During the days of the George W. Bush presidency when the country was dragged into disastrous wars on the lies propagated by Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, and others, Tom Tomorrow had a cartoon where he ‘explained’ how it came to be that Bush and Cheney had embarked on this disastrous course. The cartoon said that the two had actually been pot-smoking hippie radical friends in their youth and carefully planned a long time ago to pretend to be arch-conservatives so that they could rise to power and destroy the US from within by advocating policies that would destroy it.
Unfortunately, I could not find that old cartoon but that same cartoon could be resurrected with Donald Trump playing the starring role. Nafeez Ahmed writes that a new Pentagon study says that the American empire is collapsing.
The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which US power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.
Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence,” the US now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority.”
One must treat such US military studies with a great deal of caution since they often take a ‘sky is falling’ approach in order to extort yet more funds for themselves, and indeed that is what the report encourages, that the government “invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion, and a “wider and more flexible” US military.”
But even allowing for that self-interest, there can be no doubt that the US is being undermined from within, by cutting back on health, education, infrastructure, basic research, alternative energy, and all the other aspects of life that make a country truly healthy. Instead the US is spending more and more on enriching a very few and on a bloated military that is entangled in many conflicts that it cannot get out of. As with all empires, collapse comes when it is over-extended, when things fall apart because the center cannot hold.
With Trump, we can expect the process to accelerate. I wrote a few weeks ago how the fear of losing the support of your own party and base serves as the normal brake that restrains politicians from going off the rails, but that these are no longer operating since the Trump fans are unbelievably loyal and the Republican party is a mere rubber stamp. I fear that without those brakes, we are witnessing a runaway political locomotive. While we don’t know when and how it will crash, all we can be sure of is that the crash itself will be terrible and cause a lot of damage, not just to the people who are ostensibly in control, but even more so to those who had nothing to do with the crash.