SHUTDOWN AND DEBT CRISIS: A PAUSE FOR REFLECTION BOTH AT HOME AND ABROAD
By Harry C. Blaney III
While the end of the current shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is now over it has NOT ended. It has simply been postponed. Further, while some have been writing that the Tea Party faction has been chastened, the first reading is that they are mad and have no intention of backing down on their absurd goals which will only hurt America and hurt the majority of Americans. Not least, however, is that they have severely damaged America’s global image and brought into question the full faith and credit of the United States. Our friends and allies are still worried and our adversaries are taking advantage of our dysfunction.
The debt and shutdown fight uncovered and created added American vulnerabilities abroad. Other nations question more our reliability and soundness of our commitments. This includes in our negotiations of our new Atlantic and Pacific trade pacts, in pushing nations to do more against weapons of mass destruction, in our requests for help by other nations in reducing dangerous conflicts, and in cooperation to deal with our continued global economic and financial problems.
The major problem of our current governmental and political dysfunction continues as long as a minority of a minority can halt all legislation and tie in knots efforts at reasonable negotiations and seriously addressing our challenges at home and abroad. No one can deny that having a strong domestic economy, growing employment, better education of our children, taking care of our aged and poor, and improving our science and technology, providing health for all citizens, and rebuilding of our decrepit infrastructure, are key to our continued progress and global leadership.
Yet all of these goals the Republicans and especially the Tea Party faction are still opposed and so far they are backed by billionaire malevolent forces that seem more interested in keeping their billions than in moving the country forward. They also seem more interested in not addressing many of our key global interests like climate change, getting our national security balance and costs right, supporting arms control and non-proliferation, and least of all, helping the poorest nations and the growing gap between the very rich and the poor to change.
America and Americans have a stark choice. We can either in these next three years help President Obama and our other leaders address our needs and our responsibilities at home and abroad or we can dither, decline, and become inured to the plight of our own people and their needs. And the Tea Party and many Republicans on the right would do the same to the growing danger signs abroad. They have no interest in addressing these issues despite a need at major a effort to rethink our national security instruments and policies and our international landscape.
All this cries out for leadership, added resources and greater cooperation with other nations and in strengthening and reforming the United Nations and other international institutions to address better issues like environmental decay, health care, increasing our capability of stopping conflicts and genocide, slavery, terrorism, hunger and working to advance human rights and democracy. The Tea party would walk away from a functioning U.S. government and they would walk equally away from America acting as a force for a more decent world as well.
So the struggle for America’s soul is not over. This was only the opening salvo and a great debate should ensue as to what America is about and what is our role in the 21st century to ensure we give to our children a safer more fair world so they don’t have to endure the stupidities that we have just gone through.
We welcome your comments!