Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/03/decline-and-fall-american-empire
Uncle Sam says, “Joe, if you embrace the Status Quo, you and your party are toast.”
Oh oh, the working people in Ecuador are rising up demanding socialism to replace neoliberalism’s total failure and impoverishment of the people. Time for the US to step in to crush their appeal for democracy by instilling our brand of “democracy”. Perhaps the US will now declare Juan Guido presidente of Ecuador. I hear he is not too busy at the moment.
America was never great.
America was never an Empire.
America is a cog in a machine.
The world is so wrapped up in the propaganda.
Meanwhile the powers that be are laughing all the way to the bank.
Decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
That quote by MLK was prescient to say the least! And it is even more true today than when King said it as in my opinion, an Empire that funds it’s military an estimated trillion dollar a year budget to protect it’s citizens from bogus enemies, when so many Americans are sick and dying from covid-19 and millions more in dire straits financially, with so many hurting…HAS REACHED SPIRITUAL DEATH!
Too late. Biden has already officially recognized Guaido as Venezuelan president. Just the tip of the iceberg, as we’ll all soon have thrown back in our faces, in terms of Biden warranting any trust or confidence in establishing diplomacy and peace as foundations for U. S. foreign policy. For whatever Biden might contribute to addressing domestic issues, his resort to the same imperialist and militarist policies of his many predecessors will render American lives and those of other humans and other beings around the planet a lot more tenuous over the next 4 years. Get the wool out of your eyes, damned sheep!
John Feffer has some incisive reflections on the capacity of Asian societies (just about all of 'em, right, left, or center) to culturally comprehend the importance of the common good (what a concept!) as opposed to my precious liberty to screw up your life. I think the East/West contrast Feffer casts leaves USA at extremities of idiotic selfishness, the cult of the suicidal individual, exposed and marooned at the epitome of such petard-foisting by a humble, unassuming global pandemic. USA + COVID-45 + COVID-19 = the country formerly known as “the world’s sole superpower.”
It is impossible to imagine a scenario in any Asian country like what transpired in the United States during the January 6 insurrection. Lawmakers evacuated from the congressional floor found themselves packed into a small, windowless lockdown room. If ever there were a time for bipartisanship, it was during this attack on American democracy. Yet, some Republican legislators, although they quite obviously couldn’t maintain social distance in this crowded space, refused to wear the masks offered to them. They couldn’t even pretend to care about the health and safety of others, and several lawmakers indeed tested positive for COVID-19 after this experience. This is the American response to the pandemic writ small: astonishing selfishness and ideological rigidity.
Incidentally, USA’s first case of Covid was recorded (retroactively, in Santa Clara County, just south of me) for 1/22/2020. Accordingly, today marks the last day of the 54th week of USA’s outbreak, and it’s the last time I’ll be able to fit this 9-week trajectory segmentation into just six lines, fwiw…
A brief history of USA COVID-19 cases (latest CDC numbers):
> WEEK 9 WEEKS CASES > ENDING NEW TOTAL > > 9. 03/24/2020 54,453 54,453 > 18. 05/26/2020 1,624,390 1,678,843 > 27. 07/28/2020 2,661,154 4,339,997 > 36. 09/29/2020 2,828,080 7,168,077 > 45. 12/01/2020 6,457,945 13,626,022 > 54. 02/02/2021 12,651,103 26,277,125
Tune in to the news on Myanmar right now, or Thailand recently, and you won’t have to use your imagination, you can watch it. All were accompanied by rabid mobs. Myanmar is a Buddhist country, as is Sri Lanka, site of a longstanding series of pogroms.
You hurriedly, almost derisively excerpt my quotation of Feffer – a silly pose for you to strike, quite frankly. Perhaps if you pay some attention to what he’s saying, you might find he has something to say, in this instance. Feffer is a veteran international observer worth heeding, imho.
Yes I have read Feffer for a long time and he’s very good. He may have a point about narcissism and individualism, but I think it’s possible to stretch it too far, e.g. by ascribing Jan 6 to it. As for the response to COVID, it is a mix of narcissism and government incompetence, yes.
You implicitly accuse Feffer of ascribing Jan 6 to Western individualism, but in so doing you again miss the point he’s making about Jan 6: The picture of coming face to face with your work colleagues, who refuse to mask up in enclosed space, even under emergency situations. Feffer is saying that scene, in particular, is something exceptional. I think his point – though you’re intent on missing it – is a good one.
The situation (Myanmar) is somewhat similar to Afghanistan on some levels, it too was a Buddhist country until Arab Conquest between the 7th and 10th centuries. It wasn’t until this Century that ancient icons were bombed and destroyed. The evidence of a compassionate past. Iran was mainly Buddhist too. Afghanistan is approximately 97.7% Islamic now.
“Buddhist in Afghanistan was one of the major religious forces in the region during pre-Islamic era. The religion was widespread south of the Hindu Kush mountains. The Buddhist religion in Afghanistan started fading with the Muslim conquest in the 7th century but finally ended during the Ghaznavids in the 11th century.”
“Before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, there were a number of religions practiced in ancient Afghanistan, including Zoroastrianism, Surya worship, Paganism, Hinduism and Buddhism.”
Feffer calls it Burma, in the following summary:
Even the less fortunate countries in the region have managed to control the pandemic better than the West has. Burma has suffered over 130,000 infections, but just over 3,000 deaths. Malaysia has had 185,000 infections but only 700 deaths, while Japan has had over 360,000 infections but just under 5,200 deaths. Singapore has actually had the largest per-capita number of infections in the region but has registered only 29 deaths.
The two relative outliers are the Philippines with over 500,000 infections and 10,000 deaths, and Indonesia with nearly a million infections and over 28,000 deaths.
The contrasting attitude of all the Asian countries, which Feffer ascribes partially to “cultural immunity” inhering from having suffered the SARS scare, continues to be very interesting as the world confronts a ceaseless parade of mutants. All those Asian countries have to deal with those mutant strains, just as we do. Only they don’t have such a terrible mess to begin with.
Now that the bug has a wild reservoir in USA – in the form of wild mink, trapped and confirmed positive – USA is almost certainly irrevokably committed to endemic Covid, at this point, unlike all those Asian countries. But there’s no particular reason we US Americans might not consider learning something from the Asians, someday. Except that we’re pigheaded drivers refusing to ask directions: exceptionally dense patriotic US Americans.
Yes, I have to agree there is a different social organization in Asian countries. Also Latin American countries have a higher life expectancy that is correlated to social organization and is lost when they immigrate to the U.S. I’m not sure how that transfers to a required reorganization in a pandemic.
We had some Vietnamese friends, the father has passed on, but our discussions of health and personal care were so interesting. It is a different conversation to be sure.
And MLK was killed by the state(US govt) we was critical thereof. The history books skip over the fact that he was against imperialism(the 'Nam) and wanted social reforms akin to socialism. So they killed him so his ideas would die too. This same disease continues toward the eventual collapse. All empires collapse.
222 years of the 239 years we have been a nation we have been warring somewhere–mostly on poor third world countries so our capitalists could steal their resources–this is who we have always been–are now --and from the support of the bloated military budget -will remain so—the most dangerous, terrorist nation the world has ever seen --with the biggest most destructive military organization in the world–
the only thing exceptional about the USA is it’s destructive hubris
“…exposed and marooned at the epitome of such petard-foisting by a humble, unassuming global pandemic.”
our mighty End-of-History Empire brought down by a tiny bug. Perhaps it should be renamed the Ozymandias virus… or the H.G. Wells virus
From his War of the Worlds:
“… and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow”
The US government, in my opinion, murdered MLK because he was becoming politically too powerful and Hoover was told to take him out before it was too late.
Spot on! Kudos to the authors!
A country where the po-LICE put children in handcuffs after some rough treatment or even using pepper spray in their eyes to subdue the child of 9 or …
is not displaying humanitarian behavior ! Who cares if you can use the label “empire” or democratic. To find this cruel behavior is accepted of those who are “paid” to protect the public is not any different than those slaves in the Congo who lost their hands due to King Leopold of Belgium because the population in this country has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. How is it that the population of this country allows those in charge to treat our citizens with horrible disrespect ?