Thursday, January 22, 2015

America: The Schizophrenic Empire - Expansionist / Isolationist

Text from President Obama's speech:

America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another – or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?

America's state, if I could summarize it as a state space system, oscillates between the two extreme conditions:  Expansionist, then isolationist.

It takes on the demeanor of an empire, pushing troops around and propping up friendly causes up to some theoretical and unseen limit.  Perhaps economic limit. They motivate other peoples to join it and move towards a common cause.

Then, as if by chance, it oscillates back to the other extreme and pulls away: disengages and avoids the very same provocations that caused wars only years earlier.  This leaves allies out in the cold, perhaps at the most inconvenient timing.

The behavior is predictable, but the timing is not.  This schizophrenia gives America's allies great confusion and concern. It is a reason why they can't seem to get ahead for all the blood, and treasure they spill.