By Dr. Edward Lozansky [originally published in The New Kontinent]
The phrase “The Emperor has no clothes” belongs to the folktale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, but variations of it have been adopted for use in many countries around the world. I’d leave it to economic, financial, and military experts to analyze what is going on in their respective fields, but when it comes to democracy and values, I have a feeling that this fairytale has become reality right here in the US.
These two words – “democracy” and “values” — which have been repeated non-stop by politicians and the media, are practically devalued. Politics in general is a cynical enterprise but nowadays when we have a deeply polarized society, when the majority on both sides believes that the government is taking the country in the wrong direction, hearing the repetitive messaging of the superiority of US democracy and values is pretty pathetic.
The Associated Press produced the multimedia series “Divided America” showing that “it’s no longer just Republican vs. Democrat, or liberal vs. conservative, rural vs. urban, climate change believers vs nonbelievers…. bathrooms have become battlefields, borders are battle lines, sex and race, faith and ethnicity … the melting pot seems to be boiling over.”
When it comes to values the recent Wall Street Journal – NORC at the University of Chicago poll shows a marked shift in American values over the last 25 years. Only 38% of Americans today say that “patriotism” is very important to them, compared to 70% in 1998. Only 39% say religion is very important, compared to 69% 25 years ago. The only priority that has grown in the past quarter century is money, which was cited as very important by 43% in the new survey, up from 31% in 1998. Another AP-NORC poll shows that 85% of U.S. adults say that things in the country are headed in the wrong direction.
What about foreign policy and Washington’s claim for the world’s leadership? What kind of democracy and values does the US promote? According to the conclusions of a study conducted by the Cost of Wars project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the American University the US waged and fueled wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan caused at least 4.5 million deaths. Nearly a million were on the battlefields, whereas some 3.6 to 3.7 million were indirect deaths, due to health and economic problems caused by the wars, such as diseases, malnutrition, and destruction of infrastructure. Over 38 million people have been displaced.
Note that this happened only in the 21st century. In the post-WW2 period of the 20th century, this policy brought an additional close to 7 million deaths, mostly in Southeast Asia, but not only over there.
Let us now look at the current war in Ukraine which has the potential to escalate into World War III and a nuclear holocaust. Here we are also told that this proxy war led by the US and NATO is about protecting Ukrainian democracy and supporting the aspirations of Ukrainians for Western values that Putin’s Russia is trying to crush.
Well, in February 2022 Russia did invade Ukraine and earlier in March 2014 it took over Crimea. It also supported the insurrections in the Donbas region against the new Ukrainian government installed as a result of the Washington-backed February 2014 coup.
The most frequent argument used by the official Washington is that all these actions have been “unprovoked,” but many representatives of what I call “The Other America” have a different opinion. Here is a short sample of the analyses by John Mearsheimer, Jeffrey Sachs, Benjamin Abelow representing academia circles, and Douglas Macgregor, Scott Ritter, Ray McGovern, Jim Jatras formerly with the US Army, Marine Corps, CIA, and the State Department respectively.
The summary can be expressed using Confucius’s “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them doing unto you.” Russia did what the US would have done had Moscow orchestrated a coup in Mexico, and installed a new regime that declared its intention to join an anti-American military alliance.
So, if you are to choose who to believe, would you select this new “Magnificent Seven” group or the official Washington consensus, and its media lackeys?
The Ukrainian tragedy could have been avoided if Bill Clinton and his successors in the White House hadn’t pursued a foreign policy based on the presumptuous vision that after the collapse of the USSR, the US had to dominate a unipolar world as the only superpower, where the interests of Russia, and of other regional powers could be largely ignored.
Donald Trump made a short-lived attempt to depart from that policy, but his repeated statements that “good US-Russia relations are good for America” earned him the label of “Putin’s agent” and launched endless accusations that destroyed his presidency.
The distinguished American diplomat George Kennan even before the collapse of the USSR, predicted that “were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
Kennan was right, but only partially, because after the Soviet Union left the world’s stage the military-industrial complex was augmented by armies of ideologues from the Deep State who took the front stage in formulating US foreign policy. They believed in America’s destiny to impose their post-modern Woke globalism on all of humanity.
Fukuyama who declared the end of history 30 years ago was wrong. What we witness now is a crisis of a civilizational character that is perpetrated by those who despite their dramatic failures, some of which might qualify as crimes and misdemeanors, still keep pushing the world to Armageddon.
“The Other America” and many countries of what is called “The Global South” see a different road that would benefit the United States, and the rest of the world through a win-win strategy based on mutual respect of interests of all rather than the hegemony of one. Which road would you choose?