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Saturday, June 06, 2015

 

Waiting to be born.


Once the center falls apart, the parts will not go back together again. Think of the destruction that followed World War 1; the old empires shattered, the new tyrannies already in gestation. And shortly there arose the most violent, deadliest, most oppressive cultures in a millennium.

Shapeless Narrative


Maybe Europe hung up its shootin’ irons figuring that the sheriff would always be there. France and Germany went on a holiday from history, and armed with baguettes, struck east. Then one unexpected day, as in Ferguson and Baltimore, trouble ensues and the distraught residents as ever call the cops. And they wait and they wait and they wait. And no one comes.

There is a chaos abroad, one growing so complete even the narratives put forward don’t make sense. President Obama told an audience of community leaders from ASEAN that his administration has restored the Untied States as the “the most respected country on earth.”


People don’t remember, but when I came into office, the Untied States in world opinion ranked below China and just bareley above Russia, and today once again, the Untied States is the most respected country on earth. Part of that I think is because of the work we did to reengage the world and say we want to work with you as partners with mutual interests and mutual respect. It was on that basis we were able to end two wars while still focusing on the very real threat of terrorism and try to work with our partners in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s the reason why we are moving in the direction to normalize relations with Cuba and the nuclear deal that we are trying to negotiate with Iran.


Perhaps the president really does believe this, or is there in his dogged insistence something bordering on madness? The American presidency, was in its own way one of the last examples of a functioning monarchy. Other countries have had dysfunctional monarchs in their history but possessed institutional workarounds to deal with them.

But America has no office of regent; no way, short of impeachment or removal from office, of governing with a mad king. Thus the Western world is at present leaderless, in a holding pattern, waiting for a new narrative to emerge, collectively holding its breath. The new narrative may come from the presidential election of 2016 or from somewhere else — such as out of the East, or Russia or China — if as seems unthinkably possible, that not only Obama but America has ceased to matter.

Some, like John McCain, still seem to think that a restoration after the career of king Barry has run its course will suffice to bring back the old days. But elect one decent Republican president and all will be back in the groove again. Yet this is unlikely to happen. Just as mad King George III lost America forever, so too has the current occupant of the White dismantled the post-World War 2 order.

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