Essay on the United States of America
The last decade has seen a lot of turning points in world history. A multitude of regional and global conflicts, natural disasters of biblical proportions, two crippling economic crises that have devastated the world economies, an energy crisis that is sure to escalate global conflicts, global warming which is threatening to create a shift in balance of power between the human being and nature and countless other scenarios that will turn any pessimist into a dream cash cow for Big Pharma’s mood-stimulant division. As devastating as the twentieth century was, the decade following it’s end, has introduced us to what we might expect in the future. The American century (Bacevich), as it came to be called, as an epoch that has seen the rise of, what some might say, the greatest nation the world has been witness to has brought us to where we are at this point in time. Immeasurable achievements in every field of science, medicine, economics, entertainment, technology and many others, has catapulted the United States of America to the world stage as a Hyperpower (Nossal). A power that literally has influence almost over all the dealings of the entire world. It has created a culture through its entertainment industry in the remotest parts of the globe, having children and young adults imitate their favorite American artists from TV, movies or music. Unfortunately, this extension into every recess of the globe had had a negative effect on our policies overseas.
By spreading our culture, technology, economic structure and other ideals, we have used our military as one of the means to do so in an efficient manner. To date we have military bases and installations in over 150 countries and territories worldwide. The number of personnel stands at around 1.4 million worldwide, of which are almost 400,000 service personnel that are stationed outside of the U.S. (Department of Defense) Hence, the question the citizens must ask themselves is: “whether the U.S. has overstretched its resources and personnel?” It is without a doubt that it is time for the U.S. to give-up the reins of power and recede to its region as a self-sustainable regional power, otherwise it will meet a very rough end. To do this, it is imperative that the bases and personnel that encompass the globe, must close and the troops returned home to their families.
The costs associated with maintaining the bases overseas are enormous and can be used for domestic purposes. The problem facing us today is that, as a consumer society, we have become dependent on foreign energy sources, raw materials and manufacturing to sustain our trouble-free way of life. In many cases a military presence is necessary in certain regions in order for us to have an interrupted and a cost-efficient supply of goods to feed our consumer needs. It is only by changing internally, by creating new goals and sustainable lifestyles that we will reduce our dependence on the outside world, which in the end will concentrate our wealth domestically. There is an argument that The War on Terror has created the need to strengthen our influence worldwide. Unfortunately, there will always be war; and yes, as the old adage goes, the best defense is a stronger offence, but continuous wars that have lasted for a century will lead us to the way of the Romans, Ottomans, British and countless other empires that have dwindled down to nothing but small nation-states, with limited influence in world affairs.
As we enter a new century where an inevitable demise of the American empire is very plausible, the American public stands at a fork in the road which will lead them to a tough decision. On the one hand they can continue their unsustainable way of life, supported by a powerful military, which is causing significant fiscal problems domestically; on the other hand, they can work on a sustainable society, where the wealth of the nation is spent domestically for the well-being of its citizens. One thing is for certain, the American presence overseas is causing us more harm than good, and in one way or another it will lead us to disaster.
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