I Never Should Have Left Them Alone
Three years ago, when I started writing about the American decline, I was determined to talk straight and to share with the Americans–and the rest of the world–my “native transatlantic” point of view. That is, though I was born and educated, worked and served in the US Army in the States, six months after I was discharged from the army in April of 1968 I gave away all my worldly goods and bought a one-way ticket to Europe, where I have lived ever since. Does that make me an “ex-pat?” No, actually I’m Spanish. In 1983 I renounced my American citizenship before a Spanish judge and was granted Spanish nationality. I never looked back, except to observe the fascinating political and military goings-on in the country of my birth.
I thought the US was on an ill-fated trajectory then with its lingering Vietnam war and dubious leadership, but the presidential election of 2016 brought new lows. America found itself with a new clown President and a stale Congress–on both sides of the aisle–though the Republicans, who had signed on to President Trump’s ship of fools, were the ones wielding the institutional wrecking ball. I did not expect the tailspin that was to ensue over the next four years. Seeing right-wing fervor gathering momentum like a train hurtling down a mountain with a dead engineer, I expected the worst. And, sure enough, it’s here, upon the American people right now. It’s over.
Neither the dummy in the White House nor his far-right followers in the Congress and the courts, foresaw the maelstrom of coincidences that was about to fall upon their country with Old Testament virulence. It was beyond their competence even to suspect the possible conflation of the sudden technological and economic superiority of a giant Asian country, a deadly virus pandemia that is taking advantage of optimum conditions in the US to savage mercilessly both the population and the economy, and the sudden widespread citizen reactions to racial injustice in the country. The Trump administration’s response to these crises ranged from dead wrong to nil. The Trumpeteers’ negligence was such that they even discarded the pandemic contingency plans that the Obama transition team left them in writing.
US Experiencing a Deadstick Landing on Rough Ground
Led by President Trump’s oafish incompetence and blatant pandering to reactionary big-money interests, the undisputed greatest country in the world has become a laughing stock, more to be pitied than respected. Just as seriously, the world’s most reliable partner nation has become unworthy of anyone’s trust. And President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “arsenal of democracy” became the world’s number one perceived threat to peace. (Sources: https://www.indepthnews.net/, indy100.com, mothership.sg)
It was during this process that the American degradation was so severe that, in order to cloak all the indecency, they had to revive a derogatory coverall phrase popularized in 1964, the year in which the Warren Commission shared its implausible Kennedy assassination findings. Those who questioned the conclusions of the Warren Commision were “conspiracy theorists.” Just sticking that label on them disqualified their opinions immediately and utterly. Subsequently, any questioning of controversial matters such as the 9/11 attacks, Global Warming, G-5 and electromagnetic pollution, the Moon landings and more was labeled “conspiracy theories” and discarded out of hand. In the end, whom do we credit for America’s landing men on the moon, Werner von Braun and his team of German rocket scientists or Stanley Kubrick?
Exceptional Canadian Takes Down American Exceptionalism
Canadian anthropologist, Wade Davis, in a recent Rolling Stone article titled “The Unraveling of America,” took a concerned look at how Covid-19 signals the end both of the American era and American exceptionalism. He affirms that, of all the disruption provoked by the pandemic, what most stands out is “the absolutely devastating impact” on the reputation and international standing of the United States of America. Davis writes:
In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. At the height of the crisis, with more than 2,000 dying each day, Americans found themselves members of a failed state, ruled by a dysfunctional and incompetent government largely responsible for death rates that added a tragic coda to America’s claim to supremacy in the world.
For the first time, the international community felt compelled to send disaster relief to Washington. For more than two centuries, reported the Irish Times, “the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.” As American doctors and nurses eagerly awaited emergency airlifts of basic supplies from China, the hinge of history opened to the Asian century.
As if America didn’t have enough problems already, the Trump administration’s inept responses to this uniquely dangerous set of circumstances have dragged the US into the definitive status of a rogue country with a dubious future:
- Slapping senseless tariffs willy nilly on countries around the world, from Canada to China, seemingly oblivious to the inevitable repercussions.
- Militarizing everything, from the streets of American cities to the waters of the Strait of Hormuz, the Caribbean, and the South China Sea.
- Dispatching one of the most loutish “diplomats” in living memory to bully America’s allies and adversaries into toeing the arbitrary American line. Under what imaginable legitimacy can the US order Iran not to trade oil with Venezuela, or oblige Russia not to build a gas pipeline to Germany?
What Are the Chances of United States Survival?
Since the end of the Second World War the United States has relied on just a few factors to insure their predominance in world affairs:
- Their economic and manufacturing superiority… Given recent geostrategic realities, this factor now lacks virtually all reasonable validity.
- Their overwhelming military might… The Americans have spent themselves into poverty attempting to maintain their highly-touted military superiority. But as long as that favorable balance depends upon nuclear weapons–and lots of countries have them–the most the Pentagon can hope for is not an American victory, rather a lose-lose endgame.
- Their ability to convince the world that “American democracy” and “the American way of life,” are superior to all others… These myths, doubtful at best for decades, have come tumbling down with a loud crash during the 2020 triple emergency.
So, can the United States survive? That question takes us into a guessing game, of course, but we can speculate to some extent in view of recent history. If “survive” means to amble blissfully on in business-as-usual mode, I think it’s reasonable to predict that they cannot survive. They have lost the script and the ability to sell it.
Can they survive by any stretch of the imagination under the leadership of the Trump administration? I think they clearly cannot. Trump is staring into his own lose-lose abyss. If he wins the election it will be up to him to right the country’s trajectory, something that he has shown us he’s incapable of achieving. If he loses in November and tries to employ truculent or other unscrupulous measures to hang on to power, his imminent political demise and that of his country, as we know it, are assured.
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