Just as the rise of Hitler can't be understood without reference to the Versailles, or the Bolshevik revolution as a consequence of near serfdom under an absolute monarchy, equally the current US decline can't be explained by politics alone. If Soviet Russia evokes memories of Gulags and National Socialism that of concentration camps; US laissez-faire capitalism offers a spectacle of a 21st century idiocracy producing an intellectual pessimism and a reality based dystopia.
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let's pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill, the beacon of light; that torch which welcomes the "wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Well, that's how the narrative goes. However, these days the 'wretched refuse' are more likely to arrive from neighboring Mexico, or vengeful and angry Muslims from devastated lands that refused the petrodollar.
"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society" - Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher.
Located on the fringes of western civilization and isolated from European absolute monarchies the founding fathers ensured their own wealth and estates remained protected from government and the alternative revolutionary ideas of that era.
No doubt principled men, business is business and the antiquated Electoral College voting system echo's those founding principles which ensures the elite bypass both democracy and its citizenry. President Lincoln already foresaw the future nearly two centuries earlier when he noted, "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad ..." The 'danger' foreseen is the systemic failure of a society founded on greed in which everyone and everything becomes a market commodity. In other words, when the have not's in turn became a majority. Moreover, that narcissistic and greedy politicians, bankers and corporations replaced "We the People" as status symbols of success and viewed poverty as individual failure was inevitable. When the industrial era of opportunities faded and the protection racket petrodollar declined it reverted back to the dog-eat-dog origins of its founding.
Indeed, centuries later the Wild West again plays out on American streets (and on other streets in the world), in which killing each other now resembles a national pastime in a country that has only been at peace for two decades since its founding. In 'American Psychosis', the renowned US journalist Chris Hedges gives a compelling and recommended analysis of US decline based on historical comparisons.
"We're an empire now; we create our own reality." Karl Rove, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, 2004.
As the US declined, its population abandoned reality and fled into the same Lewis Carroll rabbit hole as Alice in Wonderland, where it encountered similar characters and credulity. The outside world became, "Curiouser and curiouser" as the population asked their political deities, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here", in a country where Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian combined have more followers on twitter than the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential elections!
"Everywhere you go, everything you touch, chaos is left behind" - Russian envoy Vasily Nebenzya to US EU envoy Nikki Haley, UNSC, 2018.
By dismissing European 20th century events as something that happened 'over there', the US failed to learn the lessons they offered in the 21st. Nevertheless, in an isolated low-information population indoctrinated with panic and fear of the outside world and of each other, the show must go on. That unlimited greed produces both cronyism and corporate fascism is something only recently discovered. Or that trying to control the world through violence is what the US itself put a similar rogue nation on trial for at Nuremburg. Can the ramparts of the Homeland Defense Act keep the world at bay and can demagogue cult personalities save the empire? Is Obama a Messiah or is President Trump sent from God and is this the updated US equivalent of the Nuremberg rallies? (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 'USA Freedom Kids' later filed a lawsuit against President Trump for non-payment and breach of contract.)
"We're Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran ..." Gen. Wesley Clarke (Ret), 2007.
Those countries such as Russia, China and Iran who oppose and resist the might of the empire by refusing to pay the US capitalist tribute of open borders remain surrounded by missile bases in a replica of an updated ancient siege, in which leaders become intentionally demonized and their economies sanctioned, or undermined by trade wars. Meanwhile, those weaker such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are put to the sword. Haven't the Russians a right to be paranoid as once again western armies gather on their borders?
The ancient Roman Empire gladiator games now involve arming weaker nations, referred with disdain as "Sh**hole countries", as modern day narcissists weaned on computer games and reality TV shows cheer on the blood sports from the comfort of their armchairs. In today's arena Iraq fights NATO and the US military assist the Saudis bomb Yemen into pieces as the mob roars HOO-RAR and venture capitalists move in to deliver the coup de grace to the vanquished.
"Thank God, this situation of a unipolar world, of a monopoly, is coming to an end. It's practically already over." President Putin, 2018.
In conclusion, what an indoctrinated US population still fail to grasp is that the experiment to present an economic system as an ideology wasn't designed to outlast its industrial revolution. Currently, Mr. Trump is proof that wealth isn't necessarily a result of intelligence and Mr. Obama that spreading wealth around didn't include his own. The have not's crowd funding medical care and those in tent cities are not cheering for liberty and freedom and increasingly, the world is refusing to fund its MAGA fantasies. The US is the rogue nation state of the early 21st century and the real threat to world peace. Thankfully, the 'Black Site' torture centers, 'Arab Springs', invasions and coups are coming to an end. The sooner the present mess collapses and the US joins the rest of the world respecting core interests in compromise and power-sharing, the safer the world will be.
John V Asia Teacher is a British semi-retired English and Social Science teacher with a specific interest in education and political science.