Going Dutch with Uncle Sam
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:52 p.m.
What does it cost to protect the world's oil supply in the Persian Gulf? According to one estimate, $10 billion annually. What about the cost of making peace between Egypt and Israel? More than $4.5 billion a year in American aid.
In recent years, more and more Americans are wondering whether superpower status is worth it. Last week, Kentucky Sen
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 86 percent of Republicans believe the United States should concentrate on problems at home, a dramatic jump from 66 percent who felt that way in 2002. (Eighty percent of Democrats feel the same way, roughly the same as 10 years ago.)
So where do we go from here? In the aftermath of World War II, as fear of Hitler gave way to fear of communism, Secretary of State George Marshall managed to convince war-weary Americans to double down on their investment overseas. That gamble paid off and laid the foundation for a peaceful, democratic, more united Europe. But today, there is little evidence that Secretary of State John Kerry can convince us to double down on our investment in the Middle East. The Obama administration wants to pivot out of there. And 72 percent of the American public agrees.
But before we give up and throw in the superpower towel, before we duck out the back door and leave the world to pay the check, we should take a lesson from all the breadwinners who have managed to get by with a shrinking budget. They have learned to do more with less. They cook at home instead of eating out. They rely on other members of the family, who get jobs and pitch in with the bills.
So too should the United States pull together with its allies to continue to steer the world through a dangerous time. The Europe that we helped stabilize back in 1948 is giving us a return on that investment. Recently, France led African troops in a military operation against jihadists in Mali, with logistical help from the United States. France and Britain took the lead in the Libya no-fly zone. (Although they still relied heavily on support from the United States, the cost to U
It will take a mental leap for Americans to view themselves as partners in a superpower team, rather than the only one calling all the shots.
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