I hope that Senator Obama will have read, before he takes his seat in the Oval Office, Andrew Bacevich's new book entitled The Limits of Power--The End of Amercian Exceptionalism. The book has been on the bestseller lists. The author is a West Point graduate and a retired colenel who served in Vietnam, who lost a son in Iraq last year. He currently teaches history and international studies at Boston University, and his book very clearly and eloquently discusses the three crises America faces today:
1. Economic and cultural
Unless Obama is extraordinarily enlightened, he will be sworn in as yet another imperial president and by default will maintain the status quo.
Let me quote the following passages from Bacevich's book, which for me summarize America's current plight. I would enourage all your readers, and especially Senator Obama, to inhale this book now!
For the United States the pursit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence--on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people, whether they admit it or not, is that nothing should disrupt their access to those goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part through the distribution of largesse at home (with Congress taking a leading role) and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad (laregely the business of the executive branch).
From time to time, various public figures--even presidents--make the point that dependence may not be a good thing. Yet meaningful action to reduce this condition is notable by its absnece. It's not difficult to see why. The White House and the upper echelons of the national security state--acutally benefit from this dependency: It provides the source of status, power, and prerogatives. Imagine the impact just on the Pentagon were this country actually to achieve anything approaching evergy independence. U.S. Central Command would go out of business. Dozens of bases in and around the Middle East would close. The navy's Fifth Fleet would stand down. Weapons contracts worth tens of billions would risk being canceled.
Rather than insisting that the world accomodate the United States, Americans need to reassert control over their own destiny, ending their condition of dependency and abandoning their imperial delusions. Of perhaps even difficulty, the combination of economic, political, and military crises summons Americans to reexamine exactly what freedom entails. Soldiers cannot accomplish these tasks, nor should we expect politicians to do so. The onus of responsibility falls squarely on citizens.
Let's all hope and pray that Senator Obama will soon become extraordinarily enlightened--and courageous enough to break the long chain of imperial presidents!