Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Political-Military Fuckery of the Teabaggers

Republicans/Teabaggers (there is little difference between them) are trying to refight the Civil War with regard to whether state governments or the federal government have the ultimate power. The Republicans might not be able to reinstitute slavery or the form of serfdom known as sharecropping, at least not right away, but they'll settle now for the fighting for what the segregationists called "state's rights".

They obviously have not thought this one through very well. Not if the same people have dreams of "American exceptionalism" or an "American empire".

I make no claims to being a historian. But I cannot think of a single serious power or empire throughout human history that was composed of a collection of autonomous or even semi-autonomous states. When it comes to being a serious player on the world stage or even on a regional stage, it is the strong nation-state that prevails.

The German Confederation, which arose from the ashes of the Holy Roman Empire,[1] were both, to my recollection, assemblages comprised of a number of sovereign states, much in the same way that the Teabaggers dream of the U.S. becoming. Both were rather weak and ineffectual. Germany did not become a serious economic and military power until the various German states and principalities were united under a strong national government.[2]

One of the bigger surprises for me from reading histories of the Second World War was that, among the major combatants, it was Germany that did the poorest job of mobilizing its industrial base.[3] The U.S., in effect if not in law, instituted a command economy. The government was happy to let companies make a profit, true enough. Control was exercised by controlling raw materials. If you wanted to keep the doors of your factory opened, you made what the government wanted you to make, which was war materiel, not consumer goods.

Being a world power requires, whether one likes it or not, a national military establishment capable of projecting power abroad. The Soviet Union never had much of a strong economy, but its ability to project power made it a player on the world stage up until the country collapsed in 1991.

Conversely, although Japan had a very strong economy in the 1970s and 1980s,[4] its sole lever of power was the power of its purse. If another nation refused to be swayed by bribes offers of economic assistance, Japan had no way to bend the other nation to its will, unless it could persuade the US or the UK to do a bit of saber-rattling.

The lesson that the ability of a nation to act on the world stage has its foundation on that nation's ability to project military force has not been lost on China. It apparently has been lost on the UK.[5]

The United States will not be able to continue to be a world power if the decisions of the Congress and of the Executive are subject to a repeal by the states, in the same way that no state could function if its county legislatures could repeal state laws. That is, to my mind, so blindingly self-obvious as to be beyond debate. For nobody would be certain as to the state of the law, given that any time, a bunch of thoroughly corruptible clowns[6] could repeal any law they felt like repealing.

But that's probably the unstated goal of the Teabaggers: To destroy the United States from within. In that, they are little different from their traitorous ancestors of 150 years ago.

[1] The original "three lies in one," a feat not equaled until the creation of "Meals, Ready to Eat."
[2] Chancellor Bismarck repeatedly and emphatically warned of the foolishness of going to war over anything to do with the Balkans and the dangers of fighting a two-front war. Kaiser Wilhelm II didn't pay any attention and tens of millions of men died as a result.
[3] Whether it was because Hitler believed that he could knock the Soviet Union out of the war quickly and then the Brits would sue for peace and then was not able to mentally shift gears fast enough or because Hitler owed a huge debt to the industrialists which backed him, I'll leave for your conjecture.
[4] It is not weak, now, but the Japanese economy has not recovered from its nearly two-decade long stagnation.
[5] So has the lesson that intervention abroad requires air power.
[6] The Texas State Legislature comes to mind.


Eck! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eck! said...

While I do not disagree I see it as far more poisonous.

They (teabaggers/wily coyote) appear to be shooting for constitutional amendment that would allow a vote of the states to overturn any act of legislature.

In other words they are trying to negate the legislative branch one they have representation in of the republic. That is a is a serious attempt to dismember the federal government. If successful it would render the Federal government as a two legged milk stool. Hilarity and collapse would soon ensue with the negation of Executive powers and Judicial branch.

This is just plain nuts.