Near the end of his presidency when Barack Obama issued new sanctions against Russia for allegedly interfering in the 2016 American presidential elections which included expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the US, many observers expected a similar reaction from Vladimir Putin Russia’s president. Instead Putin invited American diplomat kids to a party in Moscow and did not retaliate by expelling American diplomats from Russia. Obama had said there were both open and hidden actions taken against Russia. This whole event felt like a play out of a recent fiction novel I had read (am still trying to identify it). But Vladimir Putin is arguably the richest man in the world, and like in that fiction story what if America through Obama had threatened to expose details of his wealth — locations, sources etc? This could be one of the hidden moves Obama mentioned, and which might have caused Putin not to openly retaliate?
Donald Trump recently received a trademark in China, which had been refused him for a decade by the Chinese government. At about the same time he changes his stance over the American government’s “One China” policy, which he previously indicated was part of hard-faced negotiations, which in his opinion is the right way to handle China. In this case, I wonder who is really getting the better end of the deal (China and Trump) and who might be getting the short end (the American public).
Also, hours ago I see members of the American congress coming together across party lines and saying that Trump’s attitudes are causing irreparable damage on the foreign scene across America’s allies. It sounded like the first time members of Congress across party lines are saying Trump might be more of a disaster than a benefit to America, sounds maybe like the first time they are seeing their collective interests to be higher than their individual interests in the Trump story. It is just a pity, I don’t think this will change things much. It’s mostly already too late to do much about it anymore as the fissures within American society appear to be deepening and widening with every moment.
Empires are really just great organisations of people, who work cooperatively together to build the empire. So many times, an external force (another empire or disease or war or act of God) attacks that empire and the great organisation breaks down. But sometimes too internal forces (politics and other differences) can add to or even cause the breakdown of cooperation within the organisation and bring an empire to its end. In the American empire story, I think God might have a part.
I recently watched the movie “God’s not dead”. In the movie, the student defended his position that “God’s not dead” on two points, one, that recent science shows that the beginning of the universe wasn’t gradual but more instantaneously pretty much out of nothing supporting the age-old creation theory of the bible and that most species including human appear not to have evolved slowly but suddenly again supporting the long-held creation position. The second point by the student was “how can you [the professor his opponent] hate someone [God] if he does not exist?”
A third point which wasn’t explicitly mentioned at least to me, was the fact that God (to my knowledge in the Bible) says we can only come to Him by faith, and through belief. This means to me that God is saying you can and will never ever get explicit physical, scientific, factual, objective, non-subjective evidence of either my existence or non-existence. For me this point is most important because it explains exactly the situation we have always found ourselves in as humanity in our understanding of God — it has always (and God implies it will always) be subjective no matter how advanced our science or knowledge becomes. Which for me is a more important reason to believe that “God’s not dead” than any non-subjective evidence of God.
So the reason why I think the American empire might be going down (I don’t think it’s straight downhill from here but there would be crests and troughs but the general trajectory is downward) is because of the original, unresolved differences in its making. The fact that a great portion of Americans have and still consider the exploitation of “others” as just and good. Which includes the same Christians whose faith asks that we “love your neighbour as yourself” and contrary to the American motto “In God we trust” or that “All men [people] are created free”. This is perhaps most poignantly expressed in the slavery of blacks and the systemic injustices still present in America against certain peoples particularly people of color or religion or ethnicity.
So Vladimir Putin’s role in helping Donald Trump win the American presidency, the Trump [family and friends] potential deal makings for personal enrichment which are closely resembling those of tin-pot dictators the world over, and the American public’s divisions over exploitation of others based on immigration, religion or skin colour are individual acts which are coming together to attack the “cooperative greatness” of the American empire. An empire which represents to me one of the best ever examples of human achievement to institutionalize “good and right” in a society. I have always loved the words of the American declaration of independence, the gettysburg address, and the fictionalized “good guys and gals” of westerns (movies).
Nothing demonstrates this potential decline of America as clearly for me as a recent story of Canadian police helping people fleeing America into Canada. Where once America was the place people flee to to escape social injustice and discrimination slowly it is becoming a place people flee from just like many totalitarian regimes of only a few years ago. :-(