Wars, Debt and Outsourcing
The World is Uniting Against the Bush Imperium
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- Is the United States a superpower? I think not.
Consider these facts:
The financial position of the US has declined dramatically. The
US is heavily indebted, both government and consumers. The US
trade deficit both in absolute size and as a percentage of GDP
is unprecedented, reaching more than $800 billion in 2005 and
accumulating to $4.5 trillion since 1990. With US job growth
falling behind population growth and with no growth in consumer
real incomes, the US economy is driven by expanding consumer
debt. Saving rates are low or negative.
The federal budget is deep in the red, adding to America's
dependency on debt. The US cannot even go to war unless
foreigners are willing to finance it.
Our biggest bankers are China and Japan, both of whom could
cause the US serious financial problems if they wished. A
country whose financial affairs are in the hands of foreigners
is not a superpower.
The US is heavily dependent on imports for manufactured goods,
including advanced technology products. In 2005 US dependency
(in dollar amounts) on imported manufactured goods was twice as
large as US dependency on imported oil. In the 21st century the
US has experienced a rapid increase in dependency on imports of
advanced technology products. A country dependent on foreigners
for manufactures and advanced technology products is not a
Because of jobs offshoring and illegal immigration, US consumers
create jobs for foreigners, not for Americans. Bureau of Labor
Statistics jobs reports document the loss of manufacturing jobs
and the inability of the US economy to create jobs in categories
other than domestic "hands on" services. According to a March
2006 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, most of
these jobs are going to immigrants: "Between March 2000 and
March 2005 only 9 percent of the net increase in jobs for adults
(18 to 64) went to natives. This is striking because natives
accounted for 61 percent of the net increase in the overall size
of the 18 to 64 year old population."
A country that cannot create jobs for its native born population
is not a superpower.
In an interview in the April 17 Manufacturing & Technology News,
former TCI and Global Crossing CEO Leo Hindery said that the
incentives of globalization have disconnected US corporations
from US interests. "No economy," Hindery said, "can survive the
offshoring of both manufacturing and services concurrently. In
fact, no society can even take excessive offshoring of
manufacturing alone." According to Hindery, offshoring serves
the short-term interests of shareholders and executive pay at
the long-term expense of US economic strength.
Hindery notes that in 1981 the Business Roundtable defined its
constituency as employees, shareholders, community, customers,
and the nation." Today the constituency is quarterly earnings. A
country whose business class has no sense of the nation is not a
By launching a war of aggression on the basis of lies and
fabricated "intelligence," the Bush regime violated the
Nuremberg standard established by the US and international law.
Extensive civilian casualties and infrastructure destruction in
Iraq, along with the torture of detainees in concentration camps
and an ever-changing excuse for the war have destroyed the soft
power and moral leadership that provided the diplomatic
foundation for America's superpower status. A country that is no
longer respected or trusted and which promises yet more war
isolates itself from cooperation from the rest of the world. An
isolated country is not a superpower.
A country that fears small, distant countries to such an extent
that it utilizes military in place of diplomatic means is not a
superpower. The entire world knows that the US is not a
superpower when its entire available military force is tied down
by a small lightly armed insurgency drawn from a Sunni
population of a mere 5 million people.
Neoconservatives think the US is a superpower because of its
military weapons and nuclear missiles. However, as the Iraqi
resistance has demonstrated, America's superior military
firepower is not enough to prevail in fourth generation warfare.
The Bush regime has reached this conclusion itself, which is why
it increasing speaks of attacking Iran with nuclear weapons.
The US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons against
an opponent. If six decades after nuking Japan the US again
resorts to the use of nuclear weapons, it will establish itself
as a pariah, war criminal state under the control of insane
people. Any sympathy that might still exist for the US would
immediately disappear, and the world would unite against
A country against which the world is united is not a superpower.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of
National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good
Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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