The war in Ukraine and the emerging post-American order.
So much is true, in broad swaths of this beautifully written article. God is in the details, and I believe that Biden ending our energy independence and exportation was a massive blow to “world peace” —cutting us off at the knees. But not only did he axe Keystone, he pushed Nordstream 2, further empowering a despot. I believe history, if not sanitized beyond recognition, will prove this out.
I blame the left, it evolved (devolved) into a self loathing critique of power differentials such that America’s success was the problem: you need a lot of education to be this stupid.
Quite a clearheaded commentary except laughingly cluelessly asserting that Trump didn’t make things better.
What didn’t happen on Trumps watch?
The norks didn’t rocket.
Russia didn’t invade anyone.
Soleimani is dead sending a message to Iran.
The border was being sealed not allowing enemies in.
Did I mention Russia didn’t invade anyone?
The list goes on. Maybe someday the truth will be told by the scribes about Trump. At least there are peeks of the truth coming out about the feckless Obama and no one can deny how just beyond awful the Joey depends maladministration is (with the exception of Jennifer Rubin).
There is something far, far worse than American hegemony.
That thing is American hegemony with an American leadership class that will fight to the death to send every single blue collar job to China so long as guys with a dick and balls have the right to play on the women's swim team. Or an American leadership class that thanks heaven each night for $5/gallon gasoline cause that gets us one step closer to that ever elusive dream of wind, solar, and unicorn fart power; all the while we fund bad regimes in Russia, Iran, Venezuela for the oil we still need while making China rich producing the materials needed for wind, solar, and unicorn farts. All while the rest of the world schemes in its own interests. National interests. Not interests of the select few who all spent time in seminar rooms at New England colleges while totally removed from the consequences of their braindead decisions.
At least Herbert Hoover fed Europe after WWI. What the hell can our current band of elites say they ever accomplished? They developed new credit instruments? Worst leadership group in America's post Civil War history. By far.
The US was able to survive and fight once before with cold warriors like Kennan and Kissinger. The first thing is to recognize that the brief period of American unipolar hegemony is over and it's never coming back.
Most importantly we need leaders who can plan ahead rather than just react, react, react, always a step behind and a day too late. Mastercard and Visa have ceased operations in Russia. What's the effect? Russia announces it will switch to China's UnionPay. All of the sanctions are driving Russia closer and closer to China. They will not save Ukraine--their primary effect on the domestic front is to make us feel better about being helpless. And on the world stage they bind two adversaries ever closer together.
Finally, an objective and unbiased summary of the last three decades. I was born and raised in USSR, came to US while it was still USSR burning all bridges and embracing my new homeland. I observed the American rhetoric 'from the distance' for years before even trying to draw my own conclusions - something all new immigrants should do - and reacted to all historical milestones exactly as Peter Savodnik presented in his essay. It is time for US accept the reality and start reassessing its global interdependence, military and economic, first of all. The rest of the world will never change and will always 'use' US without returning any love. Freedom and democracy cannot be dictated, they should come from within a culture.
A very well written article and I grew up then; serving in a Germany with a Wall in 1988 and then not in 1989. Then off to push Saddam out of Kuwait and then off to college pursuing my engineering degree.
I would like to point out the contrast missed in this article. "But he[Trump] had nothing to replace them with. He was blundering and polarizing. He made things worse." (completely untrue) while not mentioning one thing the Biden(and China, Russia, Iran, Turkey) has done to make things much worse in a single year.
Trump worked to make each region of the world self-dependent without billions in taxpayer aid - and they loved him for it as he treated them as adults rather than dependents. This includes Russia. He made us energy independent and cut the corporate tax rates in half leading to repatriation of our offshore capital($2T). These two things alone disrupted the Globalists so much - TRILLIONS of dollars - that they had to have him uninstalled(their words).
We are now back to the Clinton/W/Obama era of 'elitist' failure of grift(with Ukraine, Russia, Iran, etc.) and now they are using the police state(American intel agencies) against 'dissidents'. You should be very afraid, yet prepared for the next few years. And we are financing the destruction of Ukraine because our inhabitant of the White House has shut down American energy in favor of communist Greens in America and Russia.
Humans are tribal people. There can be no one world order. I hope creepy Klaus Schwab and his WEF autocrats have seen that now. He scares me as much as Putin.
“We can blame this on Putin or Xi Jinping or the North Koreans or this or that bad actor, but they are simply acting the way they have always acted. The problem is us. What has changed is not the barbarians of the world, but that we gave up on the justice of our cause.”
Yes - but I haven’t. I and many many others have not given up. What would be the benefit of such a navel-gazing attitude? To die beautifully and intentionally is not my end game.
It is an accepted truth, often sneered, that our adversaries (Russia, China, Iran,North Korea, Venezuela…)only recognize power. It is also a raw truth that we and our Allies also calculate our position by power. But we, unfathomably, have decided to concede in this existential fight. We have lost the inner strength for it. We are soft from riches. And so the decline of a short, bright period in world history.
The foreign policy apparatus of the United States considers it a holy truth that all people desire to live in liberal, democratic societies. That's what we say, but we don't mean it. What we really mean is that everyone must think and say and value what we think and say and value -- we must Americanize you to make you free.
For example, Hungary is treated as a pariah nation (threatened with being kicked out of the EU) because it passes a law regulating sexual content in children's books and media. For this, the West declares Victor Orban a theocratic dictator and the EU cuts off COVID aid. But there's nothing authoritarian or theocratic there. Orban faces an election in a few weeks (until recently it appeared he would lose it) and the very policies the EU is so upset about are being put to a referendum (by Orban's request). In other words, Hungary is democratic, but it's citizens are choosing things Western elites despise, so they must be demonized.
Another example, Afghanistan. We spent 20 years trying to make Afghanis think and behave like good liberal democrats. We even found some English-speaking, Kabel-living, Western-looking, women who wanted to wear miniskirts and own business to trumpet our success. But we never had the Afghan people. If you want to see why, watch the reaction of the woman at 30 seconds in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdrvpSfJM1w. Afghanis don't want a society where toilet seats are art (does anyone?)
A liberal here several week ago said: "What's the problem with a gay pride parade? No one is forced to march in one." She literally couldn't conceive that most traditional societies in the world don't want to have to make a choice whether to march in the gay pride parade; they want a society where there aren't gay pride parades.
It turns out in most of the world, democracy and liberalism are in tension. If you're a democrat first, the lack of gay pride parades shouldn't bother you. If you're a liberal first, than it does. But if your liberal impulse trumps your democratic one, you must acknowledge that you are an liberal authoritarian ("you will vote liberal, or I will lhurt you until you do" -- ala Hungary). America is currently a liberal authoritarian throughout the world. And the world is screaming "we've had enough".
I commend the author for his work. After a few misses recently, Bari, you just hit one out of the park.
This encapsulates the problem and that problem is human nature: “ It’s your frame of reference. Your frame of reference is America. But Russia does not want to be America. Russia exists in a parallel universe.””
What came along in North America at this time was the diversity ruse, which neatly coincides with globalization, which would increase the number of self-centered frameworks that would undermine any semblance of cohesion. Now as a white person if I act white around a brown person with a brown person framework I am “racist,” we have been forced into identities based on race and social class and nationalism has been demonized while it’s one thing that just might save us.
Wow! This is important stuff, Bari.
To this student of history, accustomed to stepping back for a broad view of events, this brilliant piece really catches my attention. I would graft one codicil onto his cautionary analysis: The Great Reset envisioned by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. That marriage of corporate wokeness and authoritarian government is well along to stamping out individual freedoms, even in America. Did you think Canada was immune to just what happened up there?
Bottom line: Our vote matters more than ever. So does finding the courage to speak truth to oppressive madness. In that vein, I am so grateful to those parents, mostly moms, who’ve been defiant at school board meetings. Theirs has been a finger in the dike. Whatever happens in Ukraine or elsewhere, it’s not too late to turn things around here.
I commend Mr. Savodnik for listing the future professions of the students in this article. Notice that they all go on to elite professions in fields like finance and tech? It's clear that they are living inside the bubble. It's unfortunate that due to the bubble they are unable to comprehend that others may have a viewpoint different than their own due to factors like country of origin, culture or class. It is insanely dangerous that due to the bubble they are unable to view the world in an unbiased fashion and are consequently unable to accurately analyze current events. That makes prediction impossible: they were blindsided by Trump and now they have been ambushed by Putin. Their response to both is completely reactive and short sighted. Despite what the article states for Trump the response was political opposition so hysterical that it has exponentially worsened domestic partisan conflict. For Putin it is sanctions that in the short term drive Russia into closer partnership with China and in the long term will drive those countries to devise new financial systems that will bypass US oversight and dilute American influence in world financial markets.
We need better leadership. The leadership class has proven to be incompetent, insular and ossified. An injection of new blood and new ways of thinking is critical given the new challenges the US will face in the coming years of a new Cold War.
"But man, proud man,
Dress'd in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd—
His glassy essence—like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal."
The other big question is will we, Sudentland-like cede the Baltic NATO members to Putin in return for an “agreement” to stop there?
Putin sees the US and the West as pre-occupied by ensuring that whatever gender hallucinations are being had by .05% are immediately appeased and that the skin color and actual gender of the next Supreme Court justice are more important than competence. While our military undergoes two weeks of Diversity & Inclusion training.
Could it be any easier?