An interesting post from Thomas P. M. Barnett today titled Column 116 got me thinking about the conflict / economics correlations.
What resurrecting Cold War with Russia costs us The West’s re-demonetization of Russia is in full swing, with aging advocates barely able to conceal their glee in resurrecting the “good old days.” It’s a sad commentary on our grand strategic thinking that we so blithely add back the Cold War to our already full plate of global security interests. We were tapped before Russia and Georgia went at it: witness Bush’s efforts to “sue for peace” with every rogue regime out there. Now we’re making ourselves more strategically irrelevant than ever, because a military superpower that takes on all to defend all is too easily exhausted and thus more feasibly defeated by smaller powers.
While the US is decidedly not in a good position for any new engagements at the moment, the prospect of a new cold war does bring to mind the correlation of conflict and economics. The current engagement in Iraq, like the engagement in Vietnam, is unpopular with many Americans. This lack of support has broken the pattern of improved economics come with conflict and military spending.
If a new conflict, such as a cold war, where to promote a sense of nationalism, a conflict that the population would support (in the 80% approval range), we could see a tremendous surge in the economy in as little as one year. Huge increases in military spending to contractors for equipment and R&D, 100,000 plus new jobs. This kind of bloodless paranoid saber rattling can be good for a nations economy.
All of this begs the question, “Are the American people still willing to pursue anything as one nation?”. Does any sense of nationalism sill exist in the population as a whole? The answer to this question would shed light on many other issues as well.
Could a sense of nationalism save America or has the population become so ideologically divided that it can no long agree on something as basic pride in country.