As recently as thirty years ago the world had two parents, America and Russia, who were fighting to keep custody of a bunch of whiny, needy, and unruly children. One of the parents was more about the stick than the carrot when it came to keeping the kids in check, and in all honesty, the carrots they had to offer were the limp musty kind that hide in the deep recesses of your vegetable “crisper”. The other parent, well, that was a different story altogether. That parent had all the new shiny toys, all the cool stuff. In fact, that parent MADE the cool stuff, infinite quantities of it, from blue jeans to rock-n-roll records. And so it’s no wonder that all the kids wanted to stay with the cool rich parent, after all who would ever want the strict poor one? Sugar beets and ballistic missile bases are poor substitutes for sidewalk cafés, to say nothing of drugs, sex, and heavy metal. Sure, a few gents still liked parading in their olive fatigues, Makarov pistols on their belts, spooking the crap out of the Washington, DC cognoscenti, but the trend was clear and finally the rich parent had it all.
The good life has an addictive quality to it; who would want to go back to hard work, to providing for themselves, when Uncle Sam has been doing it so exceptionally well for all these many decades? We want to give our citizens more free stuff! And when they become, Panda-like, too spoiled to engage in procreational rather than recreational intercourse, we want to import people from wherever they still do this kind of thing and give them free stuff too! We like green meadows with one cow per acre and beautiful lavender fields, and quaint hilltop vineyards, and when we send you our wine and cheeses and scented candles, we would like you to take them without duties, because it’s true that we always got our asses kicked and you always saved them, but you were kind enough to pretend we were your allies, so that’s how you treat your allies, right?
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