Saturday, August 06, 2011

Gonna get along without you now 

After the Berlin Wall fell, the world thought that the United States had won.
So did the United States.
Reagan talked about the shining city on the hill. Bush the Elder talked about a thousand points of light. Al Gore invented the internet. They elected Bill Clinton who got their deficit under control for the first time since WWII.
They were on a roll.
But they just couldn't stop electing Republicans.
So the world watched while Clinton was impeached over a blow job. Then we watched them electing Bush the Younger. Twice. In the last ten years the world found itself following America into three wars in the Middle East. American politicians sabotaged international consensus on dealing with climate change and on trying to make progress with the Palestinian issue. The final straw was seeing the United States jeopardize the world economy twice in the last four years, by letting Wall Street run wild, and by turning the debt ceiling vote into a six-month debacle.
And its not just the Republicans' fault. The perception of the world is that, if a lot of Americans didn't agree with what the Republicans are doing, they wouldn't keep electing them.
Now the American media is freaking out because Standard & Poor cut America's credit rating. Though the political basis of the S&P action is evident, the downgrade is also a signal that the rest of the world is getting tired of these shenanigans.
An opinion piece in Der Speigel sums it up:
The name "United States" seems increasingly less appropriate. [Hate] has become routine in American political culture . . . reason has been replaced by delusion. The notion of tax cuts has taken on a cult-like status, and the limited role of the state a leading ideology. In this new American civil war, respect for the country's highest office was sacrificed long ago. The fact that Barack Obama is the country's first African-American president may have played a role there, too.
There's no deliverance in sight.

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