THE PEACE DIVIDEND

The “peace dividend” was the windfall financial benefit expected by the U.S. to begin in 1991, with the ending of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union. The breakup was expected to permit a reduction in this country’s needs for national defense, resulting in a budgetary surplus. But the U.S., under all Presidents since the breakup, has reserved substantially-reduced levels of spending for national defense, but has chosen not to apply the resulting savings to reduce our national debt. Instead, we have used those savings to jack up our levels of domestic expenditures.

Like Rome two thousand years ago, we have given up on using military force to protect our borders and our allies (our “active virtue,” as Gibbon put it), and our domestic economy, dragged down by corruption, fiscal ineptitude, and the continuing absence of vigorous and competent leadership, has ceased to grow. The more-privileged of our citizens, like those of Rome, have abandoned child-rearing and turned to partying hard while the good times still roll. (Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.) Like Rome, we no longer think we can afford to maintain, much less expand, our territorial limits, and the barbarians, as quickly as they get the message, are at the gates. The pace of the attacks is escalating. Unfortunately for the U.S., our re-enactment of the decline and fall of Rome is taking place while we are on Internet Time.  While it took 500 years for all of the barbarians to get word that Rome was theirs for the taking, nowadays it has only taken 7 years for the world to figure out that our President is a pushover.

For an example, consider this: “North Korea reportedly willing to sign peace treaty with US to end conflict” (as reported on Fox News online on 10/19) – at

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/10/18/north-korea-reportedly-seeks-to-end-conflict-with-us-with-peace-treaty/?intcmp=hpbt1

Things are changing in a hurry. By the time President Obama’s term ends, by the time his “transformation” of the U.S. has been accomplished, there may be nothing left of America’s longstanding position as the sole barrier between civilization and today’s “barbarians” – the parts of the world dominated by the autocratic and brutal leaders of today’s Axis of Evil nations. Would anyone who could afford to leave South Korea choose to remain there after the U.S. presence had been terminated by an arrangement negotiated by the U.S. President who negotiated, over the vehement objections of Congress, the deal that allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons – and gives them a financial bonus – in exchange for an unenforceable promise to defer that development for a few years? Can anyone imagine a Korean withdrawal, negotiated by this White House, that would advance the interests of the U.S. in Asia or the world?

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