I read an interesting WSJ article yesterday entitled "The Emperor's Nuclear Clothes" which outlined the presence of nuclear arsenals throughout the world, and why states like Iran and North Korea continue to pursue them. The article summarily concluded that elimination of all nuclear weapons is to the benefit of the United States, which is why it will never happen, mainly because the US has the most powerful conventional weapon military that is unmatched by any other country - even China.
The article discussed the importance of regional securities as a solution to nuclear proliferation, and really got me thinking about the United State's role in world military operations. A simple search for US foreign military bases reveals a list of a couple dozen countries hosting hundreds of US bases worldwide. These are bases used in current military operations as well as those threatened for use in future military strikes/campaigns. It is evidence that the security of the world relies too heavily on the United States. The coupling need of regional security and the over-extension of the US military are what I would like to discuss.
The US government treats foreign nations the same way that it treats her own population - the less they know and the less they can do for themselves, the better. We get countries like South Korea to so heavily lean on the United States for security that when attacked by the north, the first response is not defense or mobilization of SK forces, rather a call to the White House for direction and defense. For who needs to defend their home, person, or property when you have police available via the 9-1-1 call centers? Japan's constitution does not allow them to have a standing military - an echo of their previous empire follies. Saudi Arabia, as was revealed by the Wikileaks documents, uses the US military like a maid-to-order security service, trying to influence military campaigns by OUR COUNTRY against their oil rich neighbors. Add to the list every nation in Europe who depended on US influence to stay the Soviets. The list goes on, and the bills are coming due!
What makes a successful United States? One where we use our generations old military industrial complex and our natural drive toward force to pressure smaller and weaker countries into compliance for the sake of security? Or are we better off returning our soldiers home and ending our empire campaigns of the previous hundred plus years?
Follow the money. Stabilization of regions under US control allow increased economic influence and thus industrial growth. US corporations are influencing the growth in these otherwise undeveloped regions, acting as the current day colonialists - often time with the same drastic results the left Africa a war torn continent for so many years. We draw borders and boundaries across a land which we know nothing about, with the sole intent of harvesting a good or service. Minerals, ore, fuel... It is what lies beneath the dirt that garners the interest - the people above are merely tolerated.
If we want to move toward a more peaceful (not necessarily Utopian) future, the United States needs to holster her pistol and come on home. The threat of war makes no easy peace. The cost of perpetual war is too high. It is time to enter the US into an era of post-colonialism, lest we continue to fail from within.