Russia, China, and the American Experiment

Something new is happening on the American political scene.  Self-identified conservative Americans, mostly younger conservatives, are open to the “influence” of Vladimir Putin, or at least the Russian stance on the Syrian civil war and in Eastern Europe.   Younger Americans do not have a personal history with the Cold War, no do they identify Russia with the “old” Soviet Union like many Boomers do.  While they see China as a self-identified “communist” state, they also see it as communist in name only.  There is no larger capitalist state in the world, the USA included. China’s government may be authoritarian, perhaps even totalitarian, but it is very far from a Marxist/communist state in any classical definition.Those with no education in political philosophy, as well as the “low information voter” may be forgiven for assuming that communist is simply another word for authoritarian, but it certainly doesn’t make it true.

Both Russia and China have a distinct advantage over the United States regarding reaction to fast-moving international situations.  Both nations can react at almost any speed required to take advantage of any international situation.  In the United States, not only is this not the case, but there is a great chance that opposition members within the government can actually stall or completely negate the ability of the government to act.  In the United States, we call these “checks and balances”, but are they?

Recently, one well-known political pundit stated on a nationally broadcast television news program that “(T)he Chinese are eating our lunch in the South China Sea and the Russians are doing so in the Middle East because the United States does not have a foreign policy”.  Think about that for a minute.  The greatest, presumably the richest and most militarily powerful in the world  does not have an effective foreign policy.  I will make no attempt to explore how this happened, as I probably do not have the life expectancy to complete such a mission.  Succinctly, our nation is devolving.  All nations do.  Some, like the Russian Federation, are born out of the devolvement of the Soviet Union and the chaos of unchecked capitalism that followed during the Yeltsin era. China could be said to have devolved and resurrected at least twice, once after the collapse of the Manchu Empire in 1911, and again with the death of Mao Zedong which opened the current era of state capitalism.  The United States of America has been in existence realistically since 1787.  While our civil war did tear the nation apart for four years, after its conclusion, there was no great change in government or society, except in the South.  No devolution or collapse took place.

The United States is now facing events that the nation has never faced before.  There is an almost 50/50 split between Americans who want the nation to remain, or return to, a nation that honors individual liberty and economic and religious freedom, and Americans who want a socialist state in which cradle-to-grave governmental services requires the death of classical individual liberty and the imposition of an atheistic, authoritarian regime.  “Equality” has become much more desired than liberty, even though it is the equality of the Left only.  There is no presumed or implied equality for non-Leftists.

the United States has often been referred to as the “American experiment”.  All experiments end – that is the nature of experiments.  The question is, what will our nation be reborn as?

 

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