By Ray Hanania
Much of what is happening in the world today is a direct result of the US political system collapsing into chaos. The country is deeply polarized and most Americans have gravitated to one of two extreme political sides, with few asserting a moderate, centrist view.
Angry discourses are exhibited by elected officials from the president down. Senators, governors and even local legislators have thrown themselves into heated and angry public diatribes in which there is no real discussion of the issue, only bullying of other people’s viewpoints.
Former President Donald Trump’s weakness when he was in office was his inability to take the high ground. Instead, he always chased the petty provocations from a biased mainstream news media, detouring him from some of his innovative programs and policies.
President Joe Biden, on the other hand, seems lost. He was once a sharp-witted political leader, but age has undermined that edge. And yet, despite that, he manages to protect his son, the controversial lobbyist Hunter Biden, who exploited his father’s clout to achieve financial heights.
Put all that together and you create a clear perception of deterioration, which raises comparisons with the fall of the Roman Empire — but at a faster pace.
The Roman Empire can trace its roots back to 753 B.C. and it collapsed the best part of 1,000 years later in the fifth century A.D. America may still have hundreds more years to go before a true comparison can be made, but it has never been closer to losing its position as the so-called leader of the free world than it is today.
America has long been the leader of a tight-knit geopolitical power balance known as “the West.” The power of the West has had much to do with the imposing authority of its news media, which for many years dictated perceptions across the globe. But a combination of the rise of the internet and social media, which has given every citizen the potential for an equal voice to world leaders, and a consolidation of the media that has seen it consumed by giant corporations with agendas other than chasing truth and fairness have undermined the foundations of the West’s ivory tower.
You cannot continue to be the leader of any world if your society erodes and your leadership is divided, indecisive and weak. Nor can you lead when the media you once touted as a powerful weapon of truth has been turned into an instrument of weaponized political partisanship, driven more by profits than principles. Free speech is dead in America and has been replaced by “loud speech.”
America has never been weaker in its relatively brief history than it is today. For example, Russian leader Vladimir Putin would never have invaded Ukraine if he believed that the West would have forcefully confronted him, meeting aggression with aggression. Instead, the response to Putin by Biden and the West was weak. That weakness was an invitation for Putin to pursue his aggressive goals, which are clearly intended to lead his country back to the old Soviet power structure that his predecessors abandoned in the hope of moving toward capitalism.
American influence in South America, Asia and Africa is also fading fast. The North Atlantic alliance that America leads is also not really a true alliance anymore, as NATO members break from its solidarity on many issues.
Israel’s government has, over the past two decades, been dominated by right-wing fanatics, but that fanaticism has soared to even greater heights over the past year, again as a result of Biden’s wishy-washy policies toward Israel and the Middle East.
Trump opened the door to this US collapse when he traded in America’s principles of fairness to pursue a new Middle East strategy that propped up Israel’s presence in the region without any real cost on the issue of Palestine. Once that happened, Israel’s government was ready for the opportunity to bury Palestine as an issue and push ahead with even more aggression.
The Middle East, which was once a client of the old Soviet Union, ultimately abandoned the Soviets in favor of pursuing new economic heights by partnering with the US. After all, America was, at that time, the “leader of the free world.”
Today, however, America is a wet paper bag filled with broken promises, compromised principles and politicians more concerned about their selfish internal political squabbles than their country’s fast-deteriorating role in the world around them.
The world today is one of great uncertainty. There is no real loyalty, just economic interests. The politicization of the American judicial system is fueling America’s downward trajectory.
So, who is on the horizon to run in the next presidential election who can change all this? Some say it might be Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the slain former US senator and nephew of hallowed former President John F. Kennedy. But can he really expect to beat Biden to the Democratic nomination for 2024?
Things are just going to get worse from the standpoint of American egos.