How Much Should America Blame Russia for its Problems?

The Predators at the Gates of the Promised Land

American leaders aren’t very good at perspective. So let’s try to acquire some. Here are five things Russia didn’t do.

Russia didn’t implode the American middle class. Russia didn’t stagnate the American economy. Russia didn’t deny Americans affordable healthcare, education, finance, transport. Russia didn’t make American life expectancy fall. Russia didn’t make America an economy that went straight from segregation to stagnation, one that never crafted a working social contract.

The opposite is true: all these needed to happen for America to be vulnerable to Russian advances.

Is Russia waging a kind of soft war on the US? Of course it is. Should the US take intrusions into basic democracy very, very seriously, and punish wrongdoers? Of course it should. And yet.

Russia is just a vulture feasting on the bones of a dead society. It isn’t the predator who brought the carcass down. Who is?

That much should be obvious. America has been taken over by its own extremism, just like parts of the Muslim world. An ideology that is every bit as much one of death, in which only the strong deserve to live and the weak deserve to die like animals on the street, without food, money, or medicine. That ideology is mainstream now. It is represented by three (!) columnists at the New York Times, for example. It is so dominant even American liberalism is just a milder version of it.

Russia didn’t destroy America. America went Soviet. It believed tooth and nail in an extremist capitalism the rest of the world long ago disowned – most of Europe, in the 19th century.

Russia is just an opportunist. America should of course defend itself. But a weakened, dying nation will attract carrion eaters. Carrion eaters are always looking for corpses to feast on. And in a sense, carrion eaters keep ecosystems whole. We cannot blame them for being themselves. The question is: are we ourselves?

There are necessary and sufficient causes. Russia’s opportunistic feasting on dead American bones is not either kind. The necessary and sufficient cause of the American bodies politic, social, and economic dying is that they themselves subscribed – and still do – to a predatory ideal of human prosperity.

In the end, the predators ate the very society that hoped to use them as guardians to the gates of the promised land.

That is the perspective that is missing in American discussions of its tragic, karmic, and throughly deserved plight.


July 2017