I think we can all agree that the empire that some once did and some still would call the Good Empire is not what it once was. The United States, synonymous with the Good Empire, is having an increasingly tough time holding itself together internally because of growing governmental authoritarianism and rebellion; and abroad has entwined itself so deeply in a mesh of security guarantees to a mind-boggling array of allies — and I use the term ally loosely — that one could say we are like the universe, always and ever more rapidly expanding, and at the same time we are like a supernova, collapsing in on itself. It’s hard to say if the falling apart of our mega-nation is being accelerated more from within than from without. Or whether the two feed on one another.
I’d like to start at home, since that is where I hang my hat. At home, that pesky IRS scandal grows larger every day. The ideological rabble who cooked up ways to abuse government power for ideological ends should be wetting their panties, if they wear them. I am very hopeful that we are on the way to prison sentences for more than one of those who conspired against the US Constitution. When left-wing blatherers start ridiculing the lameness of IRS excuses for its various and pervasive sins you know it’s serious. And guys like Bill Maher and Chris Matthews make big bucks. If the Republicans take back the major instruments of power with the Democrats’ fixes to the nation’s governance intact, things like the “nuclear option,” it will be pay-back time. I say that because, left or right, you can always count on the true-blues to take advantage of any loopholes for their ideological advantage. And what the Democrats are leaving behind aren’t loopholes, they are barn doors.
If you can’t silence a scandal, it will only grow. Like Dracula, it needs a stake through the heart as quickly as possible. And let’s give credit where credit is due: the IRS is trying with all its might to silence the scandal and kill the story, but it’s losing the battle. I think the longer this goes on the more it will seem obvious to the general public that the White House was (is) involved directly in the targeting of political opponents by agencies of the US government. Meanwhile, Homeland Security (I scoff) has given up on trying to keep anybody out of the US or to take back border territory now in the hands of foreign forces, temporarily the drug cartels but not far in the future no doubt Al Qaeda. We are being inundated in humiliating fashion by underage youths carrying Hello Kitty packs turning themselves in and getting Oreos and chocolate milk, a clean bed and a medical exam. Wow, right there their lives have improved about three hundred percent. But ours haven’t. The US government targets Red State governors for punishment when they don’t go along to get along. Just ask Jan Brewer of Arizona, who has been taught a real lesson by Barack Obama. He has a whole slew of federal agencies and regulators to choke her and her state with, and he doesn’t mind using them.The Tea Party is the part of the iceberg the autocrats and totalitarians can see, but below the surface is such a deep well of mistrust, anger and resentment that anything is possible. Americans don’t believe anything the government says anymore; they don’t think it is working for their best interests or America’s. Today we are totally dumbfounded by a president so grotesquely incompetent that the whole world titters behind its hands, when when it isn’t laughing outright.
In foreign policy, I couldn’t possibly have put it better than Bret Stephens did in the WSJ today, counting all the disasters that have begun (and just begun) unfolding over the past year and all around the world where the US and its NATO lackeys (my description) have deigned to intervene on behalf of humanity, or in Stephens’ view, failed to intervene. He didn’t even go back farther to the earlier blunders under these Bozos. I would give Obama credit for not dragging us into another war without a plan in Syria, but more recently he has tried to recoup prestige lost in the morass of the Ukraine by promising to consider putting the US military in charge of the effort to unseat legally-elected Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, so that’s a no-go. I would give him credit for not trying to provoke a global war with Russia or China despite the challenges from these two aspiring rivals for global power, but I know in my heart it is only because even the most bone-headed know it would end up a nuclear war. It’s nice to see some evidence that MAD — mutually assured destruction — still has the power to persuade. (Another reason countries like Iran want the nuclear weapon, concretely and in a multiplicity.) Even as the US finds itself in the midst of crisis on every front, the most recent Pew Research Center poll conducted for the Council on Foreign Relations shows that 52 percent of Americans — the highest percentage in the last 40 years — think the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along as best they can on their own. Evidently they don’t want to see America being, in the old phrase, the policeman of the world. Hear, hear.
The final insult for any thinking human being is that the woman most deeply involved in some of the worst foreign policy decisions, one Hillary Rodham Clinton, is running with some chance of victory for the US presidency. It galls me to think the Democrats are so contemptuous of US public opinion that they would put as their choice as US president a woman who is an interventionist, a bully, and totally devoid of common sense on the international stage. She thought the lives of US personnel in Libya were safe without security, and disappeared after Ambassador Stephens’ death for months to avoid all that ugly publicity. She is a woman who takes the truth lightly, who hid subpoenaed evidence, and who communes with Eleanor Roosevelt. And because she represents not a swing to the center for the Democrats, but more of the same and worse, the Republicans are also pushing to the edges with their own choices, where the voices calling for resistance are loudest and most effective. Americans are nearly coming to blows.
And of course — Americans love a winner. And if there is one thing Barack Obama is not, outside of presidential elections, it is a winner. He has dragged the US down in the eyes of the world even deeper than George Bush did. Even if they don’t pay much attention to foreign affairs, Americans know when their country is on a winning streak and when it’s on a losing streak. Even as the US polarizes and pushes at its seams with repressed rage, the nation’s esteem abroad sinks, its obligations balloon, and its willingness to fight weakens. The challengers smell blood in the water. Don’t expect their audacity to diminish.