THE POHOTTUWA GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA Part 2 C4b
Posted on January 2nd, 2021

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 USA became the world’s sole super-power. Throughout the 1990s, the USA reigned supreme. USA had the best army, air force and navy. No other country could rival it.

 USA became a global policeman.  ‘American leadership is good for the world’ recorded TIME.

USA divided up the globe into different military ‘combatant commands’, such as the Pacific command with each Command taking orders from a single officer. The Pacific Command had

USA navy’s powerful 7th Fleet. This  fleet dominated the Pacific Ocean.

US   is bound by treaties to defend quarter of humanity, said analysts.   69 countries have some form of defense pact with USA and they make up around 75% of the world economy. US has defense pacts with NATO, with OAS, which is the   Organisation of American States, meaning Central and South America and with ANZUS, Australian New Zealand US Security Treaty.  UK, European Union and   South Korea    depend wholly on USA for their military defence. They could not face a world war without the US, said analysts.

In the past 25 years America’s leader have acted as though America were becoming stronger in the world. That is not so. The rest of the planet is catching up, said TIME in 2015. USA thought it would continue to rule the world forever, but by the late 21 century, Russia and China started to come into the picture. Now China is taking over and Russia is hovering alongside, making the world multipolar.  US is  losing its position. America’s military advantage vis-à-vis China and Russia is eroding admitted USA. USA’s powers are now decreasing.    It is the super powers in decline that are often the most dangerous, warned analysts.”

USA was presented as a shining example of democracy, the perfect state. This is nonsense. No country   is a perfect democracy, ever, and USA was no exception. But recently,  it has got even worse. USA has been declared a flawed democracy.  This has affected USA’s public image. USA is no longer an admired and feared country. There was Watergate. In the last few Presidential elections, the candidates spent much time disparaging their rivals. The world saw this.

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. 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. USA has experienced government shutdowns, low voter turnout and a lack of electoral reform, it said.

In USA the President is not elected by a direct vote of the people, he is elected by an Electoral College. The intelligentsia knew this all along, but after the 2020 Presidential election everybody got to know this. The Electoral College need not follow the popular vote. However, in every state except Nebraska and Maine, the candidate winning the majority of popular votes theoretically wins all that state’s electors. In July 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that states could order their Electoral Colleges to cast their votes according to the popular vote in that state.

There have been several instances in USA where the candidate who won the popular vote lost the election. Five presidents in all have risen to the office this way, said analysts.  John Quincy Adams was the first, in 1824, against Andrew Jackson. More recently, the 2000 election resulted in an epic Florida entanglement between George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Gore had won nearly 500,000 more votes nationwide, but Florida Electoral College voted for Bush. In 2016, Trump did not win the popular vote but won the election.

American politics has its ugly side. There is the John Kennedy assassination. The Warren Commission report said that Oswald acted alone when he assassinated Kennedy Nobody believes this. Warren Commission report is considered a cover up. Secret Service had confiscated all evidence from nearby witnesses just before and after the shooting. They also destroyed records. Oswald was  killed in front of live television by nightclub owner Ruby, preventing Oswald from saying anything. There are many conspiracy theories about the John Kennedy assassination. CIA and the Mafia are considered possible candidates. The assassination is clearly an internal issue.

The assassinations of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy are well known. But there are  two other deaths connected to the Kennedys, the film star Marilyn Monroe and the journalist Dorothy Kilgallen which are not so well known. Kilgallen was investigating the assassination of John F Kennedy and had announced that she was nearing the end of her investigations. When her hairdresser found her at her home, one morning in 1965, Kilgallen was propped up in bed, makeup, hairpiece and fake eyelashes still on, in an outfit she disliked, stone dead, reading a book upside down. 

Marilyn Monroe had been friendly with John and Robert Kennedy and had threatened them with exposure. Analysts say that she was not as dumb as she looked.   She was very intelligent, understood politics and had picked up sensitive information. On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home in Los Angeles, lying nude on her bed, face down.  These  two dramatically  presented deaths were clearly a warning to others. ( The Kilgallen and Monroe information   was provided by  YouTube, which popped up clips saying ‘recommended for you’)

The criminal life of USA is  now underplayed in the media. The Italian-American Mafia has long dominated organized crime in the United States. This Mafia initially consisted of  Italian immigrants from Sicily, who settled in New York. From there the mafia spread to other cities, such as Chicago. And at its peak, there were at least 26 cities  where the mafia was active. Each Mafia  organization  is known as a ‘family’. Each crime family has its own territory and operates independently.

Among its activities, the Mafia, notably controlled labor unions  and engaged in labor racketeering. There was a large concentration of Mafia owned restaurants  in New York City. Not only were they the setting of many killings and important meetings, but they were also an effective means of smuggling  drugs.

In the 21st century, the Mafia  is  engaged in murder, extortion, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, tax fraud schemes and stock manipulation schemes, said Wikipedia.

The Mafia is currently most active in the Northeastern United States and Chicago. They continue to dominate organized crime, though other criminal organizations such as Mexican drug cartels have all taken a share.   The television series Sopranos”  is about a modern Mafia family. It  sanitizes the Mafia. It has won many awards and is regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time. 

The US economy is no longer the best in the world. It lost its lead 15 years ago, said  economist Srimal Abeyratne. 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 job, resulting in unemployment. Since the US now has to import these goods, there is   now 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 Percentage of GDP. China on the other hand is heavily funding basic research, continued TIME IN 2019.,

TIME says US system of market capitalism is to blame. USA made a magnificent advance from agriculture and manufacturing to finance. This was considered USA’s highest achievement. But now finance is not supporting business. The best stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10% and the money is concentrated there. Once a company goes public, in order to keep its stock price high, it stops innovating and does not support job creation, concluded TIME. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing because of robots and automation.

Big companies and multinationals, such as Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies, mega banks such as Bank of America, the defense industries us as Boeing, Lockheed Martin have control of the major seats of political power and also able to lobby the government to take decisions in favor of companies.

There is corruption, such as Chicago’s famous cronyism,    where the most lucrative city contracts are awarded to favoured persons. A study of international corruption cases in 2012 found that most of the shell companies used to hide financial crimes were from America.  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, reported Economist.

The US infrastructure is   aging. America’s highways, waterways and subways, built decades ago  are in dire need of upkeep. USA has around 50 bridges that need repairs. They were built a hundred years ago. The New York subway system is on the verge of collapse. There are delays, breakdowns and overcrowding. New York lacks the  USD 8 billion needed for repairs. Therefore the authorities wanted to remove seats on at least two train lines so that the trains could carry more passengers. This idea was ridiculed by the commuters.

Where did the US wealth go asked critics.  Jack Ma of Alibaba observed that multinationals such as IBM, Microsoft and Cisco had made huge profits, but US squandered it on 13 wars in 30 years. 

The notion of 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. USA wants Assange  punished for leaking secret  American documents. He was  arrested under a US extradition warrant kept secret  till now. Countries were told that if they gave Snowden asylum, USA would punish them.TIME says Snowden wants to return to the US but does not believe he will get a fair trial.

USA is not as  liberated  and as socially  advanced as the world  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 jots in USA.  American women have now started complaining.

  12 American universities are listed among the best ranked universities in the world, but secondary education is not always excellent. There was a teachers 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 said TIME. Federal spending on education has also declined.

There is race prejudice, now declared to be systemic race prejudice. Actually, it was systemic all along . 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.  An African American doctor, dying of Covid 19, stated on video, in December 2020, just before she died, that if  she had been white she would have been well looked after and on her way to recovery.

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 change, but a black teenager who commits the same crime should be locked up for life. Police routinely pull over African-American motorists on suspicion, and arrest them for no reason.  

African Americans  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.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP) was planning in 2012, to complain to the UN Human Rights Council that the new voting laws in   US violate civil rights by suppressing the votes of minorities and others. For instance, they have to show proof of citizenship before they can vote.

There is a second race problem looming in USA. The Latin American group is overtaking the blacks and the whites in America. California which is full of Latinos wants to secede, said TIME in 2017. 

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

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.

TIME did a series of interviews in 2016, with the American public, who said that the future for America is bleak, no chance of a good job and rising in life. The country is going downhill, the rich and powerful have it good, but not the rest, they said. There is rising inequality, stagnant incomes, shrinking middle class and stalled upward mobility.

The American political scientist Ian Bremmer formulated three roles for USA. First, ‘Indispensable America’ which said that no other nation can provide the leadership that the world desperately needs, except America.  Therefore America must increase its international commitments? 

Second Moneyball America”, which said that we must defend US political and economic interest when they are threatened. Third, Independent America”, where we must rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving the country from within.  America must renounces its role as the global problem-solver   and defend only America’s strategic interests. 

Brenner did a national survey on these three options. The respondents had no clear preference. However, the older generation wanted” Indispensable America,” the younger generation wanted Independent America.”  (Continued)

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