The cynic in me wonders if this is intentional. You can’t have policies and decisions so consistently harmful to your own people by accident — can you?
If I had to imagine a how-to scenario for the sabotage of a nation, I don’t know whether I could do a better job than the people calling the shots today.
If you believed that America was an imperialist, racist bully, smashing-and-grabbing its way through the Third World, exploiting the poor, and destroying the planet, how would you stop it?
Easy — the same way that you’d handle a drunk wanting to drive home. You’d take his keys away. In this case, since we’re dealing with (what was once) the world’s only superpower, this means you diminish its supremacy.
You might undercut the nation’s moral authority; publicly emphasizing your own sins (real and imagined) while downplaying any virtues. You might snub your friends, and seek to ingratiate yourself to those who hate you. You might support foolish or dangerous causes at home and abroad. You might rush to judgment, or take sides in regional conflicts where the larger issues are unknown. You might ignore acts of war (an attack on an ambassador, for example), yet get involved in other conflicts without even the support of your own government.
You might unilaterally disarm yourself, and promise a rival nation-state of your intention to be “flexible”. You might watch another powerful nation march into a former satellite state, and do nothing, and watch them march into another one several years later.
You might negotiate with a nation-state who arms a guerrilla political movement seeking the genocide of your ally. You might even permit them to gain nuclear technologies.
You might have your foreign ministers strong-arming Third World nations to adopt a pet social cause, while turning a blind eye to groups being harassed, enslaved, or killed for simply being a minority faith or ethnic group.
You would also diminish that nation’s fighting capacity:
You would undermine military readiness. Alienate allies, draw down military personnel. Demoralize them. Politicize their work-places. Harass soldiers or officers with the “wrong” religious or political views. Misattribute the motives of people actively causing problems (call a mass killing “workplace violence” for example), while treating as suspect those people who want to protect anything that makes their country special. Turn the machinery of their own government agencies to work against them. You would sabotage recruitment, by having anti-war proxies rant endlessly about the immorality of your (and only your) military’s actions.
You might handcuff your nation financially:
Write yourself a blank check. Never — NEVER — pass a national budget, and you will never “exceed” it. Push the costs of running government ever higher. Make the debt so high that you cannot borrow more, and would be hamstrung in armed conflict. Create a dependency class. Use red tape to obstruct activities, groups and businesses that oppose you. (That’s even before what can be accomplished by leveraging the political advantages of an unsecured border.)
Foster a culture where you might “ask what your country would do for you, but not what you might do for your country”. Breed cynicism, apathy, and strife between races, special interests, and social strata. Celebrate and encourage any libertine freedom that may lead to later dependencies. Celebrate dependency of every sort as “compassionate”. Support social and economic policies toxic to the natural nuclear family.
Look around. Much of that has already happened! So now what? What can be done about it?
You’ll have to take a page from your own history. Since “they” (the establishment from both parties) obviously can’t be bothered to look after what needs doing, you’ll have to figure out creative solutions.
Suppose they manage to break the bank so badly they can no longer support a standing army of any useful size? What then? Since “lie down and wait to be conquered” isn’t an option, you may have to look at creative solutions. Maybe some method of giving at least minimal military training to the broader public… just in case you need to respond to a threat in a hurry.
Using that problem as just one example of the independent thinking we’ll need to foster, what could we do about it? There are plenty of options. As just one available possibility, how about this:
Invite students to participate in basic training, and include that training as part of an augmented or advanced High School diploma. Perhaps that training might count toward college or university credit. Remember, it was little groups of locally-trained militia who came together and stood shoulder to shoulder against the Redcoats, not a centrally-trained standing army. You know, the kind of a defence that protected Switzerland’s autonomy during WWII.
You might favor a different option. But that’s exactly my point. If the lumps in Washington are too busy padding their own retirements to notice the city burning, you’ll need to take initiative yourselves. Identify problems, like this or others, and generate creative solutions. Give special attention to ones that keep politicians out of the loop.
You have a long way to go before you can put this “fundamentally changed” (read: “imploding”) America behind you, but if anyone in today’s world might be up to such a task, it would be the American people themselves.
Image: Courtesy of: http://mamvas.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html