The demise of defense is an historic opportunity as well as an inevitability. Managed the right way, it could lead to better peace and security, for example, by breaking us of our habit of seeing everything as threats and throwing money at them.
In Obama's second term, there will be some things that can and should be fixed, while others will have to await their time. Obama will have to choose wisely, because his chances will be narrow and his political capital is limited -- unless we afford him more.
Sequestration notwithstanding, the whole polemic about peace, national security, and defense needs a fresh approach, not just because our old modus operandi no longer works -- we simply can't afford it anymore.
Maddow succeeds in explaining, in a charmingly non-wonkish way, how we got ourselves to our current state of affairs -- the unhealthy distortion of our time-honored yet taken-for-granted civil-military relationship.
The "rise of the rest," which has been going for more than a half a century, is the product of how successful a job the United States has done as Chairman of the Board of Planetary Management. We are victims of our own success, having globalized everything but ourselves.
When you look at the world and see hundreds of millions of idle, unemployed, and estranged youth who feel -- as the punks of a previous generation chanted -- they have "no future, no future," some pretty big things are going to happen.
Change is coming, but we may choose once again to get in our own way. As with most of the cuts, legislators didn't have to cry too loud about defense because those cuts (related to the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) are coming anyway.
As we reflect on this moment, it is worth remembering our moral power is even more relevant in this century than the last -- our foreign policy and national security structures must finally reflect this.
As Kennedy realized, we would be wise to strike a more conscientious balance between builders and artists -- both of which we will need to secure our place in a safe and prosperous world for generations to come.