I think a lot of what we fear as a country: instability, rebellion, overtaking by another military power, assassination of our leaders, are things whose importance are overstated in this day and age. They come from an earlier time when borders were more likely to change and when peace was only seen as the time between wars to gather up your strength and try again.
Before I go on, I should like to point out that I realize these kinds of fears may still be valid for smaller countries, but I don’t think they apply to larger and more stable first world countries such as the US.
So one of the things I’ve been thinking about is this: what exactly would represent an existential threat to the US, something that has the capability of destroy or severely wounding this country and changing it for the worse?
Of course, many things are things we cannot change or affect by ourselves to a great degree. Economic changes, the price of gas, worldwide inflation, an earthquake and tsunami in one of our biggest trading partners, etc. Those aren’t the things I’m looking for.
Nukes and nuclear technology seems to me to represent the biggest no-brainer of an existential threat. A small suitcase of it could level blocks. A rogue country could take out a major city with one missile.
That’s obvious, but are there anything else that really represent as big of a threat? I got the idea for this topic reading the many discussion topics on things like the Chinese military, or Mid-East terrorism, and I have to tell you, I just don’t feel it. I don’t care if China gets an aircraft carrier. So what? We have tons more, and with better technology and more experienced people piloting them. Plus, I completely rule out the possibility of a war with China in the next few decades. Its stupid, both sides would lose terribly, any victory would be Pyhrric.
And although terrorists changed the US on 9/11, its only made us stronger and more militaristic. Even of Al Qaeda crashed planes into a dozen buildings, the US can afford to lose a few thousand or tens of thousands of our citizens and survive. It would be horrific, of course, but it would not be an existential threat, which is one of the reasons why I thought our response was disproportionate (ie. we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq).
In this modern era, when the first world countries are less interested in conquering and taking colonies and more interested in establishing good relations and trade, I don’t see anything other than nukes that really represent a threat to the whole country. Therefore, I’m unworried if China spends more on their military. Who cares? They’re not a threat and we’re not going to war with them. Let Russia fall back into a sort of dictatorship, we’re not interested in fighting them either. They’ll be too busy trying to prevent the EU and NATO from taking their former eastern bloc countries.
I mentioned up in the first paragraph about instability, rebellion, and assassination. While unfortunate it may be for one of our leaders to get killed, this isn’t the era of monarchies anymore, there are no kings. If one leader falls we have clear succession to take their place, and so long as the next guy isn’t Palin, we’ll be fine. Hell, we survived Bush torturing brown people and leaking secret CIA operatives’ identities, we’ll survive an assassination or two. Rebellion might be the popular thing nowadays, especially with the Tea Baggers crying about paying too little in taxes compared to the higher amounts they paid under Reagan (oops, I mean they think we’re paying too much nowadays! :rolleyes: ), but nothing like the Civil War’s going to happen anytime soon.
So is there anything else I’m missing? We’re safe, other than if nukes fall into the wrong hands, right?