Could the US "go it alone"?

#1
The US, with a few of its western allies, are forever getting slagged off by various cultures and societies in its attempts to bring democracy/capitalism to third world and oppressed countries.

Back in the 50s to 70s it was against commie regimes, during the 80s and up to now it is up against islamic crackheads and despots of all creeds and colours. Whatever it does, it gets grief for it.

Why doesn't America just pull all its military back home, cut off funding for everything (arms, aid, nation building, the whole lot) and look after number 1?? They would be rich as f*#k and be able to sit there and watch the rest of the world tear itself inside out.

Genuine question, try not to rip it apart straight away, lets have some reasonable comments / debate points first

Thanks
 
#2
Because the US has not been self-sufficient in raw materials or industrial capacity since the 1950s. Their economy would collapse if they tried isolationism and anything short of total unquestioned world dominance means inevitably having to listen to other people's viewpoints so you know if they're willing to deal with you and on what terms.

The US preferred option is to have regimes in place that think broadly the way it does about economic and political matters, whether that's representative of the majority of locals or not. You didn't really think it was all about altruism, did you?
 
#3
Altruism - nice word, admit I had to go Google it to find a definition though :eek:

Fine, they still need resources, but that could be squared away by normal trading and bartering practices, couldn't it? The huge amounts America donates to other countries could probably clear their own domestic debts in a few years. If they held on to their cash, instead of throwing it around, surely they would come out winners?

I mean that commercial importing and exporting carry on, just no more state funds and aid splashed out trying to sell themselves as the big benefactor, whilst being slagged off internationally from within areas they are trying to help.

I know they use this as a method of power projection, but it cannot be financially viable or sustainable, surely.
 
#4
Don't forget their armaments industry is one of the powerful blocs that forms policy. Intervening in the world is good for sales/profits/power. Confrontation sells weapons and therefore industry continuity and growth.
Ethics is not a word you find in US political/industrial/economics dictionaries.
It is never about exporting democracy. And if the rest of the world tore itself apart who would buy their products? Plus the influx of immigrants would be intolerable to the US.
They tried isolationism until WW2 and found that joining in made more profits for the big companies. That's it.
 
#5
Even without nation-building interventionism, parts of American power rest on the security of worldwide trade, for example. Any good navy must secure those sea lanes vital to its countries' interest, for example; for the the United States, they are around the world, and thus it maintains an incredibly long-armed fleet of subs, surface combatants and carriers for projecting power around the world. If those sealanes collapsed or the ships passing through them had to, say, pay extortionate fees to pirates or neighbouring countries, that will obviously hurt the US.

Countries don't engage in trade and interdependency because it's a right jolly good laugh. It's because buying a shirt from China for $2 is better than a $20 shirt from Dullsville, Ohio, since you now have $18 in left over which you can spend on luxuries. In the isolationist scenario, you have a shirt; under global trade, you have a shirt, PLUS a manicure, or a haircut, or something else costing $18.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage
 
#7
Proper_Gander said:
yer the poor americans are only trying to help... :roll:
We learned from you on making empires on the bones of the Brown skinned, and you taught us well. Good old East India Company, wot?
By the way, Have you any Chinese Opium still?
 
#8
Ever heard of Pax Brittanica?
 
#9
Goldbricker said:
Proper_Gander said:
yer the poor americans are only trying to help... :roll:
We learned from you on making empires on the bones of the Brown skinned, and you taught us well. Good old East India Company, wot?
By the way, Have you any Chinese Opium still?
i wasn't having a go at americans, i was having ago at his naivety re: global politics.

but please, feel free to take offence. :p
 
#12
western said:
Ever heard of Pax Brittanica?
I have now. :D From reading into the phrase a bit on the internet, it compares what we set about to do in the 19th Century to what America is attempting to do in the 20th-21st Century, but just like us other factors are weighing in to erode that dominance, economic as well as military.
 
#13
George W Bush when he started off said that he was only interested in America and look what that got them!
The 21st Century will probably be where the Chinks get the big deals though,nearly everything you buy at the moment has ´made in China´on it,once they finish buying up all the oil fields in Africa and everywhere we´ll be buying it not from ESSO or BP but from Chinise firms.
Just give them a few more years to catch up.
 
#14
madflags said:
western said:
Ever heard of Pax Brittanica?
I have now. :D From reading into the phrase a bit on the internet, it compares what we set about to do in the 19th Century to what America is attempting to do in the 20th-21st Century, but just like us other factors are weighing in to erode that dominance, economic as well as military.
Yes, but we went in where we could win and brought peace to a third of the world for nearly a Century. (A very loose synopsis)
 
#15
Goldbricker said:
Proper_Gander said:
yer the poor americans are only trying to help... :roll:
We learned from you on making empires on the bones of the Brown skinned, and you taught us well. Good old East India Company, wot?
By the way, Have you any Chinese Opium still?
Yep. But Empire gave way to democracy and freedom.

What's your next move? Don't tell me, democracy and fre....
 
#16
A bout of isolationism would be very good for my nation... rebirth of local industry and a chance to reduce our deficit to minimal amount as mentioned above. Would be a bit of cost rise as various manufacturers get their enterprises in gear but once up and running... it would be self sustaining and the cost of living will stabilize. Problem is such a move would have severe negative consequences elsewhere. China's economy would collapse and even the EU would be shaken to it's financial core. I don't think anyone realizes just how much the international community relies on us for both commerce and defense. We... Americans that is would simply adapt as we have in the past then go one with our blinders firmly in place but for many outside our borders... the price of our return to such a path would be war and starvation.
 
#17
DavetheApe said:
Goldbricker said:
Proper_Gander said:
yer the poor americans are only trying to help... :roll:
We learned from you on making empires on the bones of the Brown skinned, and you taught us well. Good old East India Company, wot?
By the way, Have you any Chinese Opium still?
Yep. But Empire gave way to democracy and freedom.

What's your next move? Don't tell me, democracy and fre....
The Empire was eroded by a sharp decline in economic dominance and by the insitance of US foreign policy in return for support during WWII (see the Atlantic Charter).
 
#18
Hard to see how on the current trajectory.

It used to be an Isolationist state, still is psychologically. But the Cousins are heavily indebted to Beijing and the corporations have moved much of their manufacturing base too China.

Since Reagan's time the top couple of income percentiles have sent American capital abroad to slay monsters. The US system is run almost entirely for these commendably greedy folks benefit. It's very difficult to reign it all back in.

Of course a reluctantly imperial DC is now over stretched trying to grow the Core and system manage the Gap while bankers concentrate wealth like the KGB did as the USSR fell. It's liable to go belly up.

The great genius that is America will then optimistically recreate itself as something else and probably something better. The rest of us will of course be screwed.
 
#19
Khyros said:
A bout of isolationism would be very good for my nation... rebirth of local industry and a chance to reduce our deficit to minimal amount as mentioned above. Would be a bit of cost rise as various manufacturers get their enterprises in gear but once up and running... it would be self sustaining and the cost of living will stabilize. Problem is such a move would have severe negative consequences elsewhere. China's economy would collapse and even the EU would be shaken to it's financial core. I don't think anyone realizes just how much the international community relies on us for both commerce and defense. We... Americans that is would simply adapt as we have in the past then go one with our blinders firmly in place but for many outside our borders... the price of our return to such a path would be war and starvation.
I don't think that outside of the US borders there will be much wars and starvation due to the US withdrawal. The economic collaps of US was forseen by some as far back as the 80-s... Since then major European powers as well as China took (and are still taking) steps to distance themselves from the dependency on the US economy, market and currency.

I'm afraid, the biggest shock from the US geo-political withdrawal will be within the US; I do not suggest you will have outright wars and starvation, but you will go through the experience similar to that of Russia of 90-s.
 
#20
Goldbricker said:
By the way, Have you any Chinese Opium still?
Point of order: the British never bought Chinese opium. We sold a lot of Indian opium, though.
 

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