I’m struck by the coincidence of stories across the globe over the last couple of days.
It’s big news that the Prime Minister of Japan announced he’ll be resigning. It’s smaller news that the President of Germany has resigned. The former was unable to follow through on his campaign promise to remove the US military base from Okinawa, so he lasted eight months. The latter indiscreetly remarked on a radio program that the German military in Afghanistan and elsewhere is deployed to protect economic interests, a thoroughly unexceptional statement about any powerful nation of any age; yet even his friend and supporter, Chancellor Angela Merkel, could only bemoan his departure.
How long will it be until Americans in general — not just the occasional Chalmers Johnson types — can talk about the cost of deploying history’s greatest and most expensive military at something like eight hundred bases around the world? And more importantly, who pays the cost and does the fighting, and who reaps the economic rewards? That’s the central question of American life starting with the Second World War: can we be anything other than a war machine?
Because they’re unsustainable.