Saturday, November 27, 2010

Michael Payne: America Is Fast Becoming Its Own Worst Enemy

America Is Fast Becoming Its Own Worst Enemy
By Michael Payne article link
November 27, 2010 | OpEdNews

As the legendary cartoon character Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." America apparently has masochistic tendencies, i.e., the process of turning one's destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself. The actions being taken by our government, coupled with the inactions of the American people to challenge them, are taking this nation down a dark and dangerous road. We are, in effect, becoming our own worst enemy.

America can be likened to a great athlete who is fast, powerful, perfectly conditioned with an unlimited potential. His future greatness is assured. This athlete is given mega-million dollar contracts, he has fans everywhere and a fabulous lifestyle; he has everything, not a worry in the world but then things start to change.

He reduces his conditioning regimen, he likes the night life, the girls, fast cars and gambling; he drinks too much, gets involved with the wrong crowd and enters the drug scene. He begins to perform badly, he skips, or is late, to practices, and he gets benched; eventually, the team cuts him. He no longer can perform, no one will sign him; he is done. He has ruined a fantastic opportunity and has, by his own actions, has self-destructed.

That athlete and America have a lot in common. This once was a very strong nation, rich in natural resources, a thriving, growing economy, a solid manufacturing sector and a population in which creativity and innovation flourished; a country on the rise with the wind at its back, with great and unlimited potential, and no peers on this planet. It led the world in math, science, education; we sent a man to the moon and explored space. All signs pointed upward.

Those days are now over, for America is no more than a shadow of its former self. This is still a very young country as compared to other nations of the world. We are still the most powerful nation in the world, but only military. We still have the largest economy in the world, though it is currently in a critical state, beginning to unravel.

America no longer leads the world, we are no longer on the rise and, in fact, we are rapidly regressing. We have arrived at this low point in our history, not because of the acts of other nations, but simply because we seem to have lost those attributes and skills that once made this a great nation. We used to be proactive, now we are reactive. We used to be creative and innovative; we are now unable to figure out how to create jobs for the multi-millions of Americans collecting unemployment. And, during all this turmoil, the profits of corporations and Wall Street are soaring.

Respected economists understand that an economy thrives and grows when it has a stable, work force that spends its earnings to purchase of products; that's what should happen in a healthy economy. That proven theory has been thrown out the window by the profiteers that replaced long term thinking with the lust for short term profits. The result is that the fat cats on Wall Street and at the highest levels of corporations are doing famously while millions of Americans are trying to find some way just to survive.

Our government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars that we don't have and, as a result, our national debt is nearing $14 trillion. But the leaders in the White House and Congress say, "Not to worry, we can simply pass this debt into the future, and our children and grandchildren will take care of it; trust us, they'll find a way." What a bunch of spineless incompetents.

Where has the wealth of America gone, what did we do with the money that is necessary to support the foundations of our nation? That's easy to answer. The fact is that 53% of every taxpayer dollar goes to the Pentagon budget, the CIA, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, veterans' benefits and healthcare; in other words to the military war machine. That's not how a nation remains an economic power; that's a toxic recipe for economic collapse.

President Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner (a historical travesty), doesn't know the first thing about creating jobs for American workers but he is becoming a master at the art of employing America's young to pursue resource wars in Central Asia. Positive domestic needs such as jobs, infrastructure and education are not being addressed, but the negatives, such as senseless foreign wars, continue to be his primary areas of concentration.

America , the European nations, and other allies are tied together in the military organization called NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This military alliance was formed in 1949 and based upon the North Atlantic Treaty which was designed to protect member nations from attacks by belligerent nations, specifically Russia. That alliance still has Russia in its sights but its reach has greatly expanded into other areas with its current concentration being in Central Asia, specifically in Afghanistan.

NATO's objectives have dramatically changed over the years and here's why. The U.S. and its European partners have one common connection. It's the growing need for energy, primarily from petroleum and natural gas. Who are the "haves" and who are the "have- nots?" Well the NATO partners are clearly the have-nots while the haves are Russia, various nations in Central Asia and the Middle East.

It now becomes clear that NATO has been transformed from a defensive alliance into an offensive war machine whose objective is to fight resource wars. Now do we see why the U.S. and NATO are in Afghanistan and pushing into Pakistan? Does anyone actually think that they are there to guarantee the safety of Americans, to spread democracy, to protect women's rights and to leave just as soon as the Afghan people can take care of their own security?

Those nations have the oil and gas that the U.S. and Europe need and the NATO partners control it. Not by using diplomacy, negotiations and contracts such as China is doing all over the world, but by using aggressive military force. It might not be the right and honorable way to go about it, and it may be extremely costly, but that is the direction that has been chosen.

A meeting of NATO representatives has just been concluded in Lisbon, Portugal. It was decided that NATO forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan beginning in 2014 when security operations will be shifted to Afghan forces. That's no more than a smoke screen. The Afghan forces, many of which are closely connected to the Taliban, may pretend they share NATO's objectives but that's quite problematic. It's a good bet that the U.S. and NATO will remain in this deepening quagmire for many, many years in their quest to control the resources of Central Asia.

The fact is that this occupation in Afghanistan is going to get more and more costly for all members of NATO and, especially, the U.S. which is carrying the bulk of the load. Many of you may have heard the saying, "We may go down but we'll go down fighting." If America keeps on doing exactly what it is doing, and refuses to reverse direction, then that's exactly what is going to happen; it (and we) will go down fighting.

This government and our national media have masterfully played the fear card of constant terrorist threats and have managed to keep the people of America trapped in a state of passive submissiveness, all in the name of patriotism. Those whose aim is to follow an agenda of perpetual war know that they have Americans boxed into a corner and they intend to keep it that way; if we continue to let them. They know that there is no way that they can possibly justify these senseless foreign wars, either legally or morally, so they use the combination of fear and patriotism as their strategy; so far, it is working.

The American people must break out of this box. We cannot continue to accept and condone this kind of misguided foreign policy and watch in silence as the monumental costs tear at the foundations of our economy, our infrastructure and, yes, the moral fabric of our nation. It is time to use the power of the people to demand an end to this agenda of permanent war. It worked before; massive, peaceful protests brought an end to the Vietnam War, as well as an end to the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. They can work again.

We are living in a most critical time in our history. If we refuse to stand up and fight for our country in its time of great need, then future generations will pay a terrible price for our failings. And we will have no one else to blame but ourselves because we will have become our own worst enemy.

Michael Payne is an independent progressive who writes articles about domestic social and political matters as well as American foreign policy. His major goal is to convince Americans that our perpetual wars must end before they bankrupt our nation. His articles have appeared on Online Journal, Information Clearing House, Peak Oil, Google News and websites around the world.

OpEdNews Articles by Michael Payne
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