The steamiest topic here at home these days appears to be the immigration issue. Tens of thousands of Central Americans crossing into the U.S. along the border with Mexico has reached red hot status.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are equally upset over the U.S. return militarily to Iraq, our nation weary of war overseas with its futile loss and injury of service men and women and a drain on an national treasury.  So, in Iraq and elsewhere throughout the Middle East, why, oh why, do we continue to garrison much of the globe even as here at our country finds itself unable to provide for even the most basic of services to far too many of its own citizens?

What shape and size would the world take on if we just stayed home?  Could we bring to a much desired end our apparent psychotic need to be the sole superpower and self-appointed global cop?  Of course the military-industrial complex would have to surrender profits of war-making but just imagine what we could do about our huge number of internal and external problems, re-directing our time, money and effort to immigration and drug crisis on our southern border and inland, too, soaring health-care costs, an ineffective education system that’s become one of the weakest in the developed world, an aging population and infrastructure, and an uncontrolled recession with millions still out of work.

Should we turn our attention inward, we’d continue to be a large and powerful nation.  If we dealt seriously with these challenges we could make a huge difference for the American citizen and his/her family.  Should we continue to be led by those people who want more army, navy and air force activity, weapons-buying, warring in other lands, global garrisons and more, propping up of corrupt, self-aggrandizing dictators.

What about ISIS?  What about China?  If we got out of the Middle East there’d be no reason for Sunni or Shia to come after us.  Sept. 11 happened because we’ve been perceived by Sunni and Shia alike to be in a 21st century crusader to bring Christianity to their lands even though it’s really all about dominating their oil fields.  As for the Republic of China, let them be the superpower and they can receive the “benefits” of the costs in lives and treasury that go along with that dubious distinction.  Is China going to try to destroy us?  Not as long as we continue to run an annual trade deficit—currently at $227 billion—with the current prospect of another invasion of Iraq and Syria sending the annual amount owed higher into the stratosphere.

Whatever the case, the American century, 1945 to 2045, will have ended  35 years early.  We’re pretty much through now and will continue to fall precipitously as long as we continue to practice business-as-usual.  In fact, if the reader seeks a more recent example he may wish to review England at the end of its imperial run in 1945.  If we were to do what’s suggested here and end our imperial bases and interventions reign to address our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, evermore dying economy, corporate and wealthy individuals tax evasions, and failure to pay attention to and invest in public education, among other noteworthy objectives, we might have a chance.

However, as long as we surrender our fate to those who profit from war, and allow only the rich to get richer, we deliver our own fate.  If the American does not see our near exclusive chasing after and giving every spare dime and dollar to professional sports figures, movie and TV celebrities, the drug culture for those multitudes in it to be spaced-out instead of living sober lives, and trying continuously to dominate Muslim peoples so we can get their oil reserves, instead of being productive in the world of work, then he sits back to await the inevitable.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer. His column appears regularly in the Keizertimes.)