America to Face a Rocky Road Ahead If It Still Wants to Remain United

Saturday, November 29 2008 @ 11:59 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto


If you've lost your way between Wall Street and Main Street, why don't
you leave your worries on the doorstep and hit the sunny side of
either street? You may come up with a bright idea to get through the
hardship that will last another four years.

According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Kremlin-favored political analyst Igor Panarin said, "We must break the strings tying us to the financial Titanic, which in my view will soon sink." He based the provocative remark on his own crystal-ball in which he sees an imminent breakup of the United States into six independent states.

Aboard the imaginary Titanic, Gordon G. Chang flatly dismissed Panarin's prediction as hogwash in his recent piece posted on the Contentions website. Mr. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, one of the most intriguing books published in the first decade of this century. That makes his rebuttal to Panarin all the more convincing. If you still prefer to subscribe to Panarin's prediction just because you have been growing bearish over America's future since the breakout of the financial crisis, that would be turning the causal relationship upside down.

But this is not to say that it's a breeze for the Harvard-educated Santa Claus to usher his country into the second American century. Actually, if the President-elect does what he is saying he will as soon as he is sworn in, nobody can rule out Panarin's malicious scenario no matter how it looks counter-intuitive today.

At home, Obama's version of the New Deal is doomed to exacerbate, rather than turn around, the situation by chronicizing the disease because he is focusing on the wrong part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's package: the mechanisms FDR put in place just as temporary measures. For one thing, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was founded based on the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Roosevelt, the banker-turned President, is believed to have disliked the idea of building safety nets across the nation. But at the sight of some 4,000 banks going under, he thought the enormity of the problem would warrant a temporary deviation from his principle. That's why he reluctantly refrained from vetoing the bill as an emergency measure. Once the FDIC came into existence, however, it didn't take long until the organization, along with the mindset associated with it, became a going concern.

To begin with, any insurance policy stipulates that the insurer shall indemnify the insured only for a loss or damage resulting from an accident. In any event a loss incurred either on the depositor's side or the bank's side cannot be considered accidental. And the subrogation right will never be waived as long as there is an identified party who should take the blame for the loss. Obviously that's what the incoming President failed to learn at Harvard. As a result, he wholeheartedly supported Bush's rescue plans which on the one hand earmarked $700 billion to bail out failing finantial institutions, and on the other, raised the cap on the insurance coverage from $100K to $250K. That was a big misstep that Obama took even before he is installed as the President.

When it comes to foreign policy, he is basically no different from Clinton as is apparent from his intention to make her succeed Condoleezza Rice. Here again, he has failed to realize multilateralism has long been tested unworkable. As we have seen for the last 15 years, the more the U.S. acts like a busybody, the more its allies, and foes alike, act like crybabies by incessantly giving "blowbacks.".

Admittedly Ron Paul sounds a little naive and simplistic when advocating noninterventionism. But he is basically right in categorically vilifying the idea of spending hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars every year for foreign affairs that the State Department and Defense Department cannot manage. As he maintained during his aborted campaign, it is especially ridiculous to police the world by deploying American troops in as many as 130 countries and regions as if the Americans don't have their own headache and heartache. As if to justify the folly, they have repeatedly mixed up two completely different things since 9-11: war on terror and nation building.

Learning no lessons from the downright failures by the previous administrations, the learning-disabled President-elect makes believe that all these post-WWII multilateral frameworks such as the U.N. and post-Cold War systems such as the Six-Party Talks over the North Korean nuclear programs are not obsolete yet and still can be reformed in one way or the other.

What's more, mismanaged foreign affairs almost always result in poor domestic policies - and vice versa. It seems to me that the largely misguided foreign policies since Bill Clinton are now taking a serious toll on the overall climate in the U.S., with the erosion of the "country-first" mindset and the founding principles centered around self-reliance further accelerating. Since the U.S. is built by many different ethnic groups, its people are especially prone to infections from foreign countries, be it Japan or Kenya, that don't share the same set of values with earlier settlers.

Now it has become increasingly clear that Obama will fail to deliver on his empty promise of change. Even a professional Monday morning quarterback doesn't have to wait until his inauguration. In short the silver-tongued Democrat keeps sending one simple message to people of all ethnic groups, classes, genders, generations and even nationalities:

Let's swim together, and sink together.

It seems to me that 2012 is the last chance for the Americans to have a hard look at their Main Street things, rather than just scratching the surface of Wall Street. Only in doing so, will they possibly become aware that the entire socio-political system and their lavish way of life have to be thoroughly overhauled. If they miss that timing once again in the face of the daunting challenge, America will be sunk for good. The 46th President who is inaugurated in January 2017 after the four consecutive mediocre administrations, be it Ron Paul or Sarah Palin, could no longer find a way to stem or reverse the constant downturn of his/her nation.

But for now I'm reasonably sure that the American people will, by then, be able to show unparalleled resilience they have inherited from their ancestors and restore the self-purification mechanism that was once there, so they can narrowly avoid a humiliating defeat in Cold War II overseas and the breakout of Civil War II at home.

And just for argument's sake, what if the rebirth of America turns out abortive? Maybe you wouldn't call the possible miscarriage a collapse. Semantics apart, though, collapse is not the worst thing that could happen to a country, and its people. Some helplessly unviable countries such as Japan and China are even unable to collapse from within. Fortunately, though, the last thing I could imagine about America's fate is a scenario in which the nation outlives an era named after itself. This would be the only consolation I could resort to should Igor Panarin's prophecy prove true.

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