While this “U.S. is in decline” narrative is exceedingly popular today, it also happens to be inaccurate — and dangerous. If it becomes widely accepted as fact that Washington is “retreating” and leaving adversaries to “fill the vacuum,” then U.S. policymakers responsible for formulating and executing foreign policy will be increasingly susceptible to making bad policy.
We need to clear the record: discussions about the United States losing its luster, or on its way to meeting the same fate as the Roman Empire, are vastly overblown. To continue making these arguments is to wipe away all context and ignore recent history.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis’s stunning public criticism of President Trump is underscoring growing fears in the military that the president is compromising the integrity of the U.S. Armed Forces by threatening to use them against protesters.
Trump has urged governors to deploy National Guard troops to “dominate the streets” and stop violent demonstrations, saying he would dispatch U.S. military forces to states and cities that do not meet his demands.
Though the recent protests have drawn thousands, they’re still noticeably smaller than the massive gatherings of 2019. The twin blow of both the pandemic and Beijing’s persistent intervention in the city has left protesters pondering how to fight back, or whether or not it’s even worth trying.
“I feel like we tried every approach we could think of last year,” says Veronica Li, a 38-year-old marketing executive who supports the protest movement. “But it’s just been blow after blow and many of us just feel weary. I imagine those that can will leave the city. Sad to say, but this new security law seems like the beginning of the end of Hong Kong.”
If it feels like the world is coming to and end – or at least, the world as we know it – there’s some genuine evidence to support that fear, historians say. There’s also every reason to think we’ll get through it. And every reason, as well, to believe things can get worse before they get better.
“The problem is, it’s all of them,” says Tufts University international politics professor Daniel Drezner, who is teaching a course next year entitled “The End of the World and What Comes Next.”
Not only is the nation facing current crises of public health, the economy, race relations and public safety, and perhaps democracy itself, but there are still things that could happen, he notes, such as a foreign conflict or cyberattack.
“To use the sinks in the bathroom, one must hold the faucet on with one hand, making it impossible to thoroughly wash hands,” one teacher replied, with others commenting that some faucets didn’t work at all and that bathrooms almost always lacked soap.
“The air quality is a concern,” another wrote. “The windows barely open to allow for appropriate ventilation.”
One wrote simply that Philadelphia schools “cannot deal with facilities without a pandemic.”
President Donald Trump, tanking in state and national polls and facing the biggest national crises in his tumultuous presidency, went on the offense. He marshaled military and federal law enforcement, which used force to clear protesters from Lafayette Park in front of the White House as Trump was speaking in the Rose Garden and before he headed through the park for a photo-op at a church, and which remained, at the end of the week, an ominously visible force around the city.
He threatened to send the military to other jurisdictions to quell public protests, calling himself the “law and order” president. When it came to his personal situation, the president went on defense – literally, as workers this week erected tall black fences around the White House complex.
Accelerationism is the idea that white supremacists should try to increase civil disorder — accelerate it — in order to foster polarization that will tear apart the current political order.
The System (usually capitalized), they believe, has only a finite number of collaborators and lackeys to prop it up. Accelerationists hope to set off a series of chain reactions, with violence fomenting violence, and in the ensuing cycle more and more people join the fray. When confronted with extremes, so the theory goes, those in the middle will be forced off the fence and go to the side of the white supremacists.
If violence can be increased sufficiently, the System will run out of lackeys and collapse, and the race war will commence.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) is comprised of 18 politicians, including U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez. Other members represent Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and the European Parliament.
The group’s stated mission is to increase collaboration between “like-minded legislators” to craft a “strategic approach” on issues related to China, according to its website.
“China, under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, represents a global challenge,” says Rubio, in a video posted on Twitter announcing the launch of the group. “We the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China stand together to coordinate the response to this great challenge.”
The United States is prepared to reassess its intelligence-sharing arrangement with Canada if Huawei is given the green light to take part in building Canada’s 5G networks, a State Department spokesperson said today.
The federal government still has not announced its decision on whether the Chinese telecom giant will be allowed to participate in building Canada’s next-generation wireless networks, despite more than a year and a half of assessing the question.
If you live in Washington, you know the military, because many of your neighbors serve or have served, and they live in every one of this city’s eight wards. About one in every four Washington residents is a veteran, according to the U.S. Census. And that is just counting the folks in uniform, not the tens of thousands of American citizens who have served as diplomats and aid workers on the frontlines of America’s forever wars over the past 20 years. The men and women we call green shirts around here are our family, friends and coworkers.
That still does not make it acceptable for Milley or any other senior member of the U.S. military to swagger down Washington’s streets in full battle rattle.