating the world. If we have to keep an eye on Russia, the neocons in our government (they're still a powerful force) won't have quite such an easy time planning invasions and occupations.

October 12, 2008 at 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I picture George W,standin' in a corner, lower lip out, arms crossed, mutterin' under his breath 'bout how no one loves him no more, if you know what I mean.

October 12, 2008 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ron: And that's exactly where he belongs.

October 12, 2008 at 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is a bit off topic, but what do you think about this?

While it hasn't been officially confirmed, as an Obama supporter, I am very worried.

Can somebody instil some hope in me?

October 13, 2008 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

So short a period of time to ruin so much. :-(

October 13, 2008 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Great analogy indeed. I think the U.S. has gotten humbled, which is a good thing - I also know that it will take awhile for the denizens of this country to really take that on board. Some of them are so ignorant they don't even know or care what other countries think of us.

October 13, 2008 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Virgomonkey: I'm assuming that if this is true, the rightwing smear machine would have dug this up and verified it a long time ago. But it does give us something else to worry about.

Carlos: Yup, give a spoiled fratbrat eight years and enough rope...

Mauigirl: Yes, I think being humbled is what our government (and a lot of citizens) need. I'm all for pride and patriotism, but this mindset of "America is the greatest country in the world and don't you forget it!" and "anything we do is OK because we're America!" has really fucked everything up.

October 13, 2008 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Check out this from Politico about Obama's birth certificate. It's legit.

October 13, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Whew! Thank you.

October 13, 2008 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Sorry - that should have been "PolitiFact," not "Politico." And, it's interesting to note that Sen. McCain still refuses to release his own birth certificate! What's up with that? He was born on a military base in the Panama Canal.

October 13, 2008 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: That would be one for the books, if it turned out that McCain isn't an American citizen. I guess they'd have to put Sarah Palin at the top of the ticket, oops, er, I mean...

October 13, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really good post, Tom. However (grin). . .

"Our last 'coalition of the willing' was just that — the last."

Fixed version: Our last coalition of the bamboozled, browbeaten and bribed was just that — the last.

"The next president’s ability to act unilaterally on anything other than vital national security issues is going to be reduced."

If we're really smart, we'll build a fire under our Congress critters to fix it so the president MUST seek a declaration of war unless this country has been attacked or is under attack. NOT an authorization to use force, a declaration of war.

And BTW, somebody dropping lit matches into a bag of dog doo and firecrackers left on the doorstep of one of our embassies doesn't qualify as the country being under attack.

October 13, 2008 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Yup, "coalition of the bamboozled, browbeaten and bribed" would have been more accurate, in case Dumbya had a sudden attack of honesty.

I sure hope Congress will fix this problem and not allow any more authorizations that a future president could use on a whim. But even if they don't, I think the danger of tangling with Russia or China (plus our broken military) will take care of that problem.

October 13, 2008 at 8:22 PM  

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