The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. —Sarah Ban Breathnach
One of my favorite cartoons ever originated the same year my oldest son was born. Warner Brothers’ Animaniacs holds a place of nostalgic importance within our family for many reasons, but one of those is the concept that anyone with the right determination, effort, and a little luck, might take over the world. Where did we get that idea? Pinky and the Brain. In every episode, Pinky asks, “What are we going to do tonight, Brain?” and Brain answers, “The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to take over the world.” They’re mice, and more than once they come quite close to succeeding.
Given the interconnectedness and interdependencies among nations, taking over the world is probably a more realistic goal now than it ever has been. The solution is rather simple and I’m not the only who has noticed, I’m sure. Affect the stock market in one major country and watch all the others respond in kind. This makes gaining economic control easy. World food supplies are largely controlled by a handful of companies. Control the food supply and you control people. The entire world, including governments and the global power grid, are connected by computers. One well-written virus and you control who has electricity and who doesn’t.
Perhaps most frightening is the realization that one intelligent individual could probably achieve that level of control without the aid or knowledge of their own government. Fortunately, controlling a stock market and the global food supply requires a substantial form of capital and not many people have access to that wealth. Still, it is a very real danger. Who has access to that kind of wealth and power?
The President of the United States.
Whether we like it or not, we cannot deny that the US is a global power and that the decisions made here affect events and people around the world. For example, the United States is the sole source for a number of life-saving drugs. Should we decide to shut down production of those drugs, especially those for fighting diseases like Ebola and Malaria, the results could be devastating on a global scale. Were our government to enact a policy that makes it impossible for international companies to make a profit in the US, the global economy, including our own, would crash overnight. Where we decide to put troops affects the safety and well-being of millions of people. Pull the Marines from Okinawa and that region of the world would almost certainly collapse as North Korea’s insane leadership would see that as an opportunity to assert domination.
The President could affect all of those situations and more.
When we’re considering for whom we are going to vote, or whether we’re going to vote, our tendency is to look at domestic issues, specifically, “What’s best for me?” As such, our vision tends to be incredibly short-sighted. We too often want a President who will encourage and enact policies we think will make our lives better, even if it is to the detriment of someone else. We are as selfish in our voting as we are in our use of money.
What might have a greater effect on our longevity and quality of life, however, is how we relate to the world. Even our domestic policies such as health care and minimum wage affect things such as immigration and foreign investment. We like to think we’re all big and mighty and powerful on our own, but the fact is we hold a lot of debt and in many ways are just as dependent on other countries as they are dependent on us.
One of the first stories to slap me in the face this morning is evidence that Syria’s President al-Assad is coordinating efforts with Daesh. This is bad news for the entire world as Syria appears to be directly funding terrorism. Both the economic and military strength of the United States are principal aspects in stopping this atrocity.
Oh, and there’s more evidence that China’s economy lacks a solid foundation. China influences the US economy in three ways: investment, debt, and trade. Should their economy crash, they could easily take down ours and the European Union at the same time. US foreign policy is critical in helping keep the Chinese economy stable.
Then, there’s the increasingly worrisome matter of North Korea. Not only have they now limited movement in and out of Pyongyang, but they’ve banned weddings, funerals, and any other form of assembly ahead of their party congress next week. This increases speculation that the country may attempt a nuclear demonstration during the event. Even North Korea’s one reluctant ally, China, is depending upon US intelligence information in helping to form an international response should the rogue nation decide to do something stupid.
The United States is tied to events all over the world, which makes the US president a key component in how those events are resolved. While we don’t need a president who is going to be overly aggressive and intimidating toward foreign leaders, we also don’t need someone who fucks it all up with a religious-based ideology or a hesitant approach to taking action. We are dogged by the hindsight that had we taken a more forward and active role in foreign matters prior to WWII, we might have prevented at least some of the atrocities committed in both theaters of that war. We don’t have to like being a world power, but the world depends on us stepping up and taking that responsibility.
Okay, so maybe it’s a stretch to say that the US rules the world entirely. We have our vulnerabilities. Still, whoever we elect as President wields incredible power over the lives not only of Americans but the seven billion plus citizens of this planet. We should take extra care in deciding how we’re going to cast our ballots. After all, Pinky, we know taking over the world is possible. We need to be careful about which lab mouse we select to do so.