June 2008


                 By Sy Schechtman


When I was a mere broth of a lad,back in the early  nineteen eighties,-- I was only sixty years old--   I was somewhat ashamed of ourinternationalposition.   Wehad just recently had a fiasco in Iran in an abortive attempt to rescue52 hostages held for many months in the Iranian embassy in Teheran---November 1979 to January 1981—and thus qualifiedfor the laughable designationas the “paper tiger”,the blundering inept former superpower.  This was indeed another “accolade” encouraged by the Soviet Union, our former wartime ally,whose post World War IIpropaganda was superbly orchestrated to belittlethe capitalist beastand its enslavement of the working class. The inevitable triumph of the dictatorship of the proletariat.   The Marx and Leninist certainty inevitably ordained for the rest of the western worldand alreadyoccurring in that workers paradise of the Union of the Soviet SocialistStates.

       The prime capitalist beast was the United States,who not onlyhad furnished an overwhelmingamount of money and war materielbut had also   suffered over 400,000 troop casualtiesfighting the very powerful  Nazi German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe andsubsidiary tag-along Italian Fascistforces all over North Africa, Sicily and Europe.  To be sure, many of our allies, including the Russians and British,   lost many more civilian and militarypeople but not only did the United Statesdo its crucial share in active, concerted troop combat , it mustered nearly eleven million civilian and military personnel to wage anall out efforton the production as well as the military front.  Indeed,the day that Hitler, making the biggest blunder of his meteoricand satanic career, declared war on the United States,Winston Churchill, the British leader,exulted.   He knew that once the United States,even then the greatest industrial power in the world, got its wartime producing act together the war would inevitably favorthe western allies.  And about 15 months after United States entry and the titanic last ditch surprise Wehrmacht counter attack in the Battle of the Bulge, resulting in thousands of American and enemy dead, the German enemy surrendered unconditionally.   

        But not only was the capitalist beast supposedly  nefariously, underhandedly, co-opting the western worker by false slogansand hope such as actually danglingsubstantial foreign aid in the form of the Marshall Plan,a joint allied effort initiated by the United States----which funded it----- mainly with itsfifteen billionaid package in the late in the nineteen forties,a vey large sum of money at that time.   Thus the sinister, sly capitalist provided all the seedmoney needed to make    western Europe   an almostutopian paradisecompared with the avowed and still mythical workers paradise of eastern Europe,which had been walled off to prevent  any obviously deluded eastern German workers from foolishly trying to leave their still struggling inferior status of communist equality---and mostly totalitarian dictatorship.

       By the decade of the 1960’swestern Europe was a strongly recovering society after the vast destruction of the war.  But there was even then  an underlying attitude of some ingratitude, of “biting the hand that feeds you”.My young family and I spent two yearsin the United States army of occupation in that eraand were aware of many “Kilroy go home” signs posted surreptiouslybut   with increasing persistence.   Kilroy, of course, being the European generic for American, probablya prototypical mid western boor.  We were stationed in a mixed but relatively rural area in the Saarbruckenarea near the Rhine river and the German French border.  In Germany, our host country, and the former hated enemy,we lived in relative harmony  and mutual respect and cooperation. When we crossed over into neighboring French territoryinto Pirmasens, and especially on holiday jaunts in to Paris  we encountered the Kilroy syndromefairly often.  Except in obvious tourist venues where some aspect of cordiality was a must, we would get an aloof response to our question, which was usually a simple request for the right direction,  and in French only.   Not so in Germany or other neighboring countries we toured at that time.  We would get a helpful reponse, even in broken English,to the needy foreigner whorequired help.

       This anti American attitude, while not exactly pervasive, wasstill far from rare.    And it certainlywas aided and abettedby the Soviets,who nurtured everyanti westernpro Marxistprejudice then around; sentiments which indeed were quite fashionable among many elite radicals.And this trend climaxed in l984 along the Rhine River  in areas probably not far from where I was stationed 25 years before.  The Sovietswere evidentlyin a last gasp aggressive militaryphase world wide,invading Afghanistan inthe East 1979 and ultimately being repelled by the Mujadeen Afghan stalwarts with considerable United States help, and most critically in the western Europe on their side of the Rhine, where they were threatening to install their new S-10 and S-20 missiles, which had a capability of reachingLondon. On  the American side,Reagan, our “war mongering president”,countered with the threat of  installing our brand new Pershing missiles,which were only six minutes from Moscow. Much anti Americansupport world wide and especially in Germany and France was aroused,not against the Soviets for initially planning their installation of missiles, but for the American plan to counter with the Pershing missiles, which would hopefully neutralize the threatened Soviet aggressive stance!! There were no suggestions that the Russians remove their missiles!Reagan and the Americanswere just “saber rattling” again.When Reagan did install the Pershingmissiles the Soviet threat world wide began to recedeand in 5 years later the Berlin wall came downand the heretofore seemingly mighty, impregnable superpower of the Soviets began imploding literally before the astonished eyes of the rest of the civilized world.  Without a shot being fired in what many have described as World War III and which all agree on as the “Cold War” and went on for nearly 40 years,the Russian communist superpower of the Soviet Union lay in disarray.  Literally outspent militarily to death by the continuing rearmament projects of the Reagan led western capitalist coalition.  The culminating  nail in the Soviet military coffin was Reagan’s avowed “star wars” projects which promised to shoot down enemy missiles momentsafter their launch,a very costly research effort which has still not been brought to fruition but was far beyond the economiclimits of the communists.  And all this in the faceof increasing unease, or disdain for the American achievement, a  sort of latent Kilroy go home feeling,or as most baseball fans well appreciate,sort of “hate the Yankees affectation”, the team that had the most successful and expensive baseball team for manyyears and many now take delight in theircurrent ignominy.

       With the fall of the Soviet superpowerthe United States has become literally a hyperpower,dominating commercial and financial and entertainment markets worldwide.   Universally people are enjoying or at least utilizing a wide range of our products and services,fromhamburgers(McDonalds) to entertainment(Disney) to computers(Microsoft). And, of course, that universal thirst quencher---Coca Cola. Not a territorial megalopoly but truly an involvedempire of power on many levels crucial to world functioning.  For the last twenty five yearsor so this has beenthe almost “and they lived happily ever after scenario”.  Indeed Francis Fukayama wrote“The End of History”a book proclaiming the triumph of liberal democracy and capitalism in future world affairs,a book he has since said has beenmisinterpretedand that these claims were, in retrospect,overrated.  

        And this may be the sad case for ultimate American pride. Indeed,our dominance may need some significant refurbishinginseveral areas.  Not with our military, but with our commerce and financial structure.The current weakness in the dollar is a short termpositive in purchasingabroad and may be a long term indication of our indebtedness worldwide.  In the last 50 years we have become a debtor nation; previously we were the world’s lender and financial giant.   The British Empire, on which “the sun never set”for over 600 years,also became a debtor nation towardthe end of its long hegemony,  but still retained its ruling swayalmost until its dissolution in the last century.  Hopefully the dollar’s weakness is not a long term infallible indicator.  True, we arecontinuing to fallfurther behind in hard core manufacturing too.   The leading auto manufacturer is now Toyota,not General Motors,and once almost legendary Ford,and Chrysler,have very dubious prospects.But   certainly these events need not bean accuratepredictor ofa dire economic future, but merelyour shift into more profitable areas.  In 2007the Gross Domestic Product of the United Stateswas 13.22 trillion dollars, about equal to the combined GDPs ofJapan, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom.(India, while still in a very rapid growth phase, still has less than a trillion GDP a year.) But these national entities are not enemies,but rival states accepting our free market, capitalistic, relatively democraticapproach to life.  Andthey are mostly doingand perhaps improving on this globalizationfree market trend we initiated.What we as the still acknowledgedsuperpower must contend with is the drastic shift in assets beginningto occur due to the rapidlyescalating price of oil.  With oil approaching $150now,and $200 seemingly a possibility soon,and we as still the leading consumer of oil,  face another Pearl Harbor and 9/11/01in one dire package.  Thatis, besides the energy and oil problemwe also havethe jihad Moslem fanaticismto deal with----- the United Statesas the satanic evil that Allah hates.   Only we can marshall the world wide resources needed to once againlead the free world to success in these areas.And we can solve these two critical problems concomitantly.   Exorbitant oil pricesand the increasing transfer of wealth because of these pricestomany in that area who are actively involvedin the jihad of western destruction, especially that wicked great Satan that we represent. As we diminish our reliance on Arab oil we will automaticallykeep many of our dollars out of somefanatic Islamic jihadisthandsand thus also diminish their ability  to fund further terrorist activity against us.   

       The searchfor alternate sources of energy must include a comprehensiveoverview of the nuclear option, especially for immediate application to power plants to generate electrical energy, as is now successfully done in France and other countries. Allother conventionalsources, ---wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric---must also be considered.    Above allconservation of energy resources must be in the forefrontof our efforts.   Engineering autos to achieve better miles per gallon usage—in the 40 mpg range--- is attainable,and perhaps a tax on gas  at the pump to inhibit excessive driving.And/or gas rationing?  Morebus andtrain transit and car pooling?All or some of these were very successfully used during World War II.   And despite our still luxurious livingwe are getting deeper into a financial morassbecause of the oil situation,which isundoubtedly a delight to thelarge jihadist faction of Islam fighting us.Because we cannot keep the increasing share of our petrodollarsgoing to that part of the Near East whenwe should be doing enough Federal and corporate research on new sources of energy and augmenting our present supplies of available energyin off shore oil drilling.There must be mutual cooperationpolitically at the highest level ---Congress and the White House,--- as during World War

II, and still the protection for the legitimate rights guaranteedin our basic first ten constitutional amendments.

       The big untapped resource, however,is our vast reservoir of 300,000,000 people,immigrantsall of one generation or another,who in John F. Kennedy’s immortalwords said “Ask not what the country can do for you,but what you can do for the country”.  A very large reserve of loyal Americans still “one people out of many” suffused with our democratic and economic aspirations of a better life for themselves and their children and grandchildren. (And even great grandchildren!)And a relatively equal playing field now to achieve those futuregoals.The prime reason we have super powerstatus is our use of the wise mix of this continuing pool of motivated immigrants.  Affirmative action for the ones handicapped or lacking in certain disqualifying skills,but still a  meritocracyofthe best and brightest arising to guide and leadand be substantially rewarded by our nations’ continued future growth and prosperity.   

       Our leaders, now and in the immediate future,should mobilize us now around the two emergency clarion callsof exorbitant and possibly ruinousoil prices and the avowed cries for our destruction by powerful radicalleaders in the Moslem world---and thetacit silence of any opposition in that religious world of overa billion people to the jihad anti American opposition.

       But are we not still deaf, on our side, to the clarion call?  Like the business as usual attitude in congress to the disgraceful annual pork barrel festival in Congressknown as the Annual AgriculturalAppropriation?  The largest earmark “festival’ever, assuredly with soon to be discovered—toolate-- celebrated bridges to nowhere and also to many gentleman farmer recipients who are grateful millionaire landowners and campaign contributors, never furrowing the land with seed, but their brows with further dodges to avoid income taxes. This will not nourish our weak dollaror strengthen the ability to finance the rebate promised us to avert a seeming recession.   We will always have to balance the guns versus butter concept with due deliberation;but these are definitely very uncertain times and too much political pork will be emotionally indigestible, definitely not kosher,and very injurious to our national financial health.