Sunday, December 1, 2013

Doing the Right Thing

My novel has been re-written and is being read by selected readers for comment. This blog will return to its original purpose: a display case for my writing. I will finish posting my war stories and other experiences. My Visit to a Long-ago War will consist of four postings. It is long and could be considered as a travelogue for anyone who plans a trip to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Other generations are in charge now, and mine – the one who remembers that Sunday, some 72 years past – is either out to pasture or under it. Today is very different from my yesterday, but human nature remains a constant. However, I offer the following observations for what they are worth and welcome your comments..
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else                                                                                                        Winston Churchill

I don't know if we can still count on Americans doing the right thing, eventually, or if we can count on the world giving us the time for a long debate with ourselves, such as we had in the Thirties, before we do
the right thing. Japan settled the debate between our interventionists and isolationists by attacking us at Pearl Harbor. Now, we debate social issues we'll never resolve while our economy goes south. The world adopted our currency when we were its largest creditor nation with its largest trade surplus. We are now its largest debtor nation with its largest trade deficit. China will be in our original position within a few years and has suggested that her currency become the world’s reserve currency.

China is currently buying our bonds, which constitute our National Debt, from her trade surplus with us. Will she shut off exports to us until our exports to them catch up? Unlikely? China sells to the world, and we’re still recovering from our 2008 crash. We’re no longer the only game in town, and we no longer produce what she sells us. If China stops buying our bonds or ups the ante and sells the large hoard she owns, how will that affect our $16 trillion debt?

Here’s another scenario. Suppose we found ourselves at war with China over some tension or other between us? Unlikely? We’re already in a cyber war. China is reported to have stolen the plans for our newest fighter plane, the F35. If true, she has obtained a trillion dollars of our research and design for free. China has only one aircraft carrier to throw against our Navy’s  mighty battle groups? What if missiles took out the carriers of both nations in the first days of war? France tried to improve on trenches with the Maginot Line in the Thirties, but Germany had no intention of fighting the last war when she launched her blitzkriegs.

One hundred years ago – in 1913 - Europeans thought that the world had grown too civilized and war too terrible for humanity to consider it. China is only one of several potential competitors or enemies in our unknown future. Whoever wants to be king of the hill must push us off it. The world now knows our strengths and weaknesses. We may not be presented with a unifying Pearl Harbor.

Incidentally, where could we get our weapons parts and the myriad necessities if we had another major war? Most of our manufacturers are only assemblers. Could we count on a convoyed supply across the Pacific from India and Southeast Asia? We need to think as a nation among nations, no longer able to maintain an isolated world surrounded by an impenetrable moat of oceans. Our economy is being nationalized, not by the government, but by huge corporations oriented globally rather than to regions or even states. The lessons drawn by my generation and preceding ones may no longer be applicable.
What is the right thing – or things - that we should be doing in our present situation?

Jack Eiden

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