You know like a real deal, with all those super-powers--you can fly both in the air and space, you can lift some things like railroad engines or Boeing-747 with no effort, you can see girls' boobs through clothes and other wonderful things you could do with your super-powers. But, by the tender age of 40 I finally figured out that Superman movies were actually all a Hollywood fantasy and I got depressed. It came about the same time I recognized that Santa Claus doesn't exist. My dreams of super-powers, together with dreams of Jeannie, when Barbara Eden was still drop-dead gorgeous (my wife still doesn't know about that), were dealt a crushing blow and I had to reconcile myself to a reality, where I reside, with a different level of success, even today.
But my dreams of super-powers, especially mental ones, couldn't have come more useful than today, when navigating an opaque Mississippi of pseudo-academic BS filling this mighty river through numerous tributaries streaming from the American political "science" universe and publications which sell this mental ejaculation as a valid scholarship. But, as I stated above, I long ago reconciled myself with the fact that I will never gain even a minute percentage of Superman's powers, which, as it turned out, is not the case with US geopolitical "thinkers" who are still active in casting their spells, which are as effective as those cast by infantile participants at numerous Comic Con conventions, where they go to exorcise any symptoms of unfolding maturity in order to remain children before going on the social security. Enter a couple of esteemed political "scientists" who, in no less than Council of Foreign Relations very own rag, Foreign Affairs, arrived to this conclusion:
Multiple signs point to a crisis in global order. The uncoordinated international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturns, the resurgence of nationalist politics, and the hardening of state borders all seem to herald the emergence of a less cooperative and more fragile international system. According to many observers, these developments underscore the dangers of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” policies and his retreat from global leadership.
My immediate quarrel with these two is not even this passage, however detached from reality it is (I will elaborate), but with the title of their piece itself: How Hegemony Ends. The Unraveling of American Power. My quarrel with it is the tense in which the title written because American "hegemony", much of it self-proclaimed, ended quite some time ago. So? the proper title should be How Hegemony Ended. It is difficult to precisely pin-point this moment but, and I wrote extensively on that, the first real manifestation was a double whammy first in Crimea and second--Syria. Signs of America's power unraveling were registered even earlier. Now back to quotation. I don't know what "global order" those scientists are talking about but the truth of the matter is extremely simple: the United States could have been in the position of some sort of a global game warden--I omit, for now, the issue of the United States not having resources for that from the inception--if it knew its limitations, and even Russia and China would probably be OK, more or less, if the US would have recognized that. But no. Instead of an order, the United States, due to lack of resources and largely faked own 20th century military history, created one hell of a mess.
Moreover, it is one thing when when it is a mess outside, but the US cannot govern itself properly. The terms democracy and human rights when used by US side at any international platform create ironic smiles at best, a Homeric laughter--at worst. There is nothing more pathetic than Barbara Jean Trenton trying to relive her 16-mm large screen glory in the times of fast internet and CGI. The US is Barbara Jean Trenton, unsuccessfully, trying to attract young lovers with her wrinkled face and disfigured by arthritis fingers, even with some rings with large diamonds on them. But then again, where are those certificates of authenticity for those stones? Did they ever exist? Not everything that shines is gold or a diamond. To the credit of the authors, they find this proposition erroneous:
Some analysts believe that the United States can still turn this around, by restoring the strategies by which it, from the end of World War II to the aftermath of the Cold War, built and sustained a successful international order. If a post-Trump United States could reclaim the responsibilities of global power, then this era—including the pandemic that will define it—could stand as a temporary aberration rather than a step on the way to permanent disarray.
Good for them, but even in debunking these ridiculous a-historic parallels, they arrive to a rather timid retort:
Today, those same dynamics have turned against the United States: a vicious cycle that erodes U.S. power has replaced the virtuous cycles that once reinforced it. With the rise of great powers such as China and Russia, autocratic and illiberal projects rival the U.S.-led liberal international system. Developing countries—and even many developed ones—can seek alternative patrons rather than remain dependent on Western largess and support. And illiberal, often right-wing transnational networks are pressing against the norms and pieties of the liberal international order that once seemed so implacable. In short, U.S. global leadership is not simply in retreat; it is unraveling. And the decline is not cyclical but permanent.
They, same as John Mearsheimer (my first chapter in the last book addresses his last treatise) do not understand not only a fundamental crisis of "liberalism", a euphemism for financial capitalism, and that "seeking of alternative patrons" came about precisely that instead of order and stability the United States provided for warfare, atrocities, violence, destruction and all that is endemic in the system which now begins to eat itself from the inside. I leave a "largess" argument for others to ponder--we didn't even start to count how many trillions of dollars this "largess" cost to such countries as Iraq, Serbia, Ukraine, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan, to name a few, in lost lives, destroyed infrastructure, stolen national treasure to name a few effects of this "liberal" order. What they don't understand is that if not for the Soviet Union saving what commonly is addressed as West by defeating European Nazism and Fascism, no serious talk about "liberal order" would have been possible. That is why Russia holds every year Victory Day Parade--not only to honor her fallen, but to remind this very West who and how defeated its very own demons. That is why Putin, in an interview to...ahem...The National Interest stresses this.
However, the League of Nations dominated by the victorious powers of France and the United Kingdom proved ineffective and just got swamped by pointless discussions. The League of Nations and the European continent in general turned a deaf ear to the repeated calls of the Soviet Union to establish an equitable collective security system, and sign an Eastern European pact and a Pacific pact to prevent aggression. These proposals were disregarded.
It was Russia who bore the brunt and that is why Russia builds state-of-the-art weapons and armed forces. Today, any talk about "democracy", "liberalism", and global "order", unless it is done by a completely brainwashed people--not an uncommon feature among Western "scholars"--cannot and will not hide anymore attempts by Western financial oligarchy, led by US "elites", who think themselves as heirs to Superman's powers, to put a whole world under their control. Including by means of rewriting a history or, on many occasions, just making it up.
Thus, claims as such:
China and Russia are not the only states seeking to make world politics more favorable to nondemocratic regimes and less amenable to U.S. hegemony. As early as 2007, lending by “rogue donors” such as then oil-rich Venezuela raised the possibility that such no-strings-attached assistance might undermine Western aid initiatives designed to encourage governments to embrace liberal reforms.
Are made by people who are either lying through their teeth or, which is equally probable, dumb as stumps. "Liberal reforms" is a euphemism for total deregulation and privatization of national treasures by Western oligarchy. Ukraine is having a blast with those "reforms". While authors continue to bloviate throughout a meandering piece about how US "patronage" collapsed and how international "networks" are being reconfigured, I will repeat myself. They could have spared the space in the magazine and the time for reading by simply stating two basic facts:
1. US lost, with a humiliating score, economic race to China;
2. US lost, with a humiliating score, arms race to Russia.
These two facts alone explain why the US never was a "superman" and why most of its "superpowers" turned out, such as magic wands of Harry Potter cosplayers at Comic Con conventions, to be as effective as a treatment of the fourth stage cancer with a hydrocortisone topical cream. And here is what I wanted to repeat, considering an infinitesimally small probability that these two "professors" will ever read this: throw your degrees in political pseudo-science into trash bin and start learning real economy and real military balance. Only that may help to regain some connection to the reality and maybe dispose off delusions about super-powers, which were never there, other than of a big screen in movie theater or on TV, especially in the country which cannot defend its sacred symbols, such as monuments, and history against the crowds of radical thugs and their enablers at the very political top. But yes, I dreamed once of being a Superman...and about Barbara Eden when she was Jeannie.