New Eastern Outlook
by Valery Kulikov
In recent days, the Western media has published several highly symbolic articles on the future of the US.
First of all, it is perhaps worth noting a report by The Hill on how, hours before President Joe Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh, a bridge collapsed in that city. The event clearly foreshadows not so much the dire state of the US’s 45,000 bridges, as proclaimed by the discouraged leader of “the world’s most successful nation,” but rather the critical state of the entire country. And as regards this “state,” Joe Biden himself has pointed out that it is absolutely clear that the economy is still struggling. More than ten million Americans have become unemployed, and four million have been out of work for six months or more. Thirty-six million citizens are on the brink.
However, the German weekly Der Spiegel was more outspoken about the disaster already engulfing the US, stating that America is a country of the poor. Currently, one in six Americans is facing hunger. Even before the pandemic, some 35 million US citizens did not have enough food to eat. According to Feeding America, the COVID pandemic has already raised that number to 50.5 million, of which 17 million are children. Almost a quarter of household owners admit to having concerns about their own food security – twice as many as at the end of 2018. Life is particularly difficult for families with children. Signs of impoverishment are evident everywhere, even in affluent megacities like New York or Los Angeles. The lines for free hot meals are so long that the last people standing run the risk of not getting their lunch – the day’s supplies simply run out. Food banks point out that the expected $2 billion in aid from the US government is not enough to solve the “impending crisis.”
As further evidence of a “falling America,” The Guardian reports that even the luxury residential skyscraper Millennium Tower in San Francisco “is continuing to sink and tilt to the side by about 3in (7.5 cm) a year”, drawing comparisons to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A correspondent of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten who visited the US wrote that the world is witnessing the collapse of the United States.
Last December, the consumer price index, which serves as the main tool for calculating inflation in the US, rose 7% compared to the same month in 2020, the highest level since June 1982, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As Sarah House, director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, commented to The Wall Street Journal: “There is still tremendous momentum when it comes to inflation right now. While inflation is likely to peak in the next few months, the overall pace is going to remain a challenge for consumers, businesses and policy.” High inflation has already been felt by consumers themselves, who have begun to cut back their spending.
Inflation in the US has reached its highest rate in 40 years. Sharply rising gasoline and food prices are forcing Americans to tighten their belts, ABC News reported.
In this context of total impoverishment, according to the Associated Press, thieves have been left free to raid cargo containers aboard trains approaching downtown Los Angeles for months. Their “prey” are packages from retailers, including Amazon and REI. There are camps for homeless on both sides of the railway tracks. For the thousands of outcasts of the “fairest society on Earth,” banal robbery has become the only source of livelihood.
The Joe Biden administration, having proclaimed ideas of “racial justice,” is now making white people suffer in order to make amends for the sins of the past, Fox News reported. As the channel points out, discrimination has even permeated healthcare: precious COVID-19 drugs are primarily prescribed to members of racial minorities, regardless of whether they have chronic illnesses.
A poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that about half of US citizens (46%) said they were “a little” or “absolutely” dissatisfied with the state of democracy in the country. Against this background, the share of Americans who accept the use of force against the authorities has risen to a level unprecedented in decades. At the moment, almost one in three Americans believe that violence against the government can sometimes be justified. The share of US residents who hold such a view has risen to a 20-year high, the publication notes.
“The California Dream” has failed the test of the pandemic, with 173,000 people leaving the state in one year, mostly from Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, Le Figaro says. While Democrats in power blame the trend on lower birth rates, declining migrant inflows and rising death rates due to COVID-19, Republicans attribute the population flight to policies in the state that contribute to rising crime and other problems.
The American nation is sicker than ever, writes the American Conservative. Average life expectancy in the United States is falling, while the number of people with pathological anxiety and depression is rising. The publication estimates that “in the US, more people appear to be falling off the horse, but fewer appear capable of picking themselves up.” Alarming levels of antidepressant use among teenagers and adults in these conditions are reflected in official statistics: 10% of Americans take such medication, and the figure is closer to 25% among women aged 40 to 50 years.
NPR and Ipsos conducted a poll showing that, despite deep political and cultural divisions among Americans, they agree on one thing: democracy and America itself are in crisis and could collapse.
“A failed Democratic radical agenda” has brought the US into the most dangerous times since the late 1930s, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said, according to Insider. He said that “Americans will enter the ballot box this year… [to] register their opposition against … ‘a failed Democratic radical agenda’ that has imperiled the state of the country.”
Nevertheless, “American elites try to deny realities that underscore their misrule, while treating the resulting popular discontent as a devious plot hatched by foreign conspirators,” writes The American Conservative. And this is proved by another Department of State document on alleged “Russian propaganda,” accusing Russia of all kinds of mischief. In reality though, “the Western “anti-disinfo” industry can go hang it: Putin is telling the truth,” the publication stresses.
Instead of correcting their own mistakes, the current US political elite is unleashing numerous propaganda information campaigns. Like “the global threat of Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.” Although even Kyiv itself officially talks about the pointlessness and blatant fakery of such actions by Washington, which is trying to flood the entire Europe with its weapons that are now uncompetitive with Russia and China.
And, by proclaiming itself as a supposed “defender of human rights,” the United States is increasingly becoming a stronghold of McCarthyism. The era of McCarthyism, directed against left-wing and liberal figures and organizations, is thought to have taken place mainly during the period of political reaction in 1950-54. However, recent events clearly show that this ideology is very much alive in the current US political establishment and certain forces are actively trying to revive it in the US today, seeking to maintain people’s fear of a foreign adversary, portraying him as all-powerful and omnipresent. Today’s McCarthyism preachers try to implant the idea that Russia is behind all the misfortunes, and if anyone dares to challenge this claim, they are automatically labelled as traitors who allegedly “work for Putin personally.”
The recent announcement by the US deputy attorney general that a new “domestic terrorism” unit would be set up to track citizens opposed to the government’s authority is one reason for this circumstance. As former US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard noted in a Fox News interview, “this is the foundation of authoritarianism… And this is unacceptable in [the American] democracy and must not go unchecked.”
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.