I am sure somewhere on the interwebhinterland there is no shortage of neocenterrightwarmongering outrage at Mr. Putin’s letter to Mr. Trump that His Excellency (Putin’s words, not mine and the funniest thing I’ve read this month) released this morning.
There is a lot enamel gnashing, ash slathering, garment tearing, and hand wringing because Mr. Trump has not automatically singled out Russia as a sworn enemy. Rather, His Excellency has chosen Islam as a target of indignation. To date I am challenged to dispute this strategy. By last count Muslims have killed more Americans than the Russians have though the Chechen judge has yet to weigh in on scumbag team Tsarnev.
I am vintage 67 and grew up during the end of the cold ware where Russia = USSR = Bad. During my youth that was correct and addressed appropriately by President Reagan. President Reagan is rightly credited with helping the downfall of the USSR with few (any?) shots fired. How did our Hollywood President achieve such a feat? He defeated them economically.
That was a different time and different America. Two key factors differentiate then and now. Labor force participation rate and national debt:GDP
When Mr. Reagan took office our labor force participation rate was a lowly 64%. When he retired from office it had risen to 65.9%. Mr. Trump will take the office with this critical measure declining below 63%. The total debt to GDP when Mr. Reagan placed his hand on the Bible was 31%. Mr. Trump will take the solemn oath with the ratio greater than 100%. Mr. Trump’s America is not Mr. Reagan’s.
America remains a superpower for only two reasons: a prolific, but deteriorating nuclear arsenal and still the largest dollar denominated GDP on earth. The reality of our ability to project power globally is inhibited by the lack of productivity in our economy as a result of anemic labor participation and crippling debt:GDP ratio. Who won the election matters little. Nobody would have the resources available required to make a firm stand against a 2nd world nuclear superpower. We chose welfare and weakness over self reliance and superpower.
Pretending we are going toe to toe with Russia, China, or any other nuclear nation is a fool’s errand in our economic condition. We will be much better off trading with communists and tyrants than waging war against them.
Given the reality of our chosen condition I am having a hard time being outraged by this letter or His Excellency’s response. I am definitely having a laugh over ‘His Excellency’. So we have that going for us.