Freedom. The people of Eastern Europe could finally taste it after November 9, 1989. In the next few weeks and months the Soviet Union would crumble on its rotten foundations. The Union's demise was accelerated by Reagan's policies. The U.S. would enter the 1990s as the most economically, culturally, and militarily powerful country in civilization.
The 90s would produce more than 19 million new jobs in the U.S. which is more than that were created in Europe and Japan combined. The U.S. has more billionaires than the rest of the world. The U.S., at the end of the 90s, had the highest average income in the world except for two countries; Luxembourg and San Marino which have a total population of under half a million combined. The total output of the U.S. economy was close to 10 trillion dollars. There are more U.S. dollars outside the U.S. than in the country.
Such unrivaled economic power did not always exist in the U.S. It took well over a 100 years since 1776 for the U.S. to be even considered as a major power. After WWII, most of Europe was rubble. The Soviet Union had it's eyes on Western Europe but the U.S. had the bomb. The U.S. defended Western Europe by having tens of thousands of troops stationed there. The U.S. remodeled German and Japanese societies to be democracies and stationed troops in them for insurance. Ever wonder why Japan and Germany are the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world?
The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, federalism, independent judiciary, religious tolerance, gender equality, the acceptance of Jews, and rugged individualism are the reasons for American power. However, the path to success has been painful. The Civil War almost tore apart the country in the 1860s. Almost a century later, President Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne Division to an Arkansas school to make sure that black students would be allowed to enter. Today, the freest and richest group of blacks live in the U.S.
Intellectuals considers American culture unrefined, crass, and vulgar. The majority of the world digs it. From McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Pizza Hut in deserts and cities across the globe to reruns of Friends and Disney cartoons in Hindi, Spanish, and countless other languages. A studio puts up 300 million dollars for a movie trilogy and then the world watches in amazement as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic comes alive on celluloid. Where there's a city, there's IBM, Nike, Schwarzenegger, Intel, Marlboro, Microsoft, Electronic Arts and countless other American brands.
As a result of it's colossal power, the U.S. fields the most well trained, disciplined and lethal military on Earth. In the early 90s, Saddam Hussain's immense and mediocre military was utterly crushed in Kuwait by the U.S. armed forces.
The technology used by the U.S. military is incomparable. M1A2 Abrams tanks, AH-64 Apache helicopters, F-18 Super Hornets, B-2 Spirits, Trident submarines with Trident II D-5 missiles, and 9 Nimitz-class nuclear powered super aircraft carriers are the perfect examples of such awesome technology.
What is most impressive is that the U.S. military is manned by a volunteer professional force. They volunteer to wake up in a desert in a pool of their sweat. They volunteer to embrace the stratosphere at super sonic speeds. They volunteer to spend months surrounded by hundreds of miles of ocean. They volunteer to leave a life of leisure. They volunteer to leave behind their loved ones. For as long as America produces men and women like these, the U.S. will remain the preeminent nation for decades to come.
August 14, 2004.