YAHAPALANA AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Part 16
Posted on October 10th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

United States rose to prominence after World War II. USA and Russia thereafter fought a Cold War which neither won. When the Cold War with Russia ended abruptly in 1991 the USA became the world’s sole super-power.

Throughout the 1990s, the USA reigned supreme. The USA had the best army, air force, and navy. No other country could rival it. It became a global policeman.  The USA divided up the globe into different ‘combatant commands’, such as the Pacific command (now Indo-Pacific Command) with each Command taking orders from a single officer. USA’s powerful 7th Fleet dominated the Pacific Ocean.

The USA thought it would continue to rule the world forever, ‘American leadership is good for the world’, it said.  Instead, Russia and China are now coming into the picture, making the world multipolar.” USA’s powers are now decreasing in comparison.  America’s military advantage vis-à-vis China and Russia is eroding admitted USA. It is the superpowers in decline that are often the most dangerous, warned analysts.”

The USA is no longer an admired and feared country. The notion that the USA is a shining example of democracy was always utter nonsense. No country is able to show a perfect democracy, ever, and the USA was no exception. But now it has got worse. The USA has been declared a flawed democracy.

According to the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. is ranked 25th out of 165 sovereign independent countries, reported the media. The Democracy Index defines a flawed democracy as a democracy where despite free and fair elections as well as civil rights and liberties there are significant weaknesses” in other democratic characteristics such as problems in institutional governance, a poor political culture, and lower levels of political participation in public life. The USA has experienced government shutdowns, low voter turnout and a lack of electoral reform, it said.

 The United States is ranked as a flawed democracy alongside countries such as Portugal, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Israel, Taiwan, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. This is not the first time the United States has been criticized for its current political status. A study by Princeton University in 2014 showed that the USA is now an oligarchy where the elite, not the average citizen, has the power and influence, said the media. 

The notion of the USA as a supporter of free speech and other wonderful freedoms is now questioned. There is the example of Julian Assange of Wikileaks and US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The USA wants Assange punished for leaking secret American documents. He was arrested under a US extradition warrant kept the secret till now. TIME says Snowden wants to return to the US but does not believe he will get a fair trial.

The USA is not as liberated and as socially advanced as it thinks it is. Roe vs Wade” is still not completely accepted. Alabama recently passed the nation’s most extreme abortion bill, reported TIME. It would ban abortion almost entirely in the state and make it a felony to perform an abortion.   There is a great discrepancy between the salaries paid to men and those paid to women for doing identical jobs in the USA.  American women have now started complaining.

There is race prejudice. The African American is still discriminated against. Every black person knows that no amount of accomplishment or wealth can exempt him from racial prejudice,” reported Time. They are prevented from voting at elections. Michelle Obama said in her book ‘Becoming” that it was estimated that about 400,000 African Americans in the state of Chicago were eligible to vote but were still unregistered. For those registered, racists try to figure out which polling booths to close so that they would have difficulty getting to one, added TIME.

 People will stop for a stray dog before they will stop for a black child alone in the middle of the day’ said Kamala Harris. A white teenager who kills is a good kid who deserves a second chance, but a black teenager who commits the same crime should be locked up for life.

There is violence, shown worldwide in the numerous mass shootings in US schools and elsewhere. The justice system is not perfect.In 2018, 151 persons were cleared of convictions for crimes they did not commit. This group had served an average of 10 years in jail. In the USA despite the law, it is the prosecutor who decides. He will decide to put sex workers in jail while letting their customers off.

There is corruption, such as Chicago’s famous cronyism, where the most lucrative city contracts are awarded to favored persons. A study of international corruption cases in 2012 found that most of the shell companies used to hide financial crimes were from America. Also that the most secretive shell companies are in America. They are very easy to set up in the US. When US Congress suggested corporate transparency legislation, it was shot down.

There is a poverty of sorts. An entire generation of USA has come of age without having seen US prosperity, said TIME in April 2019. And there was a shared sense among them that they had been screwed”. Farm bankruptcies are increasing in USA said CNN in September 2019. Certain categories of low paid workers, such as waitresses, live on tips. The management openly asks customers to tip them. That is a part of the US economic system.

The US economy is no longer the best in the world. It lost its lead 15 years ago. Industrial production has collapsed in the US. The US no longer leads in the manufacture of durable goods. Electric and electronic items, which were originally produced in the US, are now produced in other countries such as China. As manufacture decreased, so did the job, resulting in unemployment. Since the US now has to import these goods, there is a trade deficit as well.

R&D expenditure has shrunk significantly over the last few decades, said TIME. Once the world leader in R&D the US now ranks 12th in government-funded R&D as a Percentage of GDP. China, on the other hand, is heavily funding basic research.

  12 American universities are listed among the best-ranked universities in the world, but secondary education is not always excellent. There was a teacher strike in Los Angeles in January 2019, due to a lack of education funding. They demanded better school funding, smaller class sizes, and higher pay.

Apparently, the CIA, America’s well-known spy service, had an agent right inside the Kremlin.CIA said that they had never been able to penetrate the Kremlin, but this chap came to them and offered to spy for them. This spy had access to the highest levels of the Kremlin, including access to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s papers. He had sent secrets to Washington for decades. This spy had refused to leave Russia but was eventually taken out, due to security fears, and now lives in Washington DC. The US has lost a nearly irreplaceable asset, wept CIA. Recruiting a source with key access is extremely hard. A source in a key position may happen once a generation, if ever. The chap was probably a plant.

CIA has also tried to get birds and dolphins to spy on Russia. Dolphins were tried out to see whether they could be trained to spy on Russian submarines and place explosives on vessels. Pigeons were trained to take pictures of a Soviet shipyard building nuclear attack submarines. Some snapped perfect photos, but others flew out, with expensive cameras attached, and never returned. CIA also planned to smuggle a bird into Russia where it would be released secretly in the field, tasked to fly 25 kilometers carrying a camera to snap pictures of radar for SA-5 missiles, and fly back. This plan did not succeed either. The pigeon project was abandoned as unreliable.

USA‘s foreign relations have been heavily criticized. USA’s foreign policies and actions are completely authoritarian or even dictatorial, said Laksiri Fernando. The USA does not want a partnership, but subjugation or submission.  USA’s first target was Latin America. The USA has engaged in direct military interventions in most of the countries of Latin America,  throughout the years making Latin America a region of political instability and economic chaos, Fernando said.

But the USA did not confine its attention only to Latin America. Between 1945 and 2005 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US has caused the deaths of several million people and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair,   said, critics. The best-known defeat is that of Vietnam.

When  the UN General assembly started its 74th session in September 2019, Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov wrote a piece to ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ magazine, (20 September 2019.) Here are some of the things he said.

  • Their [west] rhetoric on liberalism, democracy, and human rights goes hand in hand with the policies of inequality, injustice, selfishness and a belief in their own exceptionalism‘
  • West focuses on individuals and their rights and freedoms. How does this [fit in with] economic strangulation and overt military threats against a number of independent countries such as Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Syria? The reckless Arab Spring gamble destroyed the unique ethnic and religious mosaic in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • After centuries of economic, political and military domination the west is losing the prerogative of being the only one to shape the global agenda. This has given rise to the concept of a ‘rules-based order.’ These ‘rules’ are being invented by the west and introduced into everyday usage and are actively being implemented. Its purpose is to replace the universally agreed international legal instruments and mechanisms and usurp the decision-making process.
  • This ‘rules-based order’  is intended to affect the powers of the UN Security Council. When the United States and its allies failed to convince the Security Council that the Syrian government was using prohibited toxic substances they started to promote the ‘rules’ they needed through the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 
  • One can also observe similar attempts to ‘privatize’ the secretariats of international organizations in order to advance interests outside of the framework of universal intergovernmental mechanisms. The interventionist ideology of ‘responsibility to protect’, R2P, which justifies violent ‘humanitarian interventions’ without UN Security Council approval under the pretext of an imminent threat to the safety of civilians is part of the same policy
  • This concept provides for direct outreach to civil society over the head of legitimate governments. Obviously, the true goal is to withdraw counterterrorism efforts from beneath the UN umbrella and to obtain a tool of interference in the internal affairs of states. The introduction of such new concepts is a dangerous phenomenon, which rejects the principles of international law embodied in the UN Charter. This a new divide between ‘the rules-based liberal order’ and ‘authoritarian powers’ paves the way back to the times of confrontation and antagonism.
  • Yet another example is Washington’s open refusal to implement unanimous UN Security Council resolutions is the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • At the same time, our American colleagues are persistently trying to mobilize all of their foreign partners to contain Russia and China.
  •  It is necessary to recognize the obvious. The emergence of polycentric world architecture is an irreversible process, no matter how hard anyone tries to artificially hold it back (let alone send it in reverse). Most countries don’t want to be held hostage to someone else’s geopolitical calculations and are determined to conduct nationally oriented domestic and foreign policies. ( continued)

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