At $923 million for the 2006 fiscal year, the budget was 20 times that of the Beijing embassy’s that year, according to the State Department.
One of my little screwball theories is that the Cold War is, in fact, not over, in that the US has not fully paid the bill of waging that worlwide war for markets and resources. Many of those debts can be witnessed across the globe today and the US, politically, economically and militarily, faces a physics not dissimilar to the management crisis that afflicted the over-extended, and deeply indebted Soviet regime.
Needless to say, the US adventure in Iraq provides something of a microcosm for many of these difficulties. To be sure, some would argue that control over the Middle East remains central to US superiority over its economic rivals and thus is worth the cost. But the failure of the US to secure Iraq raises critical questions about the ability of the empire to maintain its global position.
I will elaborate when I have the time, so pardon me if I sound too hysterical or apocalyptic.