The arrogance of power

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


DEC. 28, 2012 -- In the Person of the Year issue of Time (12/31/12), President Obama responds in an interview: "In our foreign policy, do we believe that sort of garrison state and that our leadership is dependent on bluster and bullying other countries to bend to our will, or do we think that our leadership is driven in part by our values and our ideals?"

If ever there was a garrison state in the world, it would be the United States. We spend more on defense than the leading countries combined. The U.S. has 196,000 deployed around the world and is now stationing military personnel in every country we think might have some terrorists. In 2006, the Pentagon declared in its Quadrennial Defense Review Report that it would be against any or all "who seek to destroy our free way of life." In short, we aim to drone kill them before they kill us. Our drone killing terrorizes countries around the world; makes more enemies than it eliminates. Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia would appreciate "bluster and bullying" rather than drone killing. In the last issue of Newsweek (12/24/12) an article questions: "Will Obama end the war on terror?" Apparently the President intends to keep it going.

"We either cut programs we could no longer afford or raised revenues to stop the borrowing. We have increased the national debt $10 trillion in twelve years. We are running trillion dollar deficits each year. The economy is on steroids. We've got to cut out this nonsense and pay for government. "

-- Hollings

Mr. President, the campaign is over! Get real. You upped the troops in Afghanistan to be strong on defense against the Republicans. Now you deploy 2,500 Marines to Australia for the same reason. Australia is not going to war with China. Neither are we. With nuclear weapons scattered around the world, the United States can no longer act like a military superpower. We are overextended. Congress is not going to send G.I.'s to the South China Sea to be killed in the dispute between China and Vietnam; nor in the dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands; nor in the dispute between China and China over Taiwan. We've got to return to our Good Neighbor Policy set, as you say, by our values and our ideals.

In today's nuclear world there is no such thing as a military superpower. Any military conflict between China and the U.S. threatens to go nuclear. Even little North Korea is a nuclear threat. As the United States puffs and blows around the world like a military superpower, China quietly but vigorously develops its economy. China is our principal competition in foreign policy. We not only ignore China's competition but support it by offshoring our research, innovation, technology, production, jobs, payrolls - our economy to China.

China aims to become the world's economic superpower. China has already brought 300 million from poverty to the middle class and in three more years, it will bring another 300 million in to the middle class. China alters acquired technology, patents it, and the altered product becomes the article in trade. When China moves to prosper its remaining 700 million people, it will thank the U.S., bid it goodbye and Corporate America will return home and have nothing to produce. We think we are developing freedom and democracy in China. China's leaders know that they will have to keep control of their economy and vast population or the country will come apart. China develops a strong military, not just to defend China but, to defend the Central Committee. The Central Committee uses the military to keep law and order as its people gain more rights and freedom.

We need to develop democracy in the U.S. by bringing home enough of Corporate America to rebuild our economy. BusinessWeek (12/24/12) reports "the bargaining position that the White House brought to the fiscal cliff talks is essentially its budget from last spring which proposes to stabilize the debt ratio at a level a little higher than now: between 75 percent and 80 percent." Serving on the Senate Budget Committee for thirty years, we never talked about "stabilizing the debt ratio" or "ten year plans" or "to reduce spending to a certain percentage of the GDP."

We either cut programs we could no longer afford or raised revenues to stop the borrowing. We have increased the national debt $10 trillion in twelve years. We are running trillion dollar deficits each year. The economy is on steroids. We've got to cut out this nonsense and pay for government. We can do this by replacing the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 7 percent Value Added Tax. This tax cut produces $872 billion in revenues instead of last year's Corporate Tax of $181.1 billion. With spending cuts we can balance the budget and stop the borrowing in two years. This releases $1 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to repatriate tax free, invest, and start rebuilding our economy.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2012, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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