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Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA

After World War II, the United States enjoyed a position of undisputed leadership.  However, since the 1970s, Germany and Japan have become economically powerful nations, threatening the hegemonic position of the United States. Rather than settle for a tri-lateral pattern of power, the American government instigated a ‘Second Cold War,’ reasserting the dominance of the United States through military strength (where we could be the undisputed leader) rather than through economic strength.  While this tactic was successful in maintaining a degree of leadership, it also created a tremendous budget and trade deficit in the 1990s.  Unable to maintain the great costs of such an enormous military program (and unable to justify additional military spending after the end of the Cold War), the United States has been steadily reducing its military expenditures.  Over the last few years, dozens of military bases have closed throughout the United States. Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California is one of the bases that has closed due to decreased military spending.  In this photograph we see the former entrance to the base, now locked up and deserted.  The formerly manicured lawn is now overgrown and covered with weeds.  Signs at the entrance have faded in the summer sun and hang loosely on the dilapidated gate.  Named after one of the nation’s most respected military leaders, this base now stands as a reminder of the current budget deficit and the excessive spending of the 1980s.