Saturday, July 30, 2011

The United States is screwed

Regardless of how the budget ceiling crisis is resolved in the United States in the coming days it is obvious that the US political class is, in all likelyhood, permanently split beyond any reconciliation.

There was a time not too many years in the past where the two parties, and their activists, in the United States disagreed on the means of getting things done but they agreed on the ends, the objectives for the government and Amercian society.  That consensus began breaking down under Reagan and it accelerated under Clinton, creating a schism that has continued to grow until we see the chasm between the Democrats and the Republicans we now see.

The most recent crisis is only going to cause that gap to grow more and to cement itself into a permanent situation.  The result is more of these self-inflicted crises will occur that will cause the already gradual decline of the US in the world to accelerate until Americans find themselves overtaken by other states like China, India and Brazil.  In other words they will suffer the same fate as Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.  The successor states will certainly take care not to offend the sensibilities of the US, at least until this diminished state drives the US into a new isolationism, but they will still be the ones making all of the important decisions in the world.

We are probably only a decade or so away from this situation.  Barring a radical change in how the American political class conducts itself the decline of the US is probably irreversible. 

The question for Canada is does it have a political class that recognizes this reality and is taking action to reduce our dependance on our deteriorating neigbbour to the South?  Of course not.  It is quite obvious that the current government and its supporters are completely oblivious to the long-term threat the current situation in Washington poses to Canada.  However, it is also quite obvious that the part of the Canadian political class opposed to the current government lacks the vision to see the threat as well.

So, I guess you can probably say that Canada is also screwed.