By Patrick Kenji Takahashi (29May08)
...and only you will have the power to provide the solution. Why you? The United States is the most powerful nation, ever. Today, and for the next generation, no other country will be anywhere close to our military and economic dominance. You will have a once in a millennium opportunity to accomplish something monumentally extraordinary, while ameliorating the global economic mega-depression that some say will soon loom from the combined hammer of Peak Oil and Global Warming.
You worry that you have a more important task at hand, which is to become POTUS (President of the U.S.)? Yes, continue that effort, but you will become the 44th POTUS.
So, on to the more important challenge, creating that ultimate legacy for the benefit of Planet Earth and Humanity. As an aside, let me say that during the past year I published two books: SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth (http://SimpleSolutionsBook1.com) and SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity (http://SimpleSolutionsBook2.com). I mention this because those publications provide both the spur and solution for you, our Nation and the World.
Our society seems to have a fatal flaw: we can't expeditiously act to prevent potential cataclysms like Peak Oil and Global Warming (let's call this PO/GW). Yes, of course, we will eventually prevail, but, by my reckoning, only after decades of agony and turmoil. There has to be a better way.
Miracle of miracles. It turns out, ironically, that PO/GW is just the catalyst you need to empower you to take those remarkable steps. There are innumerable great things you can attempt to accomplish as the POTUS. What about something so supreme as ending wars...forever?
Let us speculate that early in your presidency your close advisors tell you, Mr. President, we have a problem. We have reached Peak Oil, and the $100+/barrel oil we have will soon zoom to over $200/barrel. It seems, also, that we can't shift to coal or other fossil fuels to manufacture a liquid fuel because, yikes, Global Warming is indeed real. It's kind of too late, and you can ascribe culpability to Bush the 43rd or Congress or oil executives, but, to be honest, the masses--you and me and others--are mostly to blame. Public will is totally lacking on energy policy.
Understanding that, you and you alone can immediately orchestrate a global Manhattan/Apollo effort to minimize the coming pain. We need to spend a trillion dollars over the next few years to stimulate industry to help us remediate the almost certain crisis. This is only a fraction of what we will squander on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so the numbers are tolerable to take on this gallant mission.
So where do you find this kind of money? Ah, the Defense budget. You go to your very first G8 Nations Summit, by your declared emergency to be held at United Nations headquarters in New York City, and pronounce a Gorbachev-like bombshell: our country will reduce military spending by 10% this year, and will continue to do so for the next eight years. This scenario is described on page 65 of my Book 2. You say, we want every country to do the same, for this 10% solution is our best response to Peak Oil and Global Warming. At this stage, keep quiet about the "ending wars forever" part, as then, no one will take you too seriously.
China's knee-jerk reaction might well be, what, cut defense spending? We haven't had a chance yet to attain your level of capability. But, on afterthought, they will realize that they will only need to decrease their spending by $6 billion in Year One while the U.S. takes a $60 billion hit. Ten percent of the worldwide $1.2 trillion/year for war means that at least $120 billion/year will suddenly become available in the first year to overcome PO/GW. This accessible sum will drop to just under $100 billion in Year Two...and down to a little more than $50 billion by Year Eight. But, by Year 12, the world defense budget will have been reduced to $34 billion (a little more than 5% our current DOD budget), and almost a trillion dollars would have been allocated to overcome PO/GW. That will be the Year 2020, providing perfect vision for Planet Earth and Humanity.
This grand sum will go to the United Nations to administrate and dispense. Yes, I've worked with the UN, and it is about the worst organization to do anything, but there is no choice, it is the only international entity of any credibility available.
The so-called military-industrial complex will shift their effort to mass-producing more efficient wind energy conversion systems, developing the hydrogen jetliner, in time converting the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to methanol and otherwise insuring for the development of the sustainable infrastructure and necessary clean energy. Military personnel can initially be maintained to handle the few thousand terrorists, take on environmental tasks and the like. By 2020 there should be one U.S. security force not more than 5% our current size.
There is every reason to believe that your 10% solution can continue forever to the point where there will be close to no military expenditures and, therefore, no chance for a major world war. Countries like Costa Rica, Iceland, Mauritius and Panama already have no defense budget. Are they threatened? Nope! Japan and China have had a chance to expand their economy because of a limited war account. The U.S spends almost $2000/person for defense while that of China is $45/citizen.
Triumphing over PO/GW will mean applying our tax dollars in a constructive manner. Better jobs will be created, greater support will be applied to education and the world economy will truly be boosted.
So, future President Obama, you will have a problem, but could the above scenario be an effective solution? You are the exact right person to save Planet Earth and Humanity. Simply go to my blog at http://PlanetEarthAndHumanity.blogspot.com, where some details are presented.
Ah, what a great country. Where else can a former public McKinley High School student provide advice to a Punahou graduate?
Patrick Kenji Takahashi is a retired University of Hawaii professor and newly published author.