Item 1 is an insightful essay by Patrick Seale outlining the common characteristics of the political instabilities and revolutionary pressures now sweeping Europe and the Middle East. Although Seale uses the term Global Intifada to describe these instabilities, the term Intifada evolved out of the Palestinian struggle against occupation. He suggests the instabilities may be following a more general dynamic. The common causal factors he describes in the second paragraph also bring to mind a very loose comparison of the unrest unleashed in 2011 to the explosion of revolutions in 1848 across Europe. That many of Seale’s common factors also exist in varying degrees in the United States makes one wonder why the politics of rage in the US remain confined to the right side of political spectrum. Item 2, “The World Consequences of US Decline,” is an equally insightful essay by Immanuel Wallerstein that suggests obliquely that this may be a temporary condition.
by Patrick Seale, Agence Global, 16 Aug 2011
Youth unemployment, social injustice, police brutality, the excesses of unregulated capitalism, the arrogant consumerism of the rich and the misery and helplessness of the poor, the widespread sense that the country’s resources are in the wrong hands and are being spent in the wrong way, the alienation of much of the population from the centres of power – most of these factors are present, in one form or another, in the various places where protesters have taken to the streets.
. . . . . . .
In all the countries where the people have rebelled, the social contract has been broken and needs repair. A common sense of nation needs to be fostered. But Britain’s leaders speak only of punishing the hooligans. In Syria, the regime is stuck in the criminal folly of killing demonstrators daily. In Israel, the protesters have not yet focused on the real problem undermining their country: the occupation, dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians. In every country, the underclass needs to be given hope or even greater violence is inevitable.
by Immanuel Wallerstein, Agence Global, 15 Aug 2011
A decade ago, when I and some others spoke of U.S. decline in the world-system, we were met at best with condescending smiles at our naivety. Was not the United States the lone superpower, involved in every remote corner of the earth, and getting its way most of the time? This was a view shared all along the political spectrum.
. . . . . .
Standard & Poor’s has reduced the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+, also “unprecedented.” But this was a quite mild action. The equivalent agency in China, Dagong, had already reduced U.S. creditworthiness last November to A+, and now has reduced it to A-. The Peruvian economist, Oscar Ugarteche, has declared the United States a “banana republic.” He says that the United States “has chosen the policy of the ostrich, hoping thereby not to scare away hopes [for improvement].” And in Lima this past week, the assembled Finance Ministers of the South American states have been discussing urgently how best to insulate itself from the effects of U.S. economic decline.
. . . . .
It is time for much more sober long-term analysis, much clearer moral judgments about what the analysis reveals, and much more effective political action in the effort, over the next 20-30 years, to create a better world-system than the one in which we are all stuck today.
Phi Beta Iota: As we have been saying for some time, the US Government is out of control and lacking in both intelligence and integrity. Getting out of this mess is not rocket science–it demands that intelligence and integrity be restored across all elements of the Republic.