27 Jan Isolationism: A Modest Proposal*
“America should profit from its foreign entanglements.” – The Lonely Realist
America is well-positioned to profit from today’s international military and munitions supply-demand imbalance, prison inmate and immigrant oversupply, the domestic consensus for increased protectionism, and foreign policy prerogatives in the Middle East, Europe, Taiwan, Korea, Africa, South America, etc., which create an opportunity to significantly reduce America’s >$34 trillion debt and provide support for America’s continued global operations. Being the world’s policeman to-date has meant that America has been in the uneconomic business of protecting other nations instead of protecting Americans. The resulting foreign entanglements have included a number of downsides, one of which is that America made itself the global bogeyman, characterized by its enemies (and by some of its friends) as a corrupt, divided, interfering Satan, a target for resentment and retaliation. Those entanglements meant that America became directly involved – often militarily – in conflicts within and between other nations. Why?
The final years of the 20th Century were a golden age with the world operating under the protection of Pax Americana and nations modeling their economies and governments on America’s market-based, democratic leadership. It was an era in which America had every incentive to involve itself in foreign entanglements in order to ensure its mercantilist/economic domination. That world ceased to exist decades ago. America today cannot drive global policy. It no longer is militarily and economically dominant. It faces well-armed, economically self-sufficient adversaries in China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, the Axis of the Sanctioned. These American enemies have allied their interests with fellow anti-Americans in Venezuela, Cuba, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and elsewhere, all of whom have redoubled efforts to sway global opinion and international policies against American interests. America no longer has the resources to project its power to every hot-spot or to counter the aggressions of its many enemies. The “peace dividend” enjoyed by America following the Cold War ended years ago …, and America failed to adjust its actions accordingly.
With the world moving from a post-war nirvana to an era of widening wars, the charitable idealism that characterized American foreign policy in the 20th Century must be replaced by 21st Century hard-headed capitalism, a transition from militant internationalism to profitability.
America’s template for doing so is The Wagner Group, the Russian military’s mercenary arm funded largely by “tribute” (often by resource-theft) from client nations and targeted at furthering Russian foreign policy. In a Wagner adaptation, the American government should rent out its armed forces at prices that exceed America’s costs. Western Europe, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Israel and The Philippines are examples of countries that have benefited from their alliances with America. American troops stationed on foreign soils represent a defense commitment of enormous intrinsic value. The generosity of providing that commitment at no cost must end. There no longer are reasons why the U.S. should continue providing charity. America’s fiscal situation is dire with its government operating at a significant annual deficit. The cost of maintaining its military is a major contributor. Countries that depend on American defense should pay cash – capitalist tribute – for America’s military presence and support. If the EU requires U.S. munitions for Ukraine, there should be a premium for providing those munitions. If South Korea wants American troops stationed in the country to act as a tripwire to deter Krazy Kim, it will need to pay for that privilege. If Israel wants to buy American armaments during a period of rapidly increasing demand, it must pay a premium price. American protection should not be handed out for free or at a discount. As the world’s Capitalist Arsenal, the go-to protector of Western interests, America requires payment for providing military protection, protection offered to those countries that work to further American goals, an enlightened application of the Trump and Biden Administrations’ supply-chain protectionist policies. Those that don’t toe the American line will have to fend for themselves. If a country is integral to America’s international interests, if it is part of America’s supply chain, if it cooperates with America’s military recruitment and immigration needs, and if it aligns itself with America’s foreign policy, it will have the opportunity to buy American protection.
With America’s prisons overloaded, The Wagner Group template similarly should offer prison inmates the ability to serve in America’s armed forces on a non-compensated basis in exchange for pardons. A similar policy would be applied to immigrants desiring green cards – America would offer them a path to citizenship in return for active military service (which sort-of worked for the Roman Empire). Capitalist military recruitment provides an additional ingredient for enhancing American power and growth. Now indeed is the time for America to address the combination of increased international military and munitions demand, prison inmate and immigrant oversupply, and fiscal necessity.
* “A Modest Proposal” is a phrase that connotes satire. It derives from an essay written by Jonathan Swift in 1729 suggesting that the impoverished Irish could ease their economic hardship by selling their children to the wealthy as food.
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Finally (from a good friend)