Scenario: The U.S. Should Police the World


This is not an earnest, carefully researched piece.  If you want that, you’ll find it in some posts in my other blogs. The purpose of this blog is to entertain ideas.

The idea in focus today is the idea that the U.S. should not police the world.  Since everybody seems to agree on it, there’s a reasonable chance that it will eventually be considered completely idiotic.  In ideas, buy low, sell high.  Don’t buy everything; but after shopping carefully, choose well, and then wait for developments.  It may take a couple of centuries, but eventually everyone will agree, at least for a while, that you were right.  (This, too, is a contrarian argument.)

Why should the U.S. police the world?  First reason:  it’s cheaper than the alternative.  Take a hundred cruise missiles, each costing several million to build, ship, set up, and launch, and you could be paying for a lot of policing.  A few machine guns here, a few Special Forces teams there, and you could exert a great deal of low-pressure, long-term influence.  It’s expensive to send in the cavalry.  Send in the social workers and the cops instead – years ahead of the actual crisis.  Expand the Peace Corps, for heaven’s sake; it’s dirt-cheap.  Build libraries.  You get the idea.

Second reason:  things can always get worse.  It costs money to police the world.  Ah, but everything costs money.  If we don’t invest in ideals of good government in your random hopeless nation now, we can always wait until they build nukes or sign trade agreements with China for – what’s this? – a bazillion dollars’ worth of some essential element that nobody knew was there.  Oops.  Now, instead of spending a few million here and there, helping them out in small ways over the long haul, we can pay through the nose on our fix du jour.

There’s probably more reasons, but I’ve finished dinner, so that’s all I have to say on that.


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