26 July 2020   Leave a comment

Reading newspapers from other countries is always a very useful exercise. The US media has a number of ideological blinders that make self-examination nearly impossible. Crispin Hull has written an opinion piece from the Canberra Times in Australia, one of the US’s closest allies. His analysis of the US is searing:

“Look at the US now. Its president is so psychiatrically disordered with narcissism that he is incapable of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in a coherent, empathetic way. Everything he says and does is through a prism of himself. He has now turned his whole re-election campaign into one of race hate, law and order and a bizarre invention of a threat from ‘left-wing fascists’.

“But worse, the US seems to have a national self-delusion that once Trump loses and is gone, everything will return to normal. The delusion extends to a belief that the COVID-19-stricken economy will bounce back to normal in a V shape.

“Trump is as much just a symptom of the underlying rottenness as an integral part of it, even if his sucking up to authoritarian leaders in Russia, China and North Korea is unprecedented….

“Tragically, American exceptionalism – ‘we are the first and best democracy on Earth’ – contributes to the self-delusion of indestructibility. There is nothing automatically self-correcting in US democracy. Even the so-called checks and balances are not working – they are causing gridlock, rather than adding a bit of mild caution to a system that is overall supposed to be geared to problem-solving, not political point-scoring.

“The system has become so warped that those disenfranchised, disempowered and disenchanted are taking to the streets, questioning the legitimacy of the whole system.

“The only question is whether the taking to the streets can break these vicious circles, or whether it is just another step in the decline and fall of a great power.”

Hull is unquestionably correct that the damage to the political institutions of the US over the last three and a half years will last long after Trump leaves the scene. We should avoid thinking that a different President will be able to restore the Republic quickly and easily.

Posted July 26, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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