by Ghassan Kadi
The financial collapse of the United States grows more inevitable, and more obviously so. Thus far during the Obama tenure alone, the formal and declared American debt has doubled, sky-rocketing from 10 trillion to 20 trillion dollars. Estimates of total American debt however, and which include unfunded liabilities, are much higher and range from 150 trillion to 350 trillion dollars. But even at twenty trillion, every American man, woman and child owes something in the vicinity of $60,000, and at the higher estimate, the per capita debt figure balloons to nearly $9 million.
Estimates of America’s total assets also vary from 300 to 550 trillion dollars. But as America has lost much of its manufacturing base as well as much of its resources, a big fraction of those assets are in real estate, bonds, shares and other commodities that are valued in accordance with general economic performance, and when the performance drops, they follow suit. Those estimates do not take this economic fact into account and even the low figure of 300 trillion could well and truly be over optimistic.
It is therefore rather difficult, if not impossible to know the actual totals of either American assets or liabilities. That said, if the liabilities figure is indeed in the vicinity of the high 350 trillion dollars figure and that of assets is in the vicinity of the low 300 trillion (if not less), then America could currently be well and truly literally insolvent.
The truth is that we don’t know, and perhaps we will never know, until a collapse spontaneously eventuates, or until the tsunami of the rising of new economic giants sweeps all what is in its way and make that collapse happen.
What is more sinister about the collapse of America is not only evident in its economic decline, but rather in the multitude of facets that seem to be all concurrently chewing away at the foundations of that nation that has led the world at many levels.
The fallout of an American collapse is not only going to be restricted to the United States itself. It will have global repercussions that will bring upon new challenges to the rising powers at more levels than just merely economical.
However, the economic collapse does not seem to be a haphazard phenomenon. It is the result of failures upon failures at a myriad of levels and aspects.
Throughout its history, the nation that developed in the “New world” and became eventually known as the United States of America has failed on three major counts.
The first historic failure was in America’s failure in accepting and recognising the human rights of indigenous Americans.
Native Americans, made to be known as Indians, were subjected to a systematic genocide that went on for four centuries. Four hundred years of massacres, displacements, broken promises, broken treaties, lies and deception that kept driving the “Indians” further and further West until they had no place to find refuge in.
To refer to this epic mass genocide as a violation of human rights would be a very gentle term to cover up a huge crime with. The systematic ethnic cleansing of indigenous Americans has probably been the most violent state-sponsored and longest in duration in the entire history of humanity. It dwarfs all other similar barbaric acts. But the American brutality did not stop there.
The second historic failure came about when the new and independent entity of the United States of America, a nation that was founded on a revolution that was meant to seek equality and justice for all, a revolution that was supposed to have inspired the French Revolution, a revolution that had the “Bill of Rights” to crown it as the first amendment of its constitution, has in fact allowed this so-called “Bill of Rights” to exclude the black man, endorsed his enslavement and the superiority of the white man over his freedom and destiny.
And even after Lincoln’s monumental thirteenth amendment, laws of segregation continued to rule the land until the 1960’s and the freedom of the black man was paid for by the blood of Dr. King and his brave and gallant comrades.
The third historic failure was in America’s inability to uphold Lincoln’s preamble-like statement about government that is “of the people, by the people, for the people”. Successive American governments from both sides of the political divide have proven to be anything but what Lincoln aspired for his nation. The word “people” was replaced by big business, the Israel lobby and the banks.
As a result now, ordinary Americans have little say as to who runs their government and what objectives they seek.
Historically-speaking therefore, and as the American forefathers were building the nation that was meant to represent the “New World” with a flavour of classlessness and freedom, underneath the thin façade, it was indeed built on racial and ethnic inequalities.
When Americans today lament the days of the forefathers, their highly-principled loftiness and achievements, they seem to conveniently ignore that any good that those forefathers stood for was exclusive to the white man.
Then they talk about the “American Dream”, one would ask, what defines this dream? In Hollywood-style, we see Superman defending “Truth, justice and the American Way”. Which “Truth” (with a Capital T), justice and American Way? One wonders if this “dream” of one actually means somebody else’s nightmare. Would one not?
With this question, we step out of history and into present time.
At both international and domestic levels, the so-called “American Dream” is no longer about its touted freedom and justice for Americans. It is no longer about an American Government that claims to conform to due diligence that has the welfare of its own people as the prime and sole objective, but rather one that has no aspirations other than world domination in a manner that keeps big business, the Israel lobby and banks where they belong; on top of the world dominion echelon.
However, decades and centuries of bullish politics have taken their toll on the minds of Americans, even on Americans who were once and continue to be victims of those doctrines. As a consequence, whilst the rise to prominence of African (Black) Americans heralded a hope that they would break out of the ranks of the enduring policies of the white man who enslaved their ancestors, that did not eventuate because they decided to let their comrades and ancestors down and join the white man’s club.
President Obama is not any less of a White-American-style policy zealot than his White House predecessors.
Before him, the rise of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to power was not associated with any shift in American foreign or domestic policies.
Slowly, but gradually and surely, the lie that was dubbed the “American Dream” had to fester, grow, and become seen for the lie that it is. This is not by rule of chance, because every lie has an expiry date, and the expiry date of the big “American Lie” is due.
The more the “American Lie” gets unmasked, the more it manifests itself and what has been putrefying within its core, and what its decays and ferments have produced over the decades and centuries.
Corporate white-collared mega bank robbers make Billy the Kid look like, just a kid. School shootings, eroded family values and many similar “new-age” realities are what underpin the state of despair that lead to such personal traumas that lead to problems such as obesity, suicide, drug abuse and depression.
American scholars including psychologists and sociologists are at a loss not knowing what has gone wrong with America and what is causing all the problems they witness. Whatever techniques they are employing to resolve the mystery, they are failing to see that America has lost spirit, and that the momentum of the lie that kept it going for as long as there was enough wealth to be spread around to mask it all is drying out. Now that this wealth has been dissipated and put in the hands of a few, the majority who were left behind have little left to aspire to. The dreams of a few have turned into a nightmare for the many more left behind.
The dream has fallen apart and builders and achievers have been pushed to stoop to the level of scavengers with each fighting for his/her own survival. Tens of millions desperately try to put food on the table whilst the big bankers and CEO’s hasten to get in on the loot before it is too late and there is nothing left to be looted.
No grandeur is left to make an American feel great about being American. Long gone are the times when everybody wanted to live in America. Long gone is the era when songs were written about wanting to live in America. The reality of what America is currently is only a culmination of what it had always been; an unrealistic promise of perfection and social justice that was founded on a series of hypocrisies.
The pretence of morality that America tried to base its foundations upon is showing its age and use by date, and there is little room left for patch-up jobs to hide behind.
Obama has inadvertently made such a sharp u-turn recently, rendering the legacy of Lincoln as something that is in total contradiction to his own. In a recent interview a few weeks ago, he circumvented the allegedly all-profound foundations of the nation-building forefathers to overtly, and rather shamelessly, say that “the measure of strength internationally is not simply by how many countries we’re occupying, of how many missiles we’re firing, but the strength of our diplomacy and the strength of our commitment to human rights…”. This is a far cry from Lincoln’s “of the people, by the people, for the people” slogan that put morality a priori.
The decadent status quo of America is such that its president now felt that he had to ascertain that greatness of a nation is not only measured by its stature as an international thug. If this is not a blatant admission of an erosion of morality and the very foundations of any nation that remotely tries to associate itself with righteousness, then one would wonder what stronger statements would reflect the current lack of proper moral stature of America!
Obama’s statement is an overt admission on behalf of America, by its president, that it has totally lost its moral ground and that there is no need left to pretend otherwise.
Obama’s statement is in principle not any different from that of a corrupt businessman saying that success in business is not only a measure of corporate theft and cheating. In essence, it is not any different from admitting that love is not only about lust. It is not any better than proclaiming that success is not only restricted to money and ego.
This is a blatant admission of moral bankruptcy of the worst kind.
Obama’s statement sums up America’s moral collapse; one that only good Americans can turn around and change and save what is left of America that can be saved. And speaking of good Americans, we must not forget that there are many of them, millions, but they have never been able to either effectively partake in their nation’s governance or were prevented from creating the necessary change. The time has never been more essential for them to unite and rise.
It is vital to examine the morality of all people, one’s own first and foremost, other individuals, groups and nations. But there is a much bigger moral onus on those who proclaim a leadership position. America has taken on board this claim, and therefore becomes accountable. Lack of morality in say Ecuador will perhaps impact only on Ecuador because Ecuador does not assume a global leading role, but when rot hits the alleged global leader nation, the consequences can be dire for the whole world.
Ironically, Jihadi Islamists are now assuming a leadership role and their moral collapse is akin to that of the USA even though at the surface they look very different. Political alliances or the lack of them between America and ISIL set aside, at a moral level, the two parties are pretty much on par.
This seems to be the age of disclosure and exposure, the era of coming out, an era in which no one is any longer able to hide what lurks within; both light and dark, good and bad.
It seems that the time of the big “American Dream” turned the big “American Lie” is coming to full exposure.
The rot of America and that of fundamentalist Islam are coming to a head. It does not seem that it is by accident that both dipoles are showing their ugly faces at the same time.
It would be unjust for anyone to see one of those dipoles in total independence of the other; the two are intertwined strategically, philosophically, and existentially.
America’s moral collapse, which in essence is not recent, is no longer one that can be hidden. It is the culmination of at least two centuries of what started as false pretences and ended up as blatant lies.
The moral collapse of ISIL is arguably more ancient in its roots, but as fate invariably dictates, evil always finds itself coming of age alongside a similar but yet very different evil.
The multi-faceted bankruptcy of America is bringing out to the open a multitude of hidden ghosts; both internal and external; but the common underlying factor to all is the moral collapse. When a nation loses its moral base it loses everything it holds near and dear.
With in-fighting within the Muslim World, none of which is truly addressing the core of the ISIL syndrome, a similar infighting is brewing within the West and particularly within the USA.
Europe will eventually have to take an independent stand; one that is not affected by the decision-making of the USA. If Europe does not break loose and take such a stand, it will have to suffer consequences.
The rest of the world, especially the rising powers, will have to make brave new decisions.
It was brave and honourable of Russia to step in to fight ISIL in Syria. It was a responsible decision to make in order to curb its spread. But the war against dogmatism does not stop at fighting militarily, neither does leading the world into a new era.
The multi-faceted bankruptcy of America, that was once leading the world, dictates that humanity needs new preambles that can lead it into new and better directions.
The BRICS nations have thus far produced humble economic benchmarks to give the brave new world a platform on which it may be able to fall back on in the case of a sudden American economic collapse. The platform is still in the making and the establishment of the China-based AIIB is one of the biggest steps in this direction. It will take some time before the BRICS nations can cushion the full impact of a Western economic collapse.
What is more pertinent however is for the world to have new moral and philosophical stewardship and direction. The onus of taking this task on board is now moving into the direction of the BRICS nations.
After all, if the corporate giants of the west are replaced by those of BRICS, and if the existing rot, corruption and injustices of the world wear a new mask and take new names, humanity would stagnate and the changes would mean nothing.
In times of change, opportunities rise, and with the geo-cultural change in global leadership, humanity now has an opportunity to aim for a better future. This is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Given that it is the collapse of morality that has culminated into the multi-faceted collapse of the USA, will the BRICS nations stand up to the task? Time will tell, and history will be very unforgiving if they don’t.