That's the thing. The US has NEVER been an utopia that somehow reached it's zenith only to start declining. The country was founded by white wealthy land owners taking advantage of the conflicts between England, France, and Spain that were ongoing before, during, and after the US revolutionary war. The US secured it's territory by using naked force against anyone who got in the way. That included the native Americans, Mexicans, France, and of course England. There has not been one single year since it's founding when it was not engaged in some sort of military action in defense of it's interests somewhere in the world. The late 1800's and early 1900's were dominated by a select few with monopolies that dwarf anything seen in recent times and worker rights were non-existent. The 20's saw the great depression. The 40's were dominated by WW2. The 50's saw the Korean war, nuclear war paranoia, and the cold war. The 60's were dominated by racial upheaval and the Vietnam War. The 70's were consumed with a stagnant economy, declining manufacturing, Iranian hostage crisis, and the OPEC boycott. The 80's ushered in Junk Bonds, unrestrained and largely unregulated Wall Street mechanization's, dire warnings of the Japanese dominance surpassing the US, and the Iranian-contra affair. These are just some of the problems the US has faced in it's history. There has never been some golden age when the US was problem free so talks of decline really have no basis in reality.
The US isn't losing it's importance or power. It's just taken 70+ years for all the countries devastated in WW2 to recover from the deep wounds the US was fortunate enough to avoid to it's domestic infrastructure. The world will work better with a little more balance but to achieve that balance the US needs to stop carrying the lions share of the global security responsibilities. The US funding of the UN and NATO is excessive and needs to be scaled back to a more equitable arrangement if not abandoned altogether since neither of those organizations provide any real benefits today. The US has had to put up with a lot of criticism from countries that have benefited from relations with the US but they have not used any of those benefits to help anyone but themselves. Europe has been able to free load on US military security agreements which has allowed them to divert resources to benefit only themselves. Those constantly complaining about US military bases around the world have misinterpreted the reason those bases exist in the first place. They are a another relic of the aftermath of WW2. None of those US military bases are capable of fending off serious attacks against the countries willingly hosting them. The bases primary mission has always been to serve as a trip wire to guarantee Americans will die thus forcing the US to commit enough resources to assist the country being attacked. The soldiers manning those bases serve as human sacrifices to ensure the US will end up helping defend countries that frankly are not worth even the death of 1 US soldier. The US has no true or even capable allies who would ever consider putting their soldiers in harms way to help protect the US in the same way. It's hard enough just to get countries to fulfill their obligations to protect US Embassies. So the US needs to remove those bases and protections they provide and give the world a desperately needed wake up call on the dangers that still exist in the world today so they can continue working on improving their countries without the safety blanket they have taken for granted for so many years. The US is the only country on the planet with the ability to deploy sizable military resources any where in the world if needed and it doesn't need bases on foreign soil to do so if it's only goal is the protection of narrowly defined US interests. The US has closed it's bases every time they have been asked to do so by the host country without exception. (Iraq, Ecuador, and the Philippines are some recent examples) If the world does not want US military bases all they have to do is say so. The sooner they do so the sooner they can get on with strengthening their sovereignty in the real world.
Prove it. Give me your reasons using the historical record for your source of information. Wars are definitely planned but who are the ones doing the planning? Who are the ones initiating the provocations based on the belief that no one will call their bluff.
There has been no definitive proof of US involvement just as there was no proof of US and Israeli culpability for the Stuxnext attack but if they were responsible they certainly owe no one any apologies. In this new incident there is a lot of hysterical rhetoric, conjecture, theories, possibilities, and absolutely no hard evidence. Sounds like an open and shut case. And of course all these security researchers are apolitical angels who would never have any specific agenda to push. The security agencies in Russia and China must be feeling terribly insulted because it is automatically assumed they are too stupid to keep up with the real masters of the electronic universe. But since they always get the benefit of the doubt on every possible action they are accused of it should not surprise anyone.
The international space station would have never got off the ground without the US. And the EU is comprised of independent states that rarely agree on anything of importance let alone anything that has to do with military or basic state security decisions. And it doesn't matter how much money you spend on the military you still need the balls and leadership to actually use whatever arms you are making or buying. Outside of England there is not a single European country the US should feel obligated to assist in the event of war. That basically goes for just about every other country in the world except for Canada and possibly Mexico since they actually border the US and Canada actually takes turns with the US when manning the NORAD facilities. And England has shown the willingness to support the US most of the time ever since the end of WW2 so they can still be considered capable and worthy allies. I cannot think of any other state that even comes close to being a US allie. And moral or political support is meaningless when everyone knows that is all they are offering the US. The international communities have made their disdain for the US very clear so lets grant their wishes and let them take care of things. I am sure they will enjoy and prosper under a Russian and Chinese hegemony. They will soon discovery their vaunted social entitlement states can no longer meet it's domestic obligations and provide a credible defense force at the same time. The human race is no where near abandoning warfare no matter how many people fantasize about it. Until, if ever, that changes any state wanting to preserve it's sovereignty will need military capabilities. Conflict, competition, and territorial ambitions have existed since there were enough cavemen to form up sides and beat each other over the head with clubs and knives to secure better caves, hunting grounds, and women. Almost every human on the planet is descended from the people who fought across Europe, Russia, Persia, China, Japan, India, England, North and South America, the middle east, Africa, and damn near every other place in the world since the dawn of human civilization. That behavior is ingrained in our DNA and all the passionate political and social movements in the world is not going to nullify the basic drive for survival built into the human race when push comes to shove.
That's the paradox. Almost all of our fundamental scientific knowledge was created in someones mind at very little cost. It's the implementation of those concepts that cost a lot of money. And while a lot of people will never admit it the vast majority of technology advancements have come from the money spent on military applications. The multistage rockets that got the US to the moon also provided the technology to develop ICBM's. Nuclear weapon development advanced the underlying understanding on how to reliably harness the power of the atom outside of the laboratory. The atrociously expensive B-2 bomber program resulted in the development and use of electrogravitic technology resulting in the first real life application of technology that can actually manipulate gravity at a very low level. It is by no means anywhere near anti-gravity but it does represent a fundamental first step in understanding how gravity can be manipulated in the future. Lightweight EMP shielding for computer electronics slated for military applications can also be applied to protect sensitive computer components and electronics outside of the atmosphere without the heavy and high density shielding currently being used. The Internet started out life as a DARPA military research project in distributed node computing to protect against an attack from taking down the entire military electronic communications grid in the event of a nuclear attack. The F-35 development program is using computer technology that is years ahead of anything available in the commercial market place. The helmet the pilot wears comes damn close to being able to accept commands directly from the pilots brain to compliment commands interpreted by the HUD using eye movements. The US Navy military laser and rail gun systems utilize revolutionary power storage and delivery systems that could have a big impact in all kinds of commercial technology products. GPS technology was originally a military funded project that is now used for all types of commercial services. The US Air force funded X-37B space plane has displayed remarkable abilities when it comes to mastering orbital navigation capabilities. Although I don't understand why Russia and China have not made a bigger issue of this particular US program. While China and Russia may be trying to improve their AST weapons the US has the ability to destroy, subvert, or even move any satellite they want even in the high orbits were most of the highly sensitive military satellites are deployed. The US Navy is developing the technology to convert sea water into fuel and the ground based military has been developing, testing, and actually deploying solar powered command tents with advanced battery technology on the battlefield to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Now I don't want to promote war just to see technology advancements but at least a lot of the money in the bloated military budget does eventually advance civilian technology.
Except the earth does not have an endless supply of things to mine. We are working with finite resources that will be exhausted even faster by the ever growing world population. The newest mining technologies is what has increased the US energy production but even these technologies have some serious consequences if taken to far.
Every attempt to escape Earth's gravity well, every satellite placed in orbit, every trip to the moon, every science package launched into space, every orbital space station placed in orbit, every lander sent to Mars, and all the other space engineering research and theoretical physics research being conducted by some of the brightest minds on the planet will eventually lead to the new ideas and technologies needed to successfully mine asteroids, colonize the solar system, and expand space exploration. The vast majority of the resulting technologies and capabilities will not be seen within our lifetimes but eventually it will happen if we can refrain ourselves from blowing up the planet. People have become spoiled with all our supposedly rapid advances in technology and expect something revolutionary every week but the fact is that our science and technological understanding has not really advanced all that much over the past 1000 years. We have just been expanding and making real the scientific theories and technological ideas that were first documented many years ago. We have just moved into the stage where we can start building the tools needed to build the tools needed to actually realize the scientific ideas and theories presented hundreds if not thousands of years ago. If anything todays scientists are lagging behind their forefathers because Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton didn't need nuclear colliders, super computers, and space based telescopes to figure out the universe around them during their times. Those guys had to contend with the religious doctrines standing in the way of progress in their times but today the greatest danger to progress is the risk adverse society being built before our eyes. Rockets blow up, space shuttles crash, and people die and all anyone can focus on is looking for someone to blame and condemn. Never mind that the people killed in these accidents knew exactly what risks they were taking and willingly and most often enthusiastically decided the risk was acceptable and in some cases down right desirable just for the incredible rush involved in strapping your ass on top of a big missile and getting launched into orbit.
Competent system administration, service pack management, e-mail security measures, effective firewall administration, and strictly enforced limitations on what an employee can access via the internet can substantially reduce the impact of even the most serious application related exploits. The majority of malware today uses social engineering as it's attack vector but there are ways to prevent this in any company willing to invest in employee training and creating specific guidelines that even the most computer illiterate employee can understand. Most employees do not need unrestricted access to the Internet to do their jobs. Even companies using outgoing/incoming keyword blocking, black lists, white lists, and domain blocking at the firewall level are often to liberal and never updated fast enough to keep up with the fast paced and ever changing threat environment. If a particular internet site or service is needed by the employees those sites can be evaluated by a knowledgeable IT security professional to determine the risk of allowing employee access.
Stuxnext actually required someone to infiltrate (most likely an Iranian asset being paid by the US or Israel) the physical plant to insert a thumb drive to infect the Iranian nuclear centrifuge laboratory network. Not to mention physically breaking in to 2 companies in adjacent office parks located in Japan to steal the security certificates that were used in in conjunction with a Windows 0-day exploit to unleash Stuxnext. That is an extreme example but allowing employees to plug in their own USB or other external devices into corporate network is stupidity of the highest order since that would allow any malware or viruses to completely bypass any of the border security measures. And a big part of proper system administration is putting any internally developed applications under a microscope before pushing them into a production environment geared for public use. Developers are notorious for thinking the application standards and security practices do not apply to them since they think know what they are doing. Application development managers are notorious for cutting corners after incorrectly planning and managing internal development projects. Most of the operating systems today are about as secure as they can be and still be able to actually run applications. Especially legacy applications that would not work under a new security paradigm because even the most aggressive sand boxing schemes have exploitable weaknesses. If a company does require the use of the internet communication infrastructure they should require, without exception, that only VPN connections be used. Network access and activity logs should be scrutinized by configurable automated utilities to raise warning flags as soon as possible if suspicious traffic or activities are detected. But even all these common sense precautions will not stop a determined and well funded organization from attempting to exploit your systems. However it does make it harder and a lot more expensive to attempt. It also makes the exploit attempts more noticeable. The various international security agencies can place human assets inside any company they want to facilitate their activities and that tactic is almost impossible to counter since all national security services of note can manufacture identification documents and employee backgrounds that will hold up under any scrutiny a company or government may employ during the hiring process. You can bet that every major internet company such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, MS, Yahoo, Cisco, Intel, Mozilla, Apple, Nokia, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Samsung, and all the other similar companies have intelligence agents from various nations embedded in their staffs. It's the easiest and cheapest way to guarantee access to whatever they want. Outside of real time signal intelligence monitoring operations in areas of immediate interest around the world placing human assets on the inside of these companies is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective means of bypassing security precautions and gathering all the information they want.
A couple of things from the article. The lawmakers already look like idiots to anyone with a pulse. 1.7 million dollars is an insignificant rounding error when it comes to government spending. If there was a shred of real concern about the welfare of the country and it's citizens or a smidgen of honor in evidence every single congressman and representative would have turned in their immediate resignations and proposed special elections where anyone previously holding any electoral position is barred from running. The country doesn't need them. They are an embarrassment and the number one cause of the problems they all pretend to care about. They contribute absolutely nothing positive to the running of the country and have came very close to crossing the line once known as treason due to their ineptness and conscious decision making. Left, Right, or Center groups are all equally culpable in the current madness. Any idealistic individuals and freshman members in the legislative branch lose what little spine they have as soon as they assume office and shift all their efforts to getting reelected and not solving any problems. On the Judicial side of things there are already enough laws on the books to maintain order until a fresh legislature is elected and installed. The President can represent the US in international affairs and continue playing the domestic figure head role and remain commander in chief and the documented executive powers for any problems that popup during the transition. And frankly with over 6000 nuclear warheads in the US arsenal located in the continental US and deployed on various platforms across the world the "homeland" is pretty fucking safe. Let the rest of the world deal with their own problems for a change. Given enough time the ME will burn itself to the ground. Especially if the US no longer attempts to prevent Israel from finally putting an end to threats surrounding them once and for all. Threats the US would and actually have squashed since it's founding. Russia can reclaim it's eastern European protectorates and the western European countries can get by the best they can which judging by the last 1500 years of history does not present a rosy future. As to your statement of being stuck in the ME because of oil you might want to come out of the basement and get some fresh air. US reliance on ME oil supplies have been shrinking drastically for over 20 years. Most of the US involvement in the ME was on trying to maintain stable global market pricing which not only was good for the US but for all the other countries familiar with the internal combustion engine. Now the US can influence and stabilize global energy prices by managing it's own domestic production. US imports from SA were severely but not totally eliminated in order to sell military hardware to SA and be in a position to retain some influence in the region. The US can more than survive on it's own energy resources bolstered by imports from countries such as Canada and Mexico. It is Europe and the South East Asian countries who are almost 100% dependent on the ME for their energy needs not the US. And it is the ME countries who are 100% dependent on their oil exports to sustain their countries such as they are. Without profitable oil sales they will be back to sharing tents with their camels in the desert and start running dangerously low on AK-47 ammunition.
Questioning things is perfectly OK but at least keep your questioning within the boundaries of reality. There is a serious tendency today for people to argue for and support possibilities that are so far out on the edge of reason that it renders those arguments irrelevant to anyone with half a brain. It is not hard to locate web sites that promote ridiculous assumptions in "echo chambers" that allow idiots to use the number of "likes" from their like minded morons as proof. And I suggest you do a little research on how heat seeking missile systems actually work. There are plenty of apolitical technology sites that can clue you in before you continue making a fool of yourself with idiotic statements. Also include the fact that no one was allowed access to the crash site until after those responsible for firing the missile could sanitize the site in an attempt to remove as much evidence as possible of their crime. The sanitation started when the Ukrainian rebels removed their web postings celebrating the downing of what they declared was a military aircraft. And don't forget the pictures taken of the Buk missile battery photographed scurrying back to Russia missing one of the 4 missiles installed on the mobile launch platform. The really annoying thing is the US could without a doubt provide irrefutable proof of what happened in the form of satellite imagery and communication intercepts but that would require revealing their true capabilities when it comes to detecting ground based military dispositions from orbit. And if you really want to speculate you could entertain the idea that the US could do the same thing with the MH370 commercial airliner that went down and has not been found yet. However, once again, to do so would have given China information on US surveillance capabilities in that region. And chances are good the Chinese could have most likely did the same thing but they also don't want to advertise their capabilities in that region.
Actually a great many Europeans who were fleeing the cesspool of Europe fought on the winning side of the US civil war. Says quite a lot that immigrants right off the boats were willing to line up in rows across open fields and take turns firing at each rather than continue living in Europe. And don't confuse inept troops with the inept politicians who force them to fight with one hand tied behind their backs. And can you provide any actual facts that support your friendly fire accusations? If not I suggest you try a little harder to hide your stupidity.
The EU uses a mafia style shakedown program against not only against US companies but any successful international companies who have the temerity of being successful. It's time those countries with true power to give them a glimpse of the potential downsides of their actions. We can kick things off by sending them a bill for US military services to be paid in advance. And their demonstrated incompetence in dealing with Russia will only guarantee they will need those services in the not so distant future the way things are currently progressing. To be fair and reasonable we can offer them a 5% discount if they make their payment within 90 days. Limit US NATO financial support to 10% of the total and just give them an 800 number to call in the event of an emergency. Pull all US military personnel and equipment since they have needed the US military presence in order to reduce their military budgets to fund their liberal welfare payments to the entitlement generation who consider working more than 15 hours a week as a violation of their human rights. National governments in every country are bad enough but leave it to the Europeans to create an entirely new tier of worthless bureaucracy that has contributed nothing to it's member countries let alone provide any united domestic and international leadership when it comes to advancing their member countries interests. And has anyone ever asked where the billions of dollars extorted from foreign corporations has ended up?
Looking at the big picture the US still leads in anything that really matters. And that is not some type of rah-rah bullshit. The space station has served it's purpose and contrary to popular belief the US has had a reusable X-37 space craft up and running for over 5 years now. The kind of program that makes ASAT weapons old tech while giving the US the ability to take out any satellite they want to. The US space program has put multiple landers on Mars and has had probes traveling through the solar system for many years. And for all the morons crowing about the US debt keep in mind that China only owns about 4% of outstanding US debt in the form of bonds and securities and they cling to it because it's the safest place to stash large sums of cash because the return on investment beats the hell out of internal Chinese investments. And if things become tight the US can just repatriate the cash and assets from the welfare countries in Europe. The new energy marketplace dynamics are about to make the ME and Russia irrelevant to the US energy needs. Let China or any other country that has been freeloading on US protection start paying to protect their oil and gas supplies. Let Europe get down on their knees and give Putin a nice juicy blowjob since they have zero soft or hard power without US support which they have taken for granted and certainly not footed any of the costs for. And finally let the US take the leash off of Israel and let them finish the job they should have been allowed to do back in 1967 or 1973. It's way past time for the US to limit it's international involvement and really start serving their own needs with no apologies and let everyone else fend for themselves. After all when is the last time the world has did anything to help the US in any meaningful manner? Let's see how the world looks after the "empire" tells everyone else to go pound sand and when they need any military services they need to prepay the invoice before any services are rendered. And limit any state sponsored humanitarian concerns and relief efforts to domestic US interests since there certainly has never been any return on investment in that particular area.
I hasn't been modded up because it is total BS. The US wanted total surrender not some half ass surrender which just postpones war until the losing side re-arms. Like today's never ending military conflicts perpetuated by those who decry war only to ensure the wars continue unabated. Today's half ass wars are the result of accepting pseudo surrenders which all but guarantee the wars never ends.