The Need To Eliminate Parlous Consequences Of Acting On Belief -Only.
In an article in The Daily Telegraph of 19/8/21, entitled Decadence and overreach have brought down the American Empire, Allister Heath observes that ‘no empire is eternal: all eventually fall amid hubris and humiliation’; that the heart-wrenching humanitarian calamity that is the botched Afghan retreat is merely the latest sign that the American era is ending: Washington is no longer the world’s policeman, and an unsettling future of clashes between expansionist authoritarian regional powers beckons’; that ‘it is a far cry from the late 1980s/early 1990s when American global clout peaked’ with ‘the Reagan rebirth, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the termination of communism and its gulags, the rise of Silicon Valley and the invention of the internet, and the liberation of Kuwait’; that ‘these were the anni mirabiles of the US hegemon, the glory days of Pax Americana and the ending of humanity’s most turbulent century’; that ‘Hollywood held its head high and everyone wanted to be like America, vote like America, and consume like America – or so it seemed’; that the creation of the single market in 1992 was Europe’s attempt at imitating the USA’; that ‘the same year, China’s Jiang Zemin announced his epoch-defining “socialist market economy”; that ‘yet all of this, far from representing a settled consensus on the meaning of the good life and how to achieve it, was a cruel aberration, the high water mark of the American Idea’; and that ‘everything went wrong afterwards’; that ‘paradoxically, 9/11 itself didn’t take down the American empire’; that it ‘awoke a sleeping giant and triggered a ground swell of patriotism’; that ‘a different branching of history might have seen a massive retaliation culminating in the killing of Osama bin Laden’; but that this took a decade to achieve, with Pakistan, a supposed ally, harbouring bin Laden, and itself being evidence of America’s waning power’ which was further demonstrated by its long-term, half-hearted and ultimately catastrophically counterproductive attempt, at remodelling the Middle East’.
Allister Heath goes on to recall that ‘twenty years on, America’s global plan lies in ruins, its elites confounded on almost every issue’ and with its stupidity and incompetence being on display over the Afghan withdrawal confirming that it doesn’t understand the rest of the world and isn’t fit to govern itself let alone the globe’; that blinded by a simplistic universalism it no longer understands religion, tribalism, history, national differences, or why countries want to rule themselves’; that ‘wherever one looks, America’s blueprint has failed’; that to take the United States of Europe, for example, Allister Heath suggests that ‘America doesn’t understand that Brexit signalled the beginning of the end of that dystopian construct’; that others will leave the EU because of the coming migration crisis’; that ‘tens of millions will seek to move from Africa and the Middle East’; that ‘there will be toxic attempts at distributing migrants across the bloc’; and that this ‘will result in a populist uprising or economic implosion’; that ‘in the Middle East, every country touched by America is in chaos’; that ‘Afghanistan is back in the hands of the Taliban’; that Iraq is a nightmare’; that Syria was the scene of monstrous killings as the west looked on; that Libya is a calamity’; that the Clinton-backed Israel-Palestine plan failed’; that ‘the Gaza withdrawal merely emboldened anti -Semitic Hamas terrorists; that Biden’s administration is sucking up to Iran’s two-faced regime; that the former fails to see that the latter is intent on going nuclear and destroying Israel; that while the Gulf States are largely American protectorates, what will their fate be when oil demand collapses as a result of net zero; and that the Middle East woes have only just begun’.
Again, Allister Heath notes that ‘America’s retreat is equally spectacular in Asia’; that China has become rich and powerful thanks to capitalism in itself a triumph of American ideological expansionism’; but that China’s population is not clamouring for democracy’; that ‘China’s crackdown on entrepreneurs and other sources of independent power demonstrates its lethal seriousness and its intention to return to its own imperial past’; that China can no longer be contained’; that ‘it grabbed Hong Kong and will eventually turn to Taiwan’. He then asks ‘will America be dragged into a nuclear World War III? and ‘will that be how everything comes tumbling down?’, or ‘will America just walk away?’ and what about India and Pakistan?’ He concludes that ‘it is a mess’; that Pax Americana has achieved nothing of any significance bar saving Kuwait and ending conflicts in Yugoslavia over the last 30 years’ that ‘America’s internal problems are immense’; that ‘its constitution is broken’; that its predilection for second rate gerontocrats such as Biden is unrivalled’; that ‘its elites are in the grip of a bizarre “awakening” centred on a nihilistic, ungrateful self-loathing’; that it no longer has values to sell, neither capitalism, nor democracy, nor the American Dream’. Again, he asks ‘how can people who live in terror of “micro-aggressions” find it in themselves to defeat real evils?’ Yet again, he asks how can a public which doesn’t know about the rest of the world prevent the terminal decline of the US Empire’?
He then asks, could America’s interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have ever succeeded and as a Hayekian who believes that it is a Fatal Conceit that governments can successfully plan the world, he admits to be sceptical. However, he admits that the shock of 9/11 led him wrongly to believe that, just for once, a full-on imperialistic invasion might work and that liberal democracy and capitalism would spread through the invaded region; that America had done it in Japan with Douglas MacArthur and in Germany in World War II, so why not in Iraq?’ However, he now admits that this this would have required a massive number of ground troops far more than were thus deployed, a total take-over of society and decades of occupation, and would probably have failed anyway; and that consequently he has learned his lesson; that in practice, America should never again attempt state building; that change must be spontaneous and organic, or it is unsustainable; that threats from such as al-Qaeda or now Iran should be tacked vigorously and humanitarian interventions to prevent genocides are a must, but that full-on liberal imperialism inevitably backfires; that nonetheless, where the West has lost control, there will be mass population movements, currency wars and battles over natural resources; that the American empire at least believed in freedom and democracy; and that what replaces these won’t even pretend to be either. 24/8/21.