"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

America's Diverse Irrelevance - The Machiavellian Genius Of Putin, Xi, And The Ayatollahs

Vladimir Putin, it was reported, had a good laugh over President Biden's stumbling, mumbling debate performance. Not that it was any surprise, for unlike Biden's cabal of insiders who refused to see what was going on - or better what was not going on - in the President's head, Putin saw the disassembly of the old man early on, and factored his dementia into his geopolitical strategy.  There was no way that this fool would best him in Ukraine no anywhere else in the world. 

For Putin, Biden's mental disarray was a metaphor for America - a country dithering and dabbling in marginal, completely irrelevant issues, and in so doing fragmenting the country into mini-parcels of sexual misfits, hysterical black women, racialized street mobs, godless zealots.  

This last - the thing about godless zealots - was particularly amusing to Putin's entourage.  It wasn't so long ago that America was aiming its nuclear missiles at the 'godless heathens of the steppes', and now that Russia had returned to its Imperial past and the glories of Orthodoxy, the American Left had gone godless, taking a page from Soviet communitarianism, and pasting it into their arch-secular Utopian playbook.  


The new Russia under Putin has no fissiparous tendencies.  It had reduced Grozny to rubble, had neutered the Chechens, sent a clear message to both the North and South Caucasus to sign up or be removed, and reignited a nationalistic, patriotic fidelity to Mother Russia.  There has been no doubt in Putin's mind, nor in the Russian people, that the ignominy suffered at the hands of the West in 1989 after the fall of the USSR would never be forgotten.  Imperial Russia would be reincarnated, the Slavic peoples once again united in a common, historical destiny. 

Russia never lost its Slavic, Orthodox Christian, Czarist center.  The years of Soviet dismantling of the foundations of the Russian Empire were just an unfortunate interlude.  The Soviets had only one thing right - Russian hegemony- but went about extending it in the wrong way.  Now, the same imperial aspirations have been reconfigured and reformulated.  The Romanoffs might be gone, but the central authority of their court has not only not been forgotten but embraced. 

China of course has a much longer imperial history. The Qin Dynasty established the first empire in China, starting with efforts in 230 BC during which the Qin leaders engulfed six Zhou Dynasty states.  In the nearly two thousand following years, China became one of the most powerful empires in the world; and now, not unlike Russia, is reassigning its Communist past to the archives, and reestablishing itself as the premier world power. 


China, again like Russia, has moral philosophy and religion at its heart.  Gone are the days of dismissing Buddhism as an arch-enemy of the people. Confucianism once again provides the critical moral center for the new, modern China.  China has historically embraced a worldview that places the country at the cultural, political, or economic center of the world.  The Chinese always considered themselves to be "all-under-Heaven", ruled by the emperor, the Son of Heaven. Those that lived outside of the Huaxia were regarded as "barbarians".  Although the courts of Imperial China are past, the ethos of the worldly importance of China is still alive and well today. 

The 1979 Iranian Revolution re-established the profoundly conservative Islamic roots always present in Persia.  Like Russia and the USSR interim and China with Mao, Iran tolerated and managed under the Westernized, secular Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, but returned to their roots in the reign of Ayatollah Khomeini.  Iran today, reunited with its Persian imperial and Islamic pasts, has a strong cultural, spiritual, and moral center.  The ayatollahs have no compunctions about their neo-imperial designs, and in their support for Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Taliban and other radical Islamic movements, is perfectly clear about its hegemonic ambitions. 

By comparison to these three regimes, the United States is a drifting, meandering, wandering place with no sense of central ethos, no unifying national or international purpose, and only vague, unformed, inchoate notion of 'diversity' - a diversity, the same leaked report from the Kremlin added, of gay men, black tarts, and the disabled.  At least the working class formed a significant, relevant, and powerful socio-political group that gave the USSR a strong cultural center that replaced the czarist courts.

Whether the Imperial Court of the Romanoffs or the Proletariat, Russia acknowledged the need for a unifying cultural center.

All three men - Putin, Xi, and Khamenei - hope that Biden will remain in the electoral race and will be re-elected.  Nothing would serve their interests more than another four years of American weakness, disassembly, fractiousness, and exceptionalism.  There is no need for impatience.  Their countries have thousands of years of history, changes in empires, dynasties, and clerical rule.  They know how to wait until the time is right for decisive moves. 

Iran does not need to attack the United States. It is doing plenty of damage by its support of terrorism, especially Hamas and Hezbollah and the weakening of Israel.  China could take over Taiwan and Tibet but why should it?  It has largely neutralized the Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the west of the country, and has consolidated Han power; and Russia's victory in Ukraine has been a foregone conclusion since the first shot was fired.  It may take years, but because of the desultory support of the West, the corruption of Zelensky and has government, and Purim’s absolute resolve, victory will be theirs. 

The likely election of Donald Trump will put some spine back into America. He is more than up to facing down Putin, Xi, and the Ayatollah - a worthy Machiavellian adversary, and shades of Henry Kissinger will govern with only one thing in mind - America's geopolitical interest.  

Everything from restoring a traditionally American cultural center, to fostering energy independence, to strengthening government finances, managing the debt, and becoming less beholden to foreign investors, will be in Trump's sights, and America's adversaries don't like being sighted down the barrel of his gun.   

It won't happen overnight, but one only needs to look at Argentina to see how the unequivocal policies of the new conservative president have already worked and inflation rates are tumbling.  From Trump's first day in office, things will change. 

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