Most of the (few) readers of this blog are certainly aware that in 1978 the United States agreed to transfer full control the Panama Canal back to Panama in 1999. (I'll discuss the reasons benind that agreement that in another post, if anyone's interested.) The resulting treaties were controversial. Most Americans forgot about it right quick, but the Texas Republican party continued to rant about it until 2003. From their old platform:
“The Party urges Congress to support HJR 77, the Panama and America Security Act, which declare the Carter-Torrijos Treaty null and void. We support re-establishing United States control over the Canal in order to retain our military bases in Panama, to preserve our right to transit through the Canal, and to prevent the establishment of Chinese missile bases in Panama.”
That's a whole lotta crazy. But it represented a defensive nationalism that seemed pretty much to be over. After all, the United States is not a country that harkens back to a grand imperial past. We are not a country bothered by our military defeats. We are not a country afraid to recognize past wrongs, we move past ours, we ask others to move past theirs. Nor does relative decline bother Americans; if we become more prosperous and more secure, there is no worry that others have overtaken us.
Oh, wait! That's some other country I'm talking about. Maybe Finland. We get things like this:
My oh my. But thank God for Geraldo. America owes a lot to half-Jewish half-Latin guys from the New York metropolitan area, that's what I always say.