The decline of America.
I have suffered for a long time from a case of love affair with the United States, and I'm not the only one. When I was departing from Manhattan, almost a year ago, the cab driver told me his story of going to France, getting evicted from there, mostly from despair, and then finding in the States almost a Paradise. I have had the same feeling, for I have never been so welcomed, so gently treated, as by Americans (not even in my homeland, Portugal).
And however, I think America is dying. For me, the central event seems to be located somewhere in Clinton's failure to assume his own affairs. Had he done that, the rise of political loath would never have gained such heights. But it did, and politics, as strongly as ever, become a scam, a way to get to power, with nothing that even resembles what really goes on, or what really is at stake. Americans have preferred appearances over reality, nice good looking faces instead of good hearts. They entered into 'publicity mode' seeing only what is at surface, forgetting what is 'really' important.
This lead to George W. Bush, this lead to shaggy administration, this lead to security faults, this lead to the attacks, this lead to a gargantuan lie. And the lie is: "it's all their fault". A jumble of guys used US facilities to learn how to fly US airplanes, and then, armed with razor blades, they destroyed the lives of thousands of people. There were hints and allegations, briefings and alerts, nothing was done, while relations in the Middle East deteriorated. Couldn't the most advanced nation on earth protect more its powerful technology?
But no! It wasn't the CIA (or Bush, who, we have learned later on, ignored increasing threats of terrorist attacks). No! Bin Laden was the unique goal and, as a result of this lie, everybody else was just perfect, so long as they were after him. Bin Laden was everywhere in the news, whereas Bush was also in the news. Demagogy and TV made one the devil, the other the saint, depending on which side of the world you were. It doesn't matter. Both of them are men of war, they use fear to achieve their ends. We now know that Bush's strategy is to maintain peace through a dictatorial leadership (i.e. leadership through the use of weapons) not only over America but all over the world. As Bush himself has stated on September 17, 2002, in a thirty-page document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States.":
"Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States." (source, cached)
But what about a dictator coming from the US, where will be the power of other countries to stop dictatorship both in the US and abroad? What could maintain democracy except equilibrium of forces? What is democracy without the will to share power and seek compromise? It would perhaps be expected that Democrats would not go along in this lunatic campaign that might well puts us all on the track of yet another global war. But no! It's election time, time to feed on votes, and democrats are afraid of not staying there with their President, so that voters might be angry and they might loose power.
It's all a matter of power for most of them. But power does not come directly from elections, only indirectly, because what gains voters, at least in the long run, are 'principles', like the pursuit for truth, and moral values. Bush has none. He is honestly trying to be a hero, to be the best he can, for America's sake. But he has no global perspective, he does not even slightly understand that, from a moral point of view, 'there are no Americans', there is no 'me', there are just people. Some who suffer, some who cry, some who can help, some who do, some who don't. By trying to be the savior of his own people against everyone else he fits the garments of Bin Laden, but that is something he will probably only understand, if ever, in many years from now. As things stand by now, a war would be the best Bush could have, it seems unlikely for him to have high poll rates in any other way.
America is dying. I love America. I loved America. I still love the principles, I can't stand the demagogy.
Let us hope that there will be light on the Southern hemisphere. In the upcoming centuries America and Europe will probably not go that much further. We are poisoned by too much TV.
Sept 22, 2002