History doesn’t repeat itself, but people do. And since people use language, I wonder if post-Bin Laden, Americans will be hearing two phrases from recent history that now have new relevance.

1. Peace dividend. Remember 20 years ago when the Cold War ended? Now that that Soviet Union had been vanquished, all that money we were spending on defense would be less necessary and we could redirect our budgets toward domestic priorities. It was a nice sentiment, but it never really materialized. Perhaps now is the moment. After several trillion dollars of spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after making the entire world safer, maybe Americans will get a 21st century peace dividend — and use the funds at home to tackle education, infrastructure, and the national debt.

2. Morning in America. Two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that 70% of Americans believed that the country was heading in the wrong direction. Bin Laden’s demise will no doubt improve that number in the short term. But in the long-term, it might reboot American confidence more deeply — and as a result, deliver a low-cost economic stimulus. Remember: At this point in Ronald Reagan’s term, the US was on the ropes. But after taking on that era’s bear in the woods and seeing the economy tick upward, a year later it was “morning again in America.

6 Responses to “Will we now hear two phrases from the past?”

  1. Fred Leo says:

    Daniel,

    I would love for the U.S. to get that elusive peace dividend, but latest war in Libya has shown that America is addicted to foreign interventions. It doesn’t matter if the Republicans are in power, or the Democrats, both parties will find conflicts to get us involved in.

  2. Brahm Memone says:

    I am just an observer from Canada. History has shown that the USA has been in many conflicts globally since the second world war – Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War the Middle east (and now Libya) and many more . . .

    It’s an addiction to power play and we just need to wait awhile before the USA will find another intervention to engage in. Far too much money is involved in the Military–industrial complex. And the parties who make money off this have a ten year cycle at max for major global offensive. . . .
    Let’s wait and see . .

  3. Me thinks Mr. Pink is naive to think that a “peace dividend” is on the way. Remember this: the real parasites of this society are not teachers and public workers; they are organized tax-free religious institutions and the bloated military industrial complex. Until we wake up and restore some people power,we will always be paying for for these sectors with wars and conflicts.

  4. Mike Cavanaugh says:

    Daniel,

    Professor and author (and Army veteran) Andrew Bacevich has written extensively in the past decade about America’s addiction to oil and war. The tremendous amount of money and resources that support the military-industrial complex ensure that we will look to use our forces aggressively around the world. It will be impossible for the US to realize a “peace initiative” unless we change our stance on military interventionism. This is not to say that we should not intervene to save lives (e.g., Libya) … but it does raise the question: Why Iraq, Kuwait and Libya … but not Yemen, Syria and Sudan? As long as our addiction to oil causes our government to have to support leaders of questionable moral character (see, Hamid Karzai), we will not have the high ground needed to demand peace of other nations.

  5. Tom Cooper says:

    Tackle education? The problem with education is not economic! The problems with education start with the family, extend to the teacher’s unions, move up to the boards of education, and then to the federal policy makers. Throwing money at that will not help.

    I’d love to see a peace dividend, but I too am skeptical, regardless of who is in power. The core question remains – do we have moral duty to intervene in other nations? If so, what is the standard? Why Libya?

  6. History DOES repeat itself, as the man said, first as tragedy then as farce and I would say that it gets more expensive each time.

Leave a Reply