31 July 2017

Overreach and hemorrhage.

A global empire costs money … lots of it. Since WWII, the United States has established and maintained its worldwide hegemony with bribes and military force. The two foundations of that power are a worldwide network of military bases with a military budget that exceeds the combined military budgets of China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan … and uneven trade agreements that systematically transfer wealth from the United States to our trading partners. This is not sustainable. We pay to play and that cost has hollowed out our economy.[1]
The single most important feature of Donald Trump's personality is that he understands that it is not America's responsibility to be every foreigner's bitch. Which is in stark contrast to all morons and betrayers who thought (1) to dump billions and billions of dollars on a communist dictatorship through factory relocation and bizarre trade imbalances and (2) to pursue ridiculous will-o'-the-wisps in the Hindu Kush and Nineveh and Tyre with our military.

Afghanistan, Syria or Iran any threat to us? No. Does it matter what gas and oil pipelines go through what countries? No. But U.S. troops half way around the world, confrontations with non-submissive foreigners, and overheated rhetoric in spades? You bet. Three bags full.

U.S. southern border defended by U.S. troops? Don't be naive. What an utterly ridiculous thought. Somewhere in some distant land is a shaky government with a lukewarm commitment to democratic governance, not to mention modernity and rationality itself. So THAT is where you can find our military. Pissing away lives and treasure.

However, I have to say that Trump, as usual, manages to present a confused picture. It seems I voted for a military confrontation with N. Korea and needlessly confrontational relations with Russia and China. Every week that goes by is a week of lost opportunities. Maybe Gen. Kelly can create order where there is chaotic lurching. For starters, there has to be someone in one of the few slots filled by the Trump administration who can explain to him and the Congress that "health care" isn't a constitutional responsibility of Congress.

[1] Comment by Jester on "The Demolition of U.S. Global Power." By Alfred McCoy, The Unz Review, 7/16/17.


ZZMike said...

"U.S. southern border defended by U.S. troops? Don't be naive. "

The Army is not allowed to do things like that on US territory. It's the Law. All they can do in here is train and practice.

Col. B. Bunny said...

It's been a while since I actually read the Posse Comitatus Act but I don't believe it applies to border interdiction. Wikepedia says this about the Act: "The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States." The Army would not be enforcing domestic policies and would be operating on the border, not within the U.S.

As commander in chief, I believe the president has the plenary power to defend the borders against invasion. Congress has no authority to limit his authority to do that.

Col. B. Bunny said...

PS - Congress could limit appropriations to the military for purposes other than border interdiction I suppose. In which case the president could do it anyway and just daily pardon all officials who violated the Anti-Deficiency Act. Interesting constitutional question whether Congress could limit spending in this way, assuming the president would even sign such an appropriation bill and lose such a major political battle. Whether a Congress that refuses to appropriate money for defense against external aggression is guilty of treason is another interesting question.

Probably no declaration of war is necessary as no offensive action is involved.

I don't know if the president could federalize the state National Guards and have the states pay. Probably not.