America, Abandoned On Its Own Petard?

01/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Can President-elect Obama teach an old country new tricks
... and a new mindset?

It took Pearl Harbor for America to enter WW II despite Germany and Japan having all but ravaged its enemies. It took the Cuban missile crisis for America to risk nuclear war even after many countries had fallen to Communist totalitarianism. It took 9/11 for America to take terrorism and the enemy across an ocean seriously enough to wage an all out war while other countries and continents have been living with that reality for decades.

Before that America slept just as Britain had prior to WWII (and was written about by John F. Kennedy when he was a college student in 1940).

Why did we sleep? Because despite Americans having espoused their lofty ideals (maybe it's a case of "the country doth protest too much"), when push came to shove perhaps it really hasn't cared about other countries unless it served our self interests. It is not lost on the global observer that yes, helping rebuild Germany and Japan may have helped them, but it also enabled America to help itself to those countries as a market for our products and services that spanned decades.

Now what if America is getting a taste of its own "your problem, not my problem" medicine from countries that we served it up to for decades (maybe even centuries)? What if just like us, they are content to let America be in the crosshairs of terrorist regimes and turn a jaundiced eye rather than roll their sleeves up and help? Why put their young men and women in harm's way, when we resisted doing the same in every international conflict until we were unable to avoid it any longer?

Bless President elect Obama and I wish him luck. He is running on all cylinders enjoining us to finally get it. It's no longer about "us" vs. "them," it has to be about "we" with "them."

Until America switches its mineset (only about America) to ourset (about the world), we will remain stuck.