I turned 60 in 2005 so technically I am not a “baby boomer” (BB). However, culturally I grew up in the BB generation. The BBs followed the “greatest generation” and in my opinion, their stewardship of world affairs has almost brought us into the brink of Armageddon. Although much of that was caused by the politics of the “military industrial complex” (MIC) that emerged after WW II, the BBs have bought into this post war policy and its legacy is with us today.
The BBs were sold a bill of goods about the so-called threat of communism and the Soviet Union. The Allies had spent 6 years to defeat fascism with the same corporate elite that had supported the rearmament of Hitler’s Germany. In their desire to isolate and defeat Soviet communism in the 1930s, these corporate militarists gave the Soviet Union a larger stake in European affairs. This was a direct result of the Red Army’s defeat of the German Army in Eastern Europe. However, Russia had lost about 25 million of its citizens in winning that battle. Politically it was impossible to change what was decided by Russia’s victory over Germany.
Although it was apparent that Russia had no designs on any more expansion and that the United States had emerged as the only real super power after the War, our corporatist leaders taught us throughout the Cold War that we were the righteous leaders of the world. In fact, the Cold War was an invention of corporate America. Tragically we learned in hindsight that there was no monolithic communism and that the “domino theory” was a myth. Any chance for post war cooperation with Russia was made impossible by the MIC. And so the BBs are the legacy of an era of propaganda about the RED BOGEYMAN.
The MIC must have been very disappointed when the Soviet Empire collapsed. However, as it happens with all empires, the remnants seem to be more problematic than the predecessor. We now know what a great thing it is to have a rational adversary such as the Soviet Union. Now we are facing many asymmetrical enemies as our power economically and militarily is declining. What will be the remnants of the dismantled American Empire? Let’s hope it is not the same as the Soviet Union. And there is time to prevent the involuntary collapse of our empire. It is up to the BBs to counteract the influence on the MIC that was given to them by “the greatest generation.”
The BBs will have to reject the sacred truths that were taught to them throughout the years and adopt a more humane and realistic view of world affairs. The old Cold War containment policy against a single enemy cannot work in a world with so many national interests. In addition, the unfettered accumulation of wealth to the few as advocated by the WTO and others will only fuel the fire for extreme nationalism and fundamentalism. Such extremism is the direct result of hopelessness and extreme poverty.
The challenge now is for the BBs to reach the age of wisdom as they begin to become elders of our society. Perhaps with the information age and more independent sources of information and the decline of the MSM we will have a chance to prevent the collapse of the American Empire and that consequence to world affairs.