Streams

The Frugal Superpower

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum argues that the age of America’s expansive foreign policy is coming to an end. The country's soaring deficits, fueled by the huge costs of the financial crash and our government entitlement programs, will mean a scaled-back American international presence. In The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era, he describes the policies the United States will have to discontinue, assesses the potential threats, and recommends a new kind of foreign policy.

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Comments [12]

Leo

Excerpts from the September 30, 1939 NYTimes 71 years ago today about a negotiated peace:

"Britain and Germany Make Anti-War Pact; Hitler Gets Less Than His Sudeten Demands; ... Hitler and Chamberlain Voice Their Nations' Will Never to Fight.....
Daladier Cheered by Joyful France: Vast Crowds Hail Premier on Return.....
'Peace With Honor,' Says Chamberlain: Prime Minister Wildly Cheered by Relieved Londoners--King Welcomes Him at Palace"

Sep. 30 2010 02:31 PM
jrda

It's clear by now that, not content with two failed and disastrous invasions, the neo-cons dearly crave a third, in Iran -- that view being repeatedly represented on the Leonard Lopate Show, of late with Miles O'Brien, and again, today, with Leonard himself.

One understands that authors won't come on the show if they face a debating society -- after all, they're selling books.

However, is there any reason the hosts have to actively promote these neo-con fantasies, as O'Brien and Leonard clearly did, and clearly enjoy doing?

Have we learned nothing at all in the past 9 years? We're still convinced our foreign policy is virtuous, and everyone else's is evil?

Sep. 30 2010 12:51 PM

westvillage
yes "This required a book" because no one GETS it!!

Sep. 30 2010 12:46 PM
jgarbuz

We had a major boom after WWI, and then a Depression, and then WWII, and then another boom, and now another major Recession.
We became disproportionately powerful when Europe and Asia were torn in wars. The Europeans were destroying each other, and so were the Japanese and the Chinese. WE were forced into the war, and so our side won. And we were the beneficiaries because our factories were strengthened rather than bombed. Everyone owed us money, not the other way around.
Things have changed. We burned up our own oil' ate our cornseed. Lived extravagantly, and so the piper has come for the bill.
We don't want another major war, like WWI or WWII to restore our exaggerated prosperity. We will have to be more imaginative, innovative and smarter this time around to restore our national health and prosperity.

Sep. 30 2010 12:35 PM

Master of the Obvious. This required a book? An op-ed would have covered his (somewhat slanted) views more than adequately.

Sep. 30 2010 12:33 PM
jgarbuz

We had a major boom after WWI, and then a Depression, and then WWII, and then another boom, and now another major Recession.
We became disproportionately powerful when Europe and Asia were torn in wars. The Europeans were destroying each other, and so were the Japanese and the Chinese. WE were forced into the war, and so our side won. And we were the beneficiaries because our factories were strengthened rather than bombed. Everyone owed us money, not the other way around.
Things have changed. We burned up our own oil' ate our cornseed. Lived extravagantly, and so the piper has come for the bill.
We don't want another major war, like WWI or WWII to restore our exaggerated prosperity. We will have to be more imaginative, innovative and smarter this time around to restore our national health and prosperity.

Sep. 30 2010 12:33 PM
Rick

Massive gas taxation! Yes. Agreed. Very smart.

Sep. 30 2010 12:33 PM

Hugh
"as opposed to military spending, which is arguable just waste), "
you should think on that a bit more. the military might be the biggest wealth redistribution machine. think about the money the fed sends to the arms makers, poor states where bases are built and all those poor kids who couldn't go to college now have jobs instead of welfare.

Sep. 30 2010 12:32 PM

the red staters want to cut the federal government, but they get most of the money FROM the feds, from us in the blue states.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/UserFiles/Image/Blog/ftsbs-large.jpg

Sep. 30 2010 12:24 PM
Hugh Sansom

You need someone like Simon Johnson or Dean Baker or Paul Krugman on to lay to rest some of Michael Mandelbaum's lies of omission about economics.

He is simply lying when he claims that a military budget of $700 billion -- far more if we include _secret_ expenditures (the "black budget") and "homeland security" spending.

The obvious points in response to Mandelbaum, if the dollar amounts of the military waste are

1. Domestic "entitlements" actually go to things that DIRECTLY help people (as opposed to military spending, which is arguable just waste), and

2. If the dollar amounts of military spending are a "small percentage" of GDP, so too are the dollar amounts for social security (which has an INDEPENDENT trust fund anyway -- clear lie of omission by Mandelbaum) and other entitlements.

Those entitlements come out to more in dollar amounts, but they are actually perfectly supportable in the budget. The waste is in the US imperialism control-freakery around the world.

Sep. 30 2010 12:24 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The only way for us to have had a boom was to have more people, which we don't have, we've hurt our population.

Sep. 30 2010 12:18 PM
jgarbuz

The Pax Americana has prevented a MAJOR war since WWII, but it did not stop relatively minor wars all over the place. But we are more secure today with a democratic Germany, and Japan, and Russia, and Latin America, and to a lesser extent China. But the Middle East is a huge and expensive project that will require many decades to come. But if we don't do it, who will? Like it or not, the US is still going to be involved in the world for decades to come. I wouldn't mind if China took over, as we did from Britain, but can they be trusted to push forward the democratic project, or to cause it to retreat again?

Sep. 30 2010 12:16 PM

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