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Where is Pericles when you need him?

By Owen Paine on Monday July 7, 2008 11:42 PM

"Of course, the average American is not concerned with the complexities of global finance.But as I talk to ordinary Americans, and I visit the United States once or twice a year, I sense their anxiety about the state of the economy. The irony, they have said to me, is that the middle class felt little benefit from economic growth when the official indicators were pointing upward, but once the downturn started, it hit them immediately, and it hit them hard."

That's Gorby layin' it out for our next prez in an op-ed at the ITH. The man who brought down the socialist camp right on the heads of all its overtasked, undercompensated little campers. His advice to up our economy? Cut the military budget. Lots of our problems can be solved, according to ex-Leninist Gorbachev, if we just turn away from the Bush big stick and bigger swagger approach to global problems. "The size of America's defense budget and the militarization of its foreign policy..." is a real deep troublemaker, not only for all our fellow earthlings, but for ourselves as well -- or at least those not raised by the system into Larry Summers' stateless elite.

Not bad advice, now is it? After all, when is it not a good time to nix empire, American style?

But don't he then fall right on his face: "the next president will have to decide... whether America wants to be an empire or a democracy."

Okay, so his empire was not compatible with "democracy" -- at least as we know it -- but is our empire?

Unlike the empire Uncle Joe built, I think our own brand sprang very easily and quite nicely right out of our special kinda spreadeagle settler state rendition of a democracy. So you might take himself's solemn advice to the next commandante of the world's sole hyperpower with a snicker or two.

"Global dominance or international cooperation: choose. This is an either-or proposition: The two things don't mix, like oil and water."
I'm reminded of side-saddle Adlai's Cuban missile crisis theatrics -- "don't wait for the translation! Yes or no!"

Gorby is, maybe, half right. Like oil and water, democracy at home and empire abroad "don't mix" -- or at least not well, or for long. No good comes of trying to mix 'em, but they can lay almost indefinitely, the ugly one settin' on top of the shiny hill one -- sorta like a Sioux chief's war bonnet.

Didn't such Rushmorean heroes as TR and FDR prove that, in times long long past?

Comments (7)

Mike Hunt:

Isn't the US a Republic?

Oh, yes a Republic. That hybrid somewhere between a democracy and a dictatorship.

A Republic is that elitist construct of democracy of the few. All are not worthy of democratic acts. It should be limited to property owners, the educated, or even latte drinkers.

A Democracy respects the will of the majority, whereas, a Republic respects the elite minority. White South Africa - pre Mandela - now that was a Republic.

Al Schumann:

It's supposed to fit the definition of a republic -- governance is legitimized through the consent and participation of the governed, generally through some form of democratic process. But what we're offered is a process in which governance occasionally condescends to legitimize the governed and takes suggestions on the best ways to let them organize, within limited parameters.

Son of Uncle Sam:

Rome was a republic.
A real republic, where christians got an ultimate latte of molten lead on the floor of the colliseum. Just to celebrate goodtimes.
Empire- none finer- your Romes' and you'll like it. Today well hell look at that damn fertile cresent! Only a total zero could let that happen!
As a republic, democracy, empire whatever, we're gonna need all aboard to get it to work whatever it is.
Omnipotent leadership is what the doctors ordering, and I mean a real strong dose like Hitler or Rob Reiner.

Son of Uncle Sam:

He just proves its chess. The Grand Wizard with loose sleeves and head cheese like an old coagulated drive way oil stain.
And our choice decides back in the USSR's prior lack of viscosity tward my father Uncle!
Cut the military budget... OK some one should anserw back," join us or die commie."
Nelson Aldrich! thats all it would take
Just a forgotten HERO, the red rooster himself.
Who felt a down turn? Liein' load. Looks like he's in good shape though.


aldrich was a R.I. hen
and laid brown eggs

plato's cave:

Warts and all, I'll take Gorby's prescription. I think "democracy or empire, but not both" is the best possible slogan for our time. What we have instead, in the US, is a zomby-like belief in "progress" under the American way, with all the implications unclear.

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