Pat Buchanan has an excellent new article detailing the growing tension between the United States and Russia. What could possibly account for these growing tensions, over two decades after the conclusion of the first Cold War? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, then you’re no doubt aware that the man who spilled the beans on the NSA’s unconstitutional and intrusive surveillance, Edward Snowden, has been granted asylum in Russia. Unsurprisingly, U.S. president Obama has decided to pout, canceling his September summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. This, in spite of the fact that Russia has endured numerous American transgressions, and hasn’t cut any diplomatic ties on account of them.
What this Snowden episode illustrates is that the power and prestige of the United States has been eroding on a global scale. First, there are the military disasters, which have highlighted American immorality and hypocrisy. I don’t think too many dispute that the second war in Iraq has been a complete fiasco, and our intervention in Afghanistan hasn’t yielded much better results. The Obama administration, following in Dubya’s footsteps, has dispatched more troops and bombs to Afghanistan, has initiated drone warfare against Pakistan, and has overall dispelled any notion that he’s actually committed to real change. Not to mention the continued unconditional support of Israel, which has done little to engender pro-American sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world.
The United States also continues to decay economically and culturally. One could successfully argue that a society where Jersey Shore and 50 Shades of Grey are popular trends is at its nadir. Regardless of one’s level of American patriotism, it’s safe to say that the U.S. has seen better days.
Russia, on the other hand, has been on the rise after languishing for so long in oligarchic gangster capitalism and post-Soviet Union stagnancy. Under Vladimir Putin’s leadership, the Russian economy has enjoyed significant growth, and is beginning to reassert itself in the international arena. Putin has also supported traditional Russian institutions such as the Orthodox Church, which has emerged as potent force ever since being suppressed for so long by Communism. It’s safe to say that Russian nationalism will emerge as a real force to be reckoned with over the coming decades. If a growing Russia has proven to be a significant thorn in the side of the United States, one can only imagine how China, a much more populous and homogenous nation will challenge the United States as it continues to grow and assert itself.
Therefore, my advice to the U.S. would be to quit while it’s still (somewhat) ahead. Cease these foolish imperial adventures, invest more money in our decaying infrastructure, and bring our own Wall Street oligarchs to heel.
If the U.S. does not do more to tend to its own internal problems, while simultaneously provoking anti-American resentment, then they will find themselves in quite the predicament once their global power fades (and like all empires, it will). And understandably, the new power in the world will have little reason to forgive or forget.