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America: Tangled Up and Blue

Tangled Up and Blue – America’s Increasing Impotence in the World





Today’s entry is about posture – America’s increasingly awkward posture on the global stage.


But first, let’s examine a few fun items about America’s favorite entanglements: guzzling foreign oil and spending non-existent money …



Some Fun Facts

Defying the U.N., Iran opens nuclear reactor. 

Iran sits athwart the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which, daily, 40% of the world's oil exports pass. 


According to the most recent tally by Oil and Gas Journal, Iran houses the second-largest pool of untapped petroleum in the world, an estimated 125.8 billion barrels.


Source: CommonDreams.Org. Read more here.

The U.S. needs foreign capital to fund its current-account deficit.



As of August 21, 2006, the total U.S. government debt was $8.507 trillion. In 2005 the public debt was 64.7% of GDP.


The country holding by far the most debt is Japan which held $639 billion at the end of April 2006. In recent years the People's Republic of China has also become a major holder of Treasury debt, holding $323.5 billion at that time.


Page 209 of the Analytical Perspectives of the 2006 U.S. Budget … projects that the federal debt held by the public will reach 249 percent of GDP in 2075. This is more than double the maximum reached during World War II and nearly four times its current level.


Source: Wikipedia. Read more.

Our addiction to foreign oil is the real threat to national security.

Annual rate of US spending on foreign oil is $3.4 trillion as of August 26, 2006.


Source: zFACTs.com. Read more.


It's awkward being America these days.


We tell the Iranians they can’t have nuclear weapons, but they flip us the metaphorical finger and do it anyway. It turns out there’s not really much we can do about it. Why? Because they’re our pusher. We swagger, but in the end we back down. No one really thinks we can attack Iran because the entire Middle East will go up in flames – and we can’t have that, because we need the stuff. Everybody needs the stuff, and Iran knows it.


We want the Chinese to support us in the UN when dealing with Iran and North Korea, but they’re not cooperating. It turns out there’s not really much we can do about it. Why? Because they’re our loan shark. We swagger, but in the end we back down. No one really thinks we can raise taxes and cut spending; we can’t pay our bills and we need the loans, and China knows it.


What’s wrong with this picture? Posture. Lately, America moves about in the world like a lummox, falling all over itself, ensnarled by our own greed, foolishness, laziness and stupidity. In the 1970’s we went through an oil crisis – what did we do about our dependence on foreign oil? Increase our dependence. In the 1990’s we had a budget surplus – what did we do with it? Spend it on tax cuts and pork projects.


How would America act on the world stage if we didn’t have these entanglements? If we weren’t hopeless oil addicts and binge spenders?


What would it be like to deal with Iran if the US was energy independent? What if we didn’t need their oil?  More importantly, what if they didn’t have our money? How would they fund their Islamic agenda without our trillions in cash?


What would it be like to deal with China (and North Korea) if we were fiscally responsible? What if we didn’t need their credit?


In other words, what would be our posture if we weren’t ensnarled? The trouble is we don’t know. We don’t know how we would act, or how the world would seem to us if we were free. We don’t know how many problems out there – in the world – linger due to our refusal to deal the underlying causes of our entanglements. Guzzling foreign oil and partying on borrowed money are active choices we are making. Yes, there is great evil in the world but no foreign power is forcing us to be stupid. We must fundamentally reassess our policies – there are profound consequences to our entanglements, not the least of which is the inability to think and act clearly.


I long for an America that moves in the world like a confident person who has faced his own problems and minded his own affairs – someone who can’t be blackmailed by pushers and loan sharks. I long for an America with better posture.


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