Tuesday, March 24, 2020

When Everything Points To...

What Senator Kennedy stated yesterday. 
You know, I am on record that for all my revulsion towards GOP, I consider Democratic Party to be clear and present danger to what's left of the Republic. And yes, I agree with Kennedy that the United States was founded by geniuses and now is run by a bunch of idiots. I am not alone in that, albeit I wrote two books on this issue and write for years about sheer incompetence of US "elites". 

Now Stephen Walt provides this:
As Daniel Larison goes on to observe:
Well, I am really pleased that someone reads my books, but, as was pointed out non-stop--a main formative geopolitical factor which creates crucial conditions for growing of competent national elites, Continental Warfare on a major scale, a conditioning by war that is, is an unknown entity for the United States. Sure, there was a Civil War which devastated primarily South but as I wrote:
Scales and proportions always mattered, still matter and will continue to matter a great deal, especially once warranted comparisons are made. One of the pivotal moments of the American Civil War was Sherman’s burning of Atlanta, which at the time had a population of barely 9,500 inhabitants, that is more than 27 times smaller than Moscow of 1812.  Even Smolensk with its 1812 population of around 13,000, which saw a ferocious battle around it and was set on fire by French artillery, was still considerably larger. In the end, Russia’s population in 1812, which was around 35 million, matched roughly the American population of 1860 which was 31.5 million. Yet, the difference couldn’t be starker—Napoleon attacked Russia with what then was the largest military force in history, which represented much of Western and Eastern Europe. Napoleon’s Grande Armee, which numbered 685,000 troops, had under its banners French, Saxons, Poles, Prussians, Italians, or what Tolstoy called a “force of a dozen European languages or nations.”     
Until things are put into proper context and scale, one will not stop failing in explaining why the United States finds itself today in the state of being de facto ungovernable and with its "elites" which increasingly become the laughing stock around the globe. Larison arrives to this conclusion:
Because the U.S. has been able to get away with making such major blunders, there have not been enough demands for accountability for the policymakers who led the country into one failure after another. There has been no real penalty for costly incompetence, and so many of the same people that led us down the wrong path before are still in positions of influence and authority now. Trump’s election just accelerated the process by putting grossly unqualified yes-men into top positions in government to serve an even more unqualified president. For most of the last twenty years, the U.S. has been poorly led. For at least twelve of those years, we have had presidents who knew nothing and didn’t care to learn more. Administrations that promote ideologues and disparage expertise are bound to be tripped up by obstacles that they fail to see, and they will drive the country into a ditch over and over again while congratulating themselves on their fine steering. 
Here, Larison describes the effect not the main cause--the main cause, and Larison, having a Ph.D in History, should know this is in the fact that US political elite as a whole was never shaped by the realities of Continental Warfare, unlike it is true for the rest of the word. North American Continent, due to it being a "World's Island" was simply spared the scale of a violence which shaped the modern world, including modern West, which carried the seeds of self-destruction inside itself the moment economic and ideological realities of post-WW II Europe became evident. It was, to a very large degree, a reaction, both intellectual and cultural to a life-changing wound sustained in WWII. United States didn't get wounded in WW II--it emerged as the only nation standing in the midst of the global ruin and profited greatly from that. What's not to like? Studs Terkel was correct--it was "The Good War" for America. And, inevitably, wrong lessons have been learned. This is what in the foundation of the American incompetence--wrong lessons, all around. The collapse of the Soviet Union reinforced already grossly distorted American view on history and on its own "liberal model". 
The reinforcement, due to a delusional view of the world and of itself, of American exceptionalism is in the foundation of the modern American incompetence. What Larison describes, including the lack of accountability for non-stop failures, is just the the method of further idiotization of the American "elites" (or government, or political class, what have you) and this process is unstoppable within existing American political, economic, educational, intellectual and cultural paradigm. It is a cold hard fact of life. It is also a fact of practical geopolitics and of the systemic crisis of liberalism. Covid-19? Just an excuse for the economic collapse which started long before the world even heard about this virus and forecasts of the American decline were made based on a much larger number of contributing factors than economy, or what passes for it at the Wall Street, alone.  

Stephen Walt may write whatever he wants on the American future:
Americans will need to rethink a political system that recruits and rewards those who are most adept at selling themselves to the highest bidder. And there has to be something seriously wrong with a political system that has devoted many months and spent billions of dollars preparing for the 2020 election and ends up giving the country a choice between three old white guys. For that matter, Americans ought to rethink whether spending a full year electing someone to a four year term makes any sense at all. No other advanced democracy does it this way. And while we’re at it, let’s scrap the absurd Electoral College, an indefensible relic that systematically disempowers voters in most of the country.
And I don't see anything wrong with "white guys", them being truly old, that is another thing. It is not about the race, it is about competence. Obama was a first black two-term POTUS and it will take some time before competent historians will write a work on a catastrophic impact on the United States Obama Administration had. But here is the problem, the well of the American statesmanship is dry, it was for some time now, because mechanism which produces real leaders is broken and it cannot be fixed without massive, fundamental changes to America's "way of life"--a change America is not ready to implement... yet. The operation is very serious and dangerous and may result in patient dying but without it, the patient is dead anyway.   

UPDATE: Just stumbled upon excellent piece by Paul Craig Roberts. Totally relevant to what is being discussed. 
The only solution for the economy is debt forgiveness for the ordinary people and nationalization for the companies. Trump indicated that aid might be given in the form of an equity stake, and later sell the government’s stake for a profit in a privatization when things return to normal. This would be a partial nationalization. Much better to go whole hog as it allows a cure for concentration and deregulation. The pandemic has made it clear that a society of self-seeking individuals is not a society. A society is a social system. A successful social system is one that can support its members. Once a self-sustaining social system exists, then there is a basis for people to branch out on their own. But without a sustainable social system, there can be nothing. 

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