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I agree with your statement that countries are better informed. We digitally spy on each other constantly. Additionally, I think the general population is better informed through the constant flow of 'leaks'. In the past, dictators were quick to start wars because if they won, they could always blame the other guy for starting it. If they lost, it won't matter.
Currently, political decisions are so public that CNN knows the landing site of an invasion before the troops do. Therefore, politicians are hesitant to start wars they will get blamed for, even if they win (re: President Bush)
I posted an earlier debate that simply asked if you would be willing to go back and assassinate Hitler. The winning side (so far) has said no, that they wouldn't, primarily because Hitler didn't create the environment that allowed him to become so powerful.
In this debate, I'd have to choose Hitler, only because I believe that history will be kinder to President Bush than the press has been. Does that make me an optimist or naive?
I would leave it to the individual. If you've had Christmas all year long and are in debt, maybe you should consider letting it go. My family has been very fortunate in that we have no debt and have had "cash Christmas" as far back as I can remember.
I think this takes wisdom on the part of the individual though, and should not be something forced from the outside.