Thursday, April 28, 2005
I think we have been experiencing some problems that expose several shortcomings in American policy. We have problems that could lead us down some bad roads, and not much attention or action has been generated to ameliorate them. The first would be the deficit. I know where the money is going (two wars and tax cuts), but I don't think that much that fast should be acceptable to anyone. Over the course of the first Bush term we shifted from our biggest surplus to our biggest ever deficit. And this economic problem leads into yet more. We have the largest trade deficit in the history of the world. The dropping dollar should help, but it is offset by record oil prices. I think pursuing more alternative fuels such as ethanol would ease this tension. The technology has been developed, but the infrastructure for harnessing these ideas needs to be developed. And of course oil always leads to the middle east. We should develop a comprehensive strategy that will help guide our leaders in determining when to use war in place of diplomacy and what we can do to prevent things from going this far. It would be better if we could develop closer ties with countries in that region and provide aid and encouragement for them to police inside of their own borders. I don't think it we would ever entirely eliminate the terrorist threat, but we could reduce it to more manageable levels. And let's face it, we can't even completely eliminate it in our country (the unabomber, the Olympic bombing in Atlanta, and the Federal building in Oklahoma as a few examples). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union we have assumed a hegemonic role in international politics. We need to shift our focus and our organization so that we can better deal with the dozens of problem areas we now confront rather than the one Big Threat that we feared for so long. Also, I think that America should be more willing to step back and allow some things to be dealt with on a more regionalized scale. Sure, North Korea remains a threat. But perhaps China, Japan, and Russia have more to fear than we do. They should be the leaders in talks for that part of the world. Let us step back a minute and focus more on our problems. Like that bastard in Cuba that we still haven't knocked off.