The American empire is crumbling.
What President Trump is destroying is a product of the postwar years. In the years after the Second World War, America constructed what amounted to a globe-spanning empire, with the active assistance of Western Europe. The immediate justification was to build a military coalition capable of countering and containing the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc — and an important secondary objective was setting up a solid economic system to ensure prosperity, manage trade, and avoid depression.
Just an aside: it can be argued that the whole saga of Iran, from the Mossadeq coup to the Shah and the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the backlash we’re seeing now is the result of ill-conceived imperialism on our part.
It used to be that it was hard to find anyone on the American left–I mean leftists, not these liberals who drifted along during the Cold War–who thought that the projection of American power could be beneficent by any standard. But today, they lament its decline. You just can’t make this stuff up!
Of course, there is a method to their madness: during the Obama years, they saw the possibility of the projection of their idea (especially getting laid, high and drunk) on the entire world. Trump proposes a pullback, they see those dreams going up like smoke.
The blunt truth is, however, that with our large national debt, crumbling infrastructure, and (until recently) weak economy, the resources necessary for us to remain the world’s only superpower were slipping beyond our grasp. It’s interesting that Trump of all people is facilitating a pullback. But that’s something else I though I’d never see: the right cheering such a pullback on.
Now if someone could make the right feel better about the precipitous drop in living standards necessitated by the ill-considered solutions to carbon dioxide emissions, that would be something. But that’s a rabbit out of the hat that will have to wait.