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Bases and superstructure

By Owen Paine on Thursday November 22, 2007 11:30 AM

(Editor's note: Apologies to Owen -- this post got lost in the editorial shuffle some days ago and only re-surfaced now.)


Paul C Roberts is a supply-train, liberty-legion dude -- part of the bloc of rights, frights, and Trotskyites that Comrade Cockburn has assembled editorially over at Counterpunch. He's still a Johnny One-note, like he was back during the Reagan restoration, but now it's anti-globalization, open-border de-industrialization, and, Lord above, anti-overseas-basification -- and he's no imperial dollar guy either. To wit:

"The macho super patriots who support the Bush regime still haven't caught on that US superpower status rests on the dollar being the reserve currency, not on a military unable to occupy Baghdad."
Very true, dear boy, very very true. But the bases are there for a purpose even sidesaddle Adlai well understood: our empire, the corporate America-style empire, like all empires, needs to shoot its way around the periphery. Any made-in-USA Globality, Inc. requires Uncle's blitz machine.

This line shows Paul C's hand:

"If the dollar were not the world currency, the US would have to earn enough foreign currencies to pay for its 737 oversees bases, an impossibility considering America's $800 billion trade deficit.... When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, foreigners will cease to finance the US trade and budget deficits, and the American Empire along with its wars will disappear overnight."
Nice as that sounds, it ain't gonna happen, pal. First of all the dollar is the imperial currency. The one with the blitz machine behind it is always the reserve currency, so it will remain the main currency in both active or reserve duty. Our major trading partners know this well, and know there can be no ifs ands or buts: another reserve currency (say that synthetic chimaeric Frankenberry freak, the Euro) will be the vice reserve currency at best.

But I like Roberts' policy Rx: bring home the bases!

"Perhaps the answer lies in those 737 overseas bases. If those bases were brought home and shared among the 50 states, each state would gain 15 new military bases. Imagine what this would mean: The end of the housing slump. A reduction in the trade deficit.

And the end of the war on terror....

All of the dollars currently spent abroad to support 737 overseas bases would be spent at home. Income for foreigners would become income for Americans, and the trade deficit would shrink. The impact of the 737 military base payrolls on the US economy would end the housing crisis and bring back the 140,000 highly paid financial services jobs, the loss of which this year has cost the US $42 billion in consumer income. Foreclosures and bankruptcies would plummet...."

I've scooped myself, of course: the bases are not some pair of useless gold-plated figures on top of a wedding cake we can no longer afford -- they are the guardians of the cake. Paul C's warning -- "The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years" -- has an inversion: maybe Rome was Rome, and had an empire that lasted centuries, even after Catholics took over, because it had... bases everywhere!

Can we afford 'em? Portugal couldn't -- but we ain't Portugal.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Thursday November 22, 2007 11:30 AM.

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