Saturday, August 06, 2005

America Shrugged

Who is John Galt?

This was the enduring question that Dagny Taggert had to answer in the epic masterpiece by Ayn Rand called "Atlas Shrugged". For those of you who have not yet read this remarkable book I won't delve into the details other than to borrow the main premise for a literary exercise (experiment) I have been comptemplating.

When Atlas shrugged the productive world came tumbling down and with it prosperity and well being of an entire nation. Simply put, the industrialists and enterpenuers, the movers and the shakers who built, developed and put a nation to work suddenly quit. This left the "looters" and "do gooders" to manage an economy and a nation without the vision and energy of the best and the brightest.

What if America Shrugged? What if America withdrew from the world stage? What if we became another Switzerland? What would happen to the order of things? And who would stand against the tide of evil regimes?

America Shrugged - Part 1

Washington Post Jan 30th 2013

(AP) dateline Washington DC

President Smith in his first national news conference has announced that the United States will begin a phased withdrawl of all American troops from bases around the world. The pullout from Europe began under President George W. Bush will be accelerated to be completed by the end of 2014. The status of NATO is unclear in light of this change in policy. The President said he would address the European-American alliance in the near future. The reaction from European officials has been muted, however, local politicians fear economic collapse with the sudden closing of American military bases.

American troops in South Korea will be reduced and then eliminated by the end of 2015. In Iraq only specialists and logistical military staff will remain indefinately, combat troops will return to American soil beginning immediately. The same will be true in Afghanistan.

The infamous military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be closed immediately. This is sure to cause cheers from civil libertarians around the world who have used the Cuban base as a symbol of American hypocrisy.

Elsewhere, American troops and military support personel will return to American shores from around the globe with many being redeployed along the southern border...


New York Times Op/Ed Feb1 2013
(excerpt from Editor in Chief Thomas L. Freidman's Friday column)

... as an advocate for American leadership in the quest for global harmony and cooperation I applaud Mr.Smith's bold move to remove the impediment to sustainable understanding in the form of American troops dotting the global landscape. However, one can't just pull the plug without certain desirable qualities going down the drain with the waste water. Mr. Smith, by demonstrating the willingness to be bold, is telling the world it's time to cover your own back. There's no telling if the fat and comfortable nations of the West are willing to do it, or if the poor and weak nations can - even if they want to. It's a risky move, but I must lean 51% to 50% in favor...


New York Times Feb 15th 2013

dateline New York

America's UN Ambassador JC Watts announced today that the United States will relinquish its permanent spot on the UN Security Council. This move, he said, should put an end to the criticism the US has faced over the years as a road block to world peace by wielding its veto power over European peace initiatives. Speculation that the vacated seat will be given to India has caused Pakistan and Iran to recall their respective ambassadors...


Wall Street Journal Saturday Mar 2 2013

dateline Washington DC

Admistration officials announced this morning that the United States government will discontinue entering into any new contracts and loan arrangements within the World Bank infrastructure. All current contracts will be honored in full, but future dealings will be backed by private banks and financial institutions. Financial markets are expected to react negatively when trading resumes Monday. Reaction from Europe and Asia has been harsh, citing American responsibilty to poorer nations that rely on the World Bank will not end.

Also announced today was the unexpected withdrawl of the US from the contrversial IMF (International Monetary Fund). The IMF is the international organization entrusted with overseeing the global financial system by monitoring foreign exchange rates and balance of payments. The US will abide by decisions made by the IMF but will cease to have any direct involvement with IMF policy making...


New York Times Op/Ed Mar5 2013
(excerpt from Senoir Economist Emeritis Prof. Paul Krugman's Tuesday guest column)

... the end of America's imperialist monetary policies will undoubtably send the global economy into the stratosphere. Without American right-wing conservatives meddling in the good works of the World Bank- demanding loans be repaid - and roiling the waters encircling the IMF the social democracies of Europe can move forward with fair and equitable loan forgiveness for less fortunate nations. The Smith administration may not have a clue that a policy designed to head off the stinging criticism of American economic hegemony might actually bring about good things for the global economy...


Los Angeles Times April 1 2013

dateline Washington DC

President Smith wasted no time signing his first major policy initiative into law after the House and Senate conference commitee sent the "America First National Energy Stategic Initiative" to his office in the wee hours of the morning. President Smith declared this the first step into true energy independence for America.

Part of the controversial policy dictates that all oil, coal or natural gas pulled from the ground from American soil or American territorial waters be sold domestically first. Unsold inventory may be sold internationally. This along with historic agreements with Canada to tap massive oil reserves in Alberta and to jointly build a trans-Canadian pipeline to the US is being touted as a economic and strategic boon for both nations. This new pipeline will also succeed in connecting the Alaskan oil fields directly to the continental US. In addition, seven new state of the art refineries will be greenlighted without the usual environmental impact studies that have been known to take years. Critics see environmental and economic disaster looming for both nations. The controversial law is phased in over 10 years to avoid major shocks in current global energy markets. OPEC has threatened reprisals which has only bolstered President Smith's argument for weening America's dependance on Middle Eastern oil supplies.

In contrast the President and Congress are being praised for their forward looking commitment to research and development into alternative energy sources. Calling it the "Energy Manhattan Project" President Smith is charging American scientists with a monumental task of developing the model for America's energy base for the second half of the 21st century...


Miami Herald May 10 2013

dateline Cape Canaveral, Florida

NASA director Ellen Ochoa announced today that NASA will cease all operations at the International Space Station. Since the grounding of the shuttle fleet in 2005 and subsequent failures of new launch vehicles the ISS has been largely manned by Russian and European astronauts using American equipment and supplies.

"NASA will no longer be a partner in the ISS," said Ochoa at Thursday's press conference. "Our budgets are tight and we feel we can better utilize our resources for our unmanned space exploration programs. " European and Russian critics predict the demise of the ISS without US support and call on President Smith to reverse the decision. There was no comment from the White House Thursday...

New York Times Op/Ed May 17 2013
(excerpt from Lifestyle Editor Maureen Dowd's Friday column)

...If Ellen Ochoa were not a woman I would suspect NASA's announcement that it was abandoning the International Space Station another example of the typical male trait (although I suspect the testosterone laden Smith administration was actually behind the policy shift) of abandoning a faithful partner when times get hard. In this macho nation we have seen the poor and a the weak suffer when the "boys" fall on hard times. Sure the ISS is just a multi-billion dollar toy for scientists and adventurers but it may as well be a metaphore for the way American men runaway from their responsibilities at the slightest notion that the carefree fun has gone out of the relationship...


Boston Globe June 2 2013

dateline Washington DC

Administration officials, who have been hinting that foreign aid payments would be coming to an end have made it official this morning. Fulfilling one of his most popular pledges during last fall's 'America First' campaign President Smith signed an executive order designed to phase out foreign aid payments to all reciepient nations by 2019.

Nations hardest hit will be in the Middle East. Israel, Egypt and the fledgling nation Palestine, all receiving billions in aid will lose the most. Critics on the left and the right are predicting a boomerang effect causing increased strife in poorer nations and more illegal immigration here. The President reiterated again at the post signing Q&A that it is unconscionable that a nation trillions of dollars in debt should be giving its money away abroad when the right thing to do is take care of America first.

Israel strongly condemned the action by the US President. Prime Minister Sabin warned the the fragile peace in the region would be shattered...


Minneapolis StarTribune Editorial June 5 2013
(excerpt from the unsigned editorial)

...on one hand it's about time and on the other it's foolish beyond words. Take Israel, this rich and powerful nation has repeatedly held down a people and now a nation with billions in American taxpayer money. It's about time the US stopped feeding the Israeli war machine. However, can anyone expect a fragile new born nation to stand on its own without the support of others? How is Palestine supposed to stabilize and begin to prosper without American aid? Not even the United States was without benefactors at its inception...


Stay Tuned for Part 2 of America Shrugged - The Aftermath


Kira Zalan said...

Nice blog...

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