Like Gregor Samsa, the never-to-be-forgotten character in Franz Kafka’s storyThe transformation“We woke up on January 7th to find that we too were“ a giant insect ”with“ a dome-like brown belly divided into stiff, arched segments ”and numerous“ pitifully thin ”legs that were“ helpless ”in front of us waved to our eyes, but if you prefer, you can just say: we opened our eyes and realized that we have somehow become a giant cockroach of a country.
Yeah, I know Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in charge now, waving wildly with their own little limbs do some of what needs to be done for this sad country of troubled, over-armed, sick and sick people To die. But anyone who’s seen the scenes of the Floridians to celebrate A Super Bowl win largely exposed and cheered, shoulder to shoulder in the streets of Tampa, can’t help but realize that we are now, in fact, a cockroach nation that is still the richest, most pandemic exposed on planet Earth .
But don’t just blame Donald Trump. Granted, we’ve just gone through the Senate trial and acquittal of the biggest political cockroach. I’m talking about the president who while discovering that his Vice President was in danger “executed“(“Hang Mike Pence!“) And was rushed out of the Senate when a mob settled on him and promptly tweeted,” Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution. “
Introduce yourself. The veep who – if you don’t mind mixing my creature metaphors here – had been sentenced to president for four endless years, was then sentenced to a working death sentence by the same man. You can’t dive much deeper into the personal roachdom. My point here, however, is that our all-American version of the cockroach was a long time coming.
Or to put it another way: unimaginable what Donald could have looked like back then descended this Trump Tower escalator closed in June 2015 hail His future “great, great wall” condemned Mexican “rapists” and tried to apprentice an entire country. It ended up in the Oval Office for a reason. He was the symptom, not the disease, though what a symptom it would be – and when it came to disease, what a nightmare that cannot be imagined.
Let’s face it, whether we fully understand the fact or not, we are now living in a system, as well as a country, that is visibly at an early stage of decay. And there’s a remarkable story about the story that plays out at warp speed, like in less than three decades the USS Companies of the Imperial Powers was converted into the USS roach.
Once upon a time on earth …
Go back to 1991 for a moment, almost two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the Soviet Union finally imploded and the Cold War officially ended. Imagine if you could have shown that to the Americans back then – especially the political class in Washington 13 minute video of Trump statements and tweets intertwined with Capitol mob actions used by the Democratic House impeachment executives in their opening salvo against the former president. Americans – almost every one of us – would have thought we were watching the most absurd science fiction, or perhaps the least realistic black comedy imaginable.
In the thoroughly complacent (if somewhat surprised) Washington of 1991, the triumphalist capital of the “last superpower”, this video would have shown a president, an insurgent mob and an endangered congress that nobody would have thought possible – not in almost another 30 years, not a century, not an American future. On the other hand, if you had tried to convince anyone in this country in 1991 that a walking Ponzi scheme like Donald Trump would have been charged no less twice, you would have been laughed out of the room.
After all, this country had just become the ultimate superpower in history, the last ever. Left alone on this planet, it had an unparalleled military and economy that was the heartland of a globalized system and the envy of the world. The earth was – or at least for the political class of this moment – ours for capture, but certainly not for defeat, not in any imaginable future. The question was then not asked they out but us in. No “big, thick, beautiful walls“We are needed. After all, Russia was a wreck. China was still emerging economically from the hell of the Maoist years. Europe was dependent on the United States, and what else needs to be said when it comes to the rest of the world?”
This was simply an American planet.
In hindsight, consider the irony. At that time there was talk of a “peace dividend” after the Cold War. Who would have thought that dividends of any kind would increasingly climb below the first 1 percent and that almost 30 years later this country would be functionally a plutocracy, overseen by a self-appointed until a month ago Multimillionaire? Who would have thought that the American version of a peace dividend would have been skimmed off from more billionaires than anywhere else on earth and that inequality would reach in the same years historical heights, while poverty and hunger just grown? Who would have thought that the peace dividend wouldn’t go to the ultra-rich? go to a growing national security state and the arms-making industrial complex that surrounded it? Who would have thought that in official Washington after the Cold War, peace would turn out to be the last thing anyone thought, even though this country seemed almost disarmingly hostile? (Remember, if the worst combination of enemies imaginable, a dreaded “axis of evil“Would Iraq, Iran and North Korea turn out to be contested, clearly tertiary powers?)
Who would have thought that a military would consider incomparable (and financed to this day gladly no one else) would war after war, literally decades of conflict, and yet – apart from the quasi-triumph of the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – win in none of them? graduation Trillions of taxpayer dollars would be spent on them while these billionaires were given immeasurable tax breaks. Frankly, who would have thought then that Washington, even six presidents later, would prove incapable of ending the fight on a planet without significant enemies?
Who would have thought that in September 2001 it was not Russia or Communist China but a tiny group of militant Islamists led by a wealthy Saudi extremist that the United States had once secured would send 19 kidnappers (mostly Saudi) to attack the United States directly? They would, of course, cause death and chaos and enable President George W. Bush to begin a nearly 20 year “global war on terror” that is still showing no sign of an end. Who would have thought that after these 9/11 terrorist attacks, the son of the man who led the first Gulf War (but who no longer felled Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein) and the top officials in his government would come to? Do you think the world was its oyster and that the United States should dominate the Great Middle East and possibly the planet in ways previously unimaginable? Who would have thought that he would invade Iraq (after doing so a year and a half earlier in Afghanistan) to spread Islamic extremism far and wide while creating an endless disaster for that country?
Who would have thought that after a major recession at home in 2009, the next President, Barack Obama, would have a massive “TorrentFrom armed forces to Afghanistan, a war that is already eight years old? Tens of thousands of new troops, not to mention contractors, CIA activists and others, would be sent there with no weak way of arranging things.
Until November 2016, when an outdated electoral system gave Hillary Clinton the referendum, but Donald Trump, a man who promised to end this country’s “endless wars” (he did not do it) In the Oval Office it should have been obvious that something was going wrong on the yellow brick road leading to imperial glory. By then, for a surprising number of Americans, this had become a land of grotesque inequality and lack of opportunity. And many of them would actually prove willing to use their voices to broadcast a message to the country about their desire to trump this very reality.
From there, of course, it would be anything but a yellow brick road until January 6, 2021 if the President had this without a Wizard of Oz in sight declined Following the results of the 2020 election, a mob would storm the Capitol. All of this, and the subsequent impeachment fiasco, would reveal the functional definition of a failing democracy in which the old rules no longer apply.
Leaving the superpower phase of history
And of course, I have to mention the obvious – the still endless nightmare that engulfed the country in early 2020 and which, I suspect, will one day be seen as the true end point for a strikingly shortened American century. I am thinking, of course, of Covid-19, the pandemic that has ravaged the country, infected and killed tens of millions of Americans Hundreds of thousands in a way not found anywhere else on the planet. It would even be for a while fell A president who wreaked havoc and deepening division in exposed parts of the country, filled with civilians armed to the teeth, implicated in conspiracy theories, and on the verge of who knew what.
Call it a mark from the gods or whatever you will, but call it startling. Imagine a disease that the last superpower handled so much worse than countries with remarkably fewer resources. Think of it as a kind of judgment, if not an epitaph, of this very superpower.
Or to put it another way, less than 30 years after the Soviet Union left history, we live in a country that, strangely enough, was intent on achieving the same outcome – a crippled country led by a 78-year-old president who has its system under terrifying pressure and obviously starting to fall apart at the seams. One of their political parties is unrecognizable; Your presidency has been deprived of a fully functioning Congress and is growing Imperial in the nature; its economic system plutocratic; his military still fight over significant parts of the planet while a possible new cold war with a rising China is apparently on the horizon; and all of this on a planet that, apart from this global pandemic, is itself visible in the world deepest anger.
At the end of Kafka’s classic story, Samsa, now a giant insect with a rotting apple in its back, dies in the cockroach hell, albeit in his own room with his parents and sisters nearby. Is the same fate imminent in some way for the American superpower?
In a way, in the Trump and Covid-19 years, the United States was indeed exposed as a cockroach superpower on a planet that – again excuses the mixed animal metaphors – will excuse the dogs. The expected all-American Age of Power and Glory has not been weak as envisioned in 1991, not in a country that has shown remarkably little evidence of having grappled with what those years really meant .
Centuries after the beginning of the modern imperial age, it obviously ends in hell that Biden and his crew cannot stop, even if, unlike the previous president, they have no intention of completely destroying this country. Even so, Trump or Biden, it couldn’t be more clear at this point that we need a new way to think about and be on our increasingly cockroach infested planet.