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Crocodylus
16 Mar 14,, 22:55
It is not very often that one finds informed commentary on the comment threads following most articles online. In fact, the vast majority of comments make their original publishers look foolish. However, on Yahoo!News, not the likeliest of places in which to find informed commentary, I found the following comment by an American reader known as "Tran Thai Tong".


The longest conflict in history consisted of the wars that were fought between Persian and Roman empires, the SUPERPOWERS of their age. These wars lasted 795 years. By the end of this period the citizens of both of these SUPERPOWERS were angry, exhausted, and frustrated financially and morally. Both of these empires had reached the last stage that ANY SUPERPOWER will INEVITABLY reach. At this stage, the economical, financial, and moral prices of maintaining the status-quo of a superpower, much less expanding it, outruns the benefits of maintaining such status-quo. This will make the decline of ANY SUPERPOWER inevitable. It is sad and painful, but as taxpayers we should realize that America is currently at this stage. This is best evidenced in America's Incredible Debt Shock (AIDS (politically)) of $17,000,000,000,000, our disastrous healthcare system, and our failing education system, which allows the cheapest of state universities charge each resident full-time student around $10,000 per year on tuition alone.
If America gradually quits its SUPERPOWER status, all of its taxpayers will be better off, because all of these trillions of dollars that are spent to keep this status-quo will be spent at home, to fight poverty, create jobs, and provide cheap, or even education and healthcare for all its citizens. This is what happened in Britain and France after both countries seized to be SUPERPOWERS. My hat's off to this guy.

The original article can be found here: McCain: 'Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country' (http://news.yahoo.com/mccain-ukraine-crimea-160807712.html)

Officer of Engineers
16 Mar 14,, 23:57
The downside is that you get pushed around by those who think you're full of crap and take your lands, ie the Visogoths and the Huns.

DonBelt
17 Mar 14,, 00:42
It would be nice from a taxpayer point of view- we didn't sign a contract saying we would be responsible for the defense of the world. But unfortunately we manage our affairs in this country (US) in such a way that we can't disengage from world affairs. We are dependent on resources only available to us from overseas sources, our trade passes through choke points bordered by unstable or failed/hostile nations, and we have citizens traveling everywhere. We would need to change a lot about ourselves and our habits before we could voluntarily quit superpower status. Even so, I would not give up a large, modern military. If history shows one thing, it's always that when a nation lets it's military decline or contract an urgent crisis will arise requiring it. And catch up is a hard and expensive game to play. Oh, and I would throw in somewhere in there "Nature abhors a vacuum".

Doktor
17 Mar 14,, 01:29
Don't look at France and UK. Their decline was backed by a superpower.

DOR
17 Mar 14,, 03:07
the cheapest of state universities charge each resident full-time student around $10,000 per year on tuition alone.

I guess no one bothered to consider scholarships . . .

GVChamp
17 Mar 14,, 16:46
I don't see this as "informed commentary." This is the normal doom and gloom pessmism that suggests lowering expectations, that you see in pretty much every online article. I guess it's good that he knows about the long standing Persian-Roman rivalry, but that doesn't apply to the US at all.
Compare 1970s America to modern America and get back to me about how modern America cannot afford a global foot-print.

Officer of Engineers
17 Mar 14,, 17:16
What global footprint?

GVChamp
17 Mar 14,, 17:30
Are you referring to the 70s or aughts?

Officer of Engineers
17 Mar 14,, 17:35
Now. The WWIII armies are gone. Never to come back.

kato
17 Mar 14,, 21:53
we didn't sign a contract saying we would be responsible for the defense of the world.
Actually you did just that - along with Russia, France, the UK and the Republic of China - in 1949.

GVChamp
17 Mar 14,, 22:03
Alright, running with that, how much of our force reduction do you think is a policy choice, and how much do you think is an unavoidable fact of life? Cause this guy is comparing the US over-stretch to the Romans fighting an eight century war, and that's not including the multiple civil wars and other barbarian incursions.
I don't think it's even fair to compare the problems of the US today to the problems of 1970s America. There's a crappy healthcare system, a crappy education system, and still going through the aftermath of Vietnam and racial integration.

SteveDaPirate
17 Mar 14,, 22:10
This guy seems to be confusing a relative decline in American power with an absolute decline. If American power is declining it is not because of any impending collapse in American society, it is because the rest of the world is finally catching up. Between WWII and states that were mostly pre-industrial (China, India) until recently, it is hardly a surprise that the rest of the world would start catching up. This does not suddenly indicate that America will suddenly fall crumble and fall into obscurity. It just means the United States might soon have a near peer.

These comparisons with historical superpowers such as Rome seem to miss the rather important detail that the United States is not in any position to be invaded either now or in the foreseeable future. Nuclear weapons are a great defensive weapon, but not terribly useful to an invader who wants to acquire useful territory. Not to mention that no country in the Western Hemisphere has the population to even consider an invasion of the United States. This means that any potential invasion would have to come from across an ocean.

The fact that even the mighty United States struggled to invade and occupy countries smaller than many of its constituent states on the other side of the world seems like a pretty good indication of the difficulty of such a feat. The idea that any country short of a superpower that spans all of Europe and Asia could successfully invade America is laughable.

Rome fell after centuries of warfare, and being repeatedly sacked and invaded by barbarian hordes. There are no hordes or invaders to threaten the United States, and short of a full nuclear exchange or terrible civil war, it will not be losing its superpower status anytime soon. The worst that will happen is that the U.S. will have some competition at the top.

Doktor
17 Mar 14,, 23:09
Yet the immigrants have no problem to sneak trough US borders and redistribute the wealth.

kato
17 Mar 14,, 23:10
The idea that any country short of a superpower that spans all of Europe and Asia could successfully invade America is laughable.
15% bigger military, a 15% bigger economy and 60% more population reserves. Without Asia. Or Eastern Europe. Only downside is 60% less spending on military...

SteveDaPirate
17 Mar 14,, 23:49
15% bigger military, a 15% bigger economy and 60% more population reserves. Without Asia. Or Eastern Europe. Only downside is 60% less spending on military...

Those margins are hardly enough to offset supply lines stretching across the Atlantic, a very well armed U.S. citizenry, and a fine military establishment. If the United States, with a number of allies, and established foreign bases struggled to occupy a piddling little country like Iraq, what makes you think Western Europe, even under a single political entity has any chance at all of a successful occupation of the United States?

What percentage of your population can you afford to send around the world without bankrupting your own economy? Is Western Europe, with their rapidly aging demographics going to come up with enough young men to do the job? Hardly.

SteveDaPirate
17 Mar 14,, 23:53
Yet the immigrants have no problem to sneak trough US borders and redistribute the wealth.

Immigration is hardly an existential threat. The United States has always had immigration and it is one of the things keeping our demographics healthy while much of the rest of the developed world has a rapidly aging population. The United States has lots of land, lots of capital, and room to continue growing our population and economy for quite some time.

citanon
18 Mar 14,, 00:03
It is not very often that one finds informed commentary on the comment threads following most articles online. In fact, the vast majority of comments make their original publishers look foolish. However, on Yahoo!News, not the likeliest of places in which to find informed commentary, I found the following comment by an American reader known as "Tran Thai Tong".

My hat's off to this guy.

The original article can be found here: McCain: 'Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country' (http://news.yahoo.com/mccain-ukraine-crimea-160807712.html)

If this guy thought the Superpowers of the day had it tough, he should take a look at the non-super powers.

Doktor
18 Mar 14,, 00:12
Immigration is hardly an existential threat. The United States has always had immigration and it is one of the things keeping our demographics healthy while much of the rest of the developed world has a rapidly aging population. The United States has lots of land, lots of capital, and room to continue growing our population and economy for quite some time.

I meant illegal one.

If you guys are fine with it, I have no problem. Just if you are fine, make it legal. Yeah, see how it goes ;)

Crocodylus
21 Mar 14,, 06:02
Immigration is hardly an existential threat. The United States has always had immigration and it is one of the things keeping our demographics healthy while much of the rest of the developed world has a rapidly aging population. The United States has lots of land, lots of capital, and room to continue growing our population and economy for quite some time.In the 18th and 19th centuries, most immigrants to North America came from the British Isles and Northern Europe. Hence most of the US and Canada was (Nordic) White. Immigration from Southern Europe and East Asia began to rise late in the 19th century, but the number that could enter the US was restricted, while immigration from the British Isles and Northern Europe went largely unrestricted.

Nowadays, with the abolition of US immigration quotas, most new immigrants to the US come from places that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, were not considered as having suitable candidates for US citizenship.

sated buddha
21 Mar 14,, 07:31
Actually you did just that - along with Russia, France, the UK and the Republic of China - in 1949.

Is this what is going to save the world when the green men come calling?

Or the Kaiju.

SteveDaPirate
21 Mar 14,, 17:42
In the 18th and 19th centuries, most immigrants to North America came from the British Isles and Northern Europe. Hence most of the US and Canada was (Nordic) White. Immigration from Southern Europe and East Asia began to rise late in the 19th century, but the number that could enter the US was restricted, while immigration from the British Isles and Northern Europe went largely unrestricted.

Nowadays, with the abolition of US immigration quotas, most new immigrants to the US come from places that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, were not considered as having suitable candidates for US citizenship.

If I recall correctly, immigrant groups from Europe weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms in many cases even if they were English speaking white people. A prime example of which was the slogan seen in many newspapers advertising jobs “No Irish Need Apply”.

From what I have seen, the first generation of immigrants to arrive is poor, has trouble speaking English and generally fitting in to American society. But their children strive to be Americans in every sense of the word. These 2nd generation immigrants help keep American society fresh by challenging established modes of thought with foreign ideas, customs, and ways of doing things but with an American spin on them.

The only concern I have with regards to immigration is the establishment of large enclaves in which people do not integrate into American society even in the 3rd or 4th generation. This can unfortunately be seen in the Southwest in areas closer to Mexico. There are large areas where Spanish is the predominant language, and Mexican culture is the rule rather than the exception. This is a trap for children growing up in these areas because they do not learn to speak English or adopt American customs. Since they do not possess these skills, they can never leave their enclave and integrate into broader American society except at the bottom rungs. How many companies in Kansas or Minnesota want to hire a guy who doesn’t have a good command of the English language?

I believe this is a big reason why we see immigrants from Europe, India, and Asia succeeding in American society today while many Latin American groups struggle. People from Asia are forced to cut ties with their native lands when they come to the U.S. seeking a better life. They cannot drive back across the border to Mexico when they are homesick or feeling insecure. They are forced to adapt to an unfamiliar culture, learn a language, and attempt to make their way in a new society. Many don’t fully succeed in overcoming these hurdles, but their children do.

This is why I am optimistic about immigration as a whole, but concerned about the lack of integration in specific areas.

Albany Rifles
21 Mar 14,, 18:24
Steve,

I can show you chunks of Chicago and Milwaukee where the exact things you apply to the Hispanics still goes with Eastern European populations. Same in New York.

Part of the "assimilation issue" in the Southwest is, frankly, racial. Its the refusal of the "native" white populations to acknowledge they are several centuries behind the Latino population in being in the area. And most of the Latino population in question is not of European Spanish blood but are of the native Indian bloodlines....whcih go back several millenia.

Its enough to ask....who is the immigrant? Who refuses to assimilate?

SteveDaPirate
21 Mar 14,, 18:50
Steve,

I can show you chunks of Chicago and Milwaukee where the exact things you apply to the Hispanics still goes with Eastern European populations. Same in New York.

Part of the "assimilation issue" in the Southwest is, frankly, racial. Its the refusal of the "native" white populations to acknowledge they are several centuries behind the Latino population in being in the area. And most of the Latino population in question is not of European Spanish blood but are of the native Indian bloodlines....whcih go back several millenia.

Its enough to ask....who is the immigrant? Who refuses to assimilate?

My concern is less to do with “who got here first” and more focused on how people can be successful in today’s society. Any time you have a ghetto, or town, or large neighborhood where kids grow up in an environment that is effectively insulated from mainstream American society, it severely restricts their future options. Employment in other parts of the country will become much more difficult to find, political representation will be tough to acquire, and legal options often remain unknown.

The result is that these kids growing up are stuck in their insular community and the cycle continues. An insulated Korean community in a larger city will often find it difficult to obtain effective political representation even at the local level. This leads to dissatisfaction in the community as their needs are not addressed.

I want immigrants who come to the United States to succeed and prosper while giving the best parts of their culture to the mainstream of American society in a mutually beneficial relationship. When you have whole communities that are physically in America but not participating in the wider American society, I think it deprives the immigrants and their children of a better shot in life, and deprives American society of the unique ideas and culture these groups can bring with them.

I did not mean to imply that the phenomenon of insulated enclaves of immigrants in the U.S. was solely a Hispanic one, only that is seems to be particularly prevalent among the Hispanic community in areas closer to the Southern border.

sated buddha
22 Mar 14,, 09:08
I think Steve makes an important point about cutting the umblical cord and physical geographical proximity.

But Steve, except for China maybe, definitely in India and probably in most of the subcontinent and SE Asia, English is the de facto common language of education of the upwardly mobile. And more often than not, this is the demographic that reaches the states. The demographic that reaches the UK as a comparison is slightly different. And slightly different for Australia as well.

So its not like they learn English to assimilate into American culture and society. Most of them are pretty English fluent by the time they get there. The first generation non-English speaking waves were more common in the 60s and 70s maybe even the 80s. Not so much now.