By the beginning of the 20th century we were builders and bankers on a par with the biggest, baddest European colonialists, with the weight and muscle to back up our supremacy.
We crested on that massive, ethically rationalized shift in power and capital known as WWII. As we rolled into the Cold War, the United States had become the Boss of the World.
Now, all that is gone. We sold our industries to the highest offshore bidders and crippled our economy with tax breaks to the rich and to corporations. We redirected tax money from the working and middle classes from education and New Deal social services into war prep and weapons production. This tax flow siphoned capital from the general population into corporate and ruling-class coffers.
We auctioned off our elections and began to erode our civil liberties. The costly defeat in Vietnam and the 1973 Arab oil embargo underscored our vulnerability while we pretended our economic collapse wasn't happening.
Gradually, we began to build back our military strong suit by demonizing communism. Yes, we still played cards at the green baize table with the international chips and the the stacked decks, but we no longer played a dominant role in the world economy.
We have degraded our work objectives from production to service to a series of short-lived bubbles — the dot.com explosion and the sub-prime real-estate fad are just two examples of the tragicomic rise and fall of phony economic boom... the bubble boom.
Now, when we elected Obama, we thought, "okay, we don't run the world anymore, but if he helps our crippled domestic well-being with a hand up to education, the environment, healthcare, and social equality, that will be enough." I never expected Obama would be in control of foreign policy but — we could enforce worldwide priorities.
In the midst of his efforts — many successful despite the worst Congressional obstruction in American history — President Obama has learned from the mess he inherited from the Bush Doctrine and the Neo Con manifesto. He has learned how to protect and serve globalization by serving the need for an endless war.
Today, despite the cost in lives, the distortion of our economy, the degradation of our morale and our integrity, we are really good at playing Cops of the World.