I was stunned by Robert Gates’ statement about American Power. He said “AMERICA CAN BE A SUPERPOWER OR A WELFARE STATE, BUT NOT BOTH!”
Reagan knew that American global power begins at home. If we have learned anything, its that history didn’t end in 1989. The American’s role as a global leader requires its ability to project power. The imminent conflict is between the politics that underwrites the policies of the Executive and the Congressional understanding of American power.
The reality is not hard to understand, even though most politicians in Washington never admit it: the entitlement state is crowding out national defense. We don’t suffer from ‘Imperial Over-reach’ as written about by Dr. Paul Kennedy. What we really have is ‘entitlement over-stretch’ as detailed by military analyst Andrew Krepinevich.
The American entitlement state was born with the New Deal, got fat and exploded with the Great Society and has exhausted itself with bailouts and quantitative easing.
The consequences for such policies will disturb the reach of American power, for the size, strength and global reach of American power is dependent on the health of domestic economy, both social and fiscal.