There is something deranged about U.S. politics that continually seeks to find foreign “enemies” who are purportedly hellbent on destroying America.
As the United States heads towards the inauguration of Joe Biden next week to become the 46th president of the republic, the nation is gripped by a foreboding sense of civil violence erupting.
Some 20,000 troops have been deployed in Washington DC to protect government buildings from assault. There are more U.S. soldiers taking up defensive positions in the American capital city than there are currently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined. Both the White House and the Capitol building – where the Congress sits – are ring-fenced with steel and concrete barriers. Images of heavily armed National Guardsmen camped on the floor of the Capitol evoke an inescapable atmosphere that this nation – and the very heart of its government – is under siege. Under siege, that is, from America’s own citizens.
It’s hard to convey the unprecedented circumstances that the United States finds itself in. The outgoing Republican President Donald Trump has been impeached this week (for the second time) based on allegations he incited a violent insurrection against the government on January 6 when thousands of his supporters invaded the Capitol to interrupt the electoral process certifying Democrat President-elect Joe Biden.
The partisan hatred across the U.S. has reached the point where Democrat lawmakers fear that some of their Republican counterparts are willing to facilitate kidnappings and assassinations. Among Trump’s voter base are white supremacists and Neo-fascists who openly proclaim that the “only good Democrat is a dead one”.
It is no exaggeration to say that the United States has not seen such bitter divisions since the Civil War (1861-65). The dissonance is so vast it is almost beyond words and any kind of shared dialogue. There is collapse in common trust and consensus. And that is corrosive of governing institutions and legitimacy. Trump and many of the 74 million people who voted for him on November 3 are convinced that the election was rigged to favor Biden. There is no credible evidence to substantiate that belief. But those who subscribe to the view are resolute in their opinion. On the other hand, for the 81 million who voted for Biden, there is angry disgust that Trump and his supporters have rejected the democratic process and are recklessly pushing the country to the brink of all-out conflict.
In an extraordinary statement this week, the Pentagon’s top generals warned all troops to obey the Constitution and to fulfill their duty to oversee the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Biden. That remarkable statement underscores just how precarious the situation is right now for the United States.
Federal security services are on high alert for armed insurrection in the coming days from myriad rightwing militia groups. These groups like Trump and his voter base are of the belief that the election was stolen by Democrats in cahoots with deep state organs and corporate media. Again, there is no evidence for such a contention which is more speculative and conspiratorial than fact-based. The courts have unanimously dismissed flimsy claims. Recounts have validated results. And while corporate news media are often misinforming on many occasions and issues, sometimes even they can get it right.
A surreal video report aired on U.S. media this week was that of Vice President Mike Pence reviewing troops stationed on the streets of Washington. With avuncular bonhomie, Pence was heard ginning the soldiers up as if they were going into battle in some far-flung overseas war. Trump’s second-in-command assured that there would be a “peaceful transfer of power” on inauguration day next Wednesday.
This is an astounding revelation of how gravely in turmoil the United States is.
Meanwhile, U.S. media reports absurdly claim that Russia is behind the latest political crisis in America. Television news channel CNN headlined in an online newsletter that it was “mission accomplished” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other politicians and pundits declared that the political crisis in the U.S. is “a gift for Putin”.
This is insane and contemptible. For the last four years since Trump was elected in 2016, there has been a relentless media campaign accusing Russia of interfering in U.S. politics. The Democrats and their media supporters as well as large sections of the deep state and intelligence apparatus peddled the absurd notion that Russia had enabled Trump to win the presidency. Then in 2020 when “their man” Biden won the ballot all of a sudden the mantra of Russian meddling in elections disappeared. How irrational is that! And how telling it is of the bogus “Russiagate” nonsense that the Democrats and media had wasted four years spewing to the nation. Republicans may have undermined the 2020 election, but the Democrats undermined the 2016 cycle. There is a plague on all their houses.
Nevertheless, the Russian bogeyman is still invoked whenever Americans try to explain the dire political mess that their country is in. It’s not just Russia. There is something phenomenally deranged about U.S. politics that continually seeks to find foreign “enemies” and “evildoers” who are purportedly hellbent on destroying America. If it’s not Russia, then it’s China, and so on and so on. What is this xenophobia and jingoism about? It betrays a lack of confidence in their own political system where citizens must be corralled by fear of foreign enemies. It is also the addiction of militarism and the military-industrial complex that is so essential to prop up American capitalism and its imperialist ambitions for hegemonic dominance over the rest of the world. It is also a cover for the inherent failures of American politics to deliver on the material and spiritual needs of the nation.
This is the ultimate scapegoating and destructive denial over endemic U.S. problems. Those problems are topped by the vast social and economic inequality that has been presaged by decades of neoliberal capitalism overseen by both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties seem unwilling or incapable of understanding what needs to be fixed in a fundamentally broken system. The rise of Trump was something of a diversion from addressing the root problem. And blaming Russia for ongoing problems is also another futile diversion. This systemic denial of reality by the American political class is why the U.S. crisis will continue to deteriorate because blaming everyone else but itself avoids the necessary ways and means to fix it.
In any case, there is no top-down solution from a supposed self-enlightenment among elites. The solution will require mass popular mobilization for democratic rights. But in order to gain the necessary political direction, the futile mentality of Russophobia, Sinophobia, Iranophobia, and so on, must be expunged.
The truth is Russia and the rest of the world would welcome a peaceful and prosperous democracy prevailing in the United States.
International relations could then be conducted with mutual respect and cooperation, and the world would be a much safer, more peaceful place. As it is, however, the internecine turmoil in the United States under its failing capitalist system is a clear and present danger to itself and the rest of the world.