Fear seems pervasive as a determinant of American policy. But the fear is not just of any fear. The biggest kid on the block towers over its opponents (real and imagined) in firepower, soldiers and spies, and access to financial resources. But that superiority does not fulfill American’s quest for security.
Although our location and weaponry make us relatively impervious to the kinds of attacks that other countries might realistically fear, the insecurity of Americans seem unquenchable.
If you are not afraid of what fear does to distort a country’s resource allocation and values, you should rush to read this description of our 4th branch of government.
And once fear is rampant, the limits on those who promise to protect us are minimal because, if questioned, they can justify any heinous act and any level of secrecy by muttering in a surreptitious and knowing voice, “national security.”