I am compelled to respond to Robert Bonney’s recent letter to the editor, where he extols President Trump’s actions to "Make America Great Again." Mr. Bonney compares America’s decline to the fall of Egypt, Persia and Rome, concluding they all failed because they didn’t take care of their own welfare, especially guarding against foreign invasion.
Although there is some truth to this, the situation is much more complicated. The U.S., like the other failed empires, has created the seeds of its own demise. I believe the current “security” crisis in the U.S. is due to an ever-expanding effort to exploit and interfere in foreign governments with little regard for the impact we have on the average people who live there.
I do not believe America’s greatest problem is immigrants, Iranians, or North Koreans. I believe it is our disregard of the less fortunate people of the world, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere. Where once we were the greatest purveyor of humanitarian aid, we now are the greatest purveyor of military aid.
We now are subject to globalization. We are no longer the greatest country in the world because more and more of the world has caught up and in some cases surpassed the advantage that we held for 50 years after World War II. On the one hand, millions of people are being displaced by factional wars in many countries. Our lack of interest to help these people; our indiscriminate bombing and killing of innocent civilians; and a long history of CIA-instigated toppling of democratically elected leaders, has created anti-American sentiment, and yes, terrorists. These are the people Mr. Bonney fears.
On the other hand, our economic base has changed dramatically as companies have sought cheaper labor in emerging countries. Our biggest failure has been to squander our great wealth in waging and financing numerous wars, instead of investing in our educational system, our infrastructure, and retraining people for jobs of the future.
The difference between Mr. Bonney and myself is that I favor American compassion, not American exceptionalism. I don’t think I am alone.