or: Can the U.S. remain “top dog” and experience lasting peace?
A friend recently pointed out that it is extremely difficult to solve the world’s conflicts because almost every action taken has negative consequences. It is easy to see policy mistakes in hindsight but very difficult to see where things could go wrong at that time. For example, one can see in hindsight that the 9/11/2001 attacks were a result of U.S. policy in the Middle East since the 1991 Gulf War. Not to diminish the responsibility of the perpetrators of the attack, but it may not have occurred if the U.S. military had not had a strong presence in the Middle East for a decade. So the argument goes, if we could see the consequences of such choices, we could avoid future conflicts. Basically, we could act without pissing off the wrong people. But in reality, this is impossible because there will always be someone unhappy with the new plan. You just can’t please everybody.
The problem is that U.S. foriegn policy is part of what make our economy so big.
There is an unequal distribution of natural resources. The oil in the world is located in specific places. The predominant users of oil are in other locations. It can be simplified as: there are haves and have-nots.
As an American, I am a member of the haves. I don’t know any of my fellow “haves” that are ready to give it up and become a “have-not”. I also do not believe there is a realistic means for an entire world of “haves”. For everyone in the world to be blessed with the energy resources that Americans enjoy it would take a worldwide oil production that is astronomical and impossible.
An egalitarian world means I have to give up too much.
Therefore, the real world is a place of competition and conflict.
This is how humans operate. It would be great if we could have peace and happiness everywhere with no poverty and no shortage. But is this possible? Not as long as the world population is increasing and resources are limited. Think fighting wars over oil is bad? Just wait, One day it could be water supplies that drives us to war. Then water would become just one more resource that to fight over.