Ever since Donald Trump became President of the United States of America, there has been a realization that the country is polarized in many ways. This is especially true regarding an aversion to the truth, albeit at a scale beyond one person. Given the country’s geography, access to new information and technology, with signs that Americans are doing poorer than they once were in many respects, it is no surprise that reactions to his leadership were going to be expressed down partisan lines. Some believed he would solve the predatory trade practices taking advantage of workers, while others thought he would reinstitute discriminatory policies through some ambiguous past comments. However, instead of producing the change people can believe in, the American empire has effectively been able to coast along with continuity through this administration while the problems of empire are more obviously coming home to roost.
To be fair to Trump though, many thought that Obama’s presidency would be a great improvement over Bush’s policies. After all, he drew a difference in criticizing the wrongful foreign interventions during the 2000s (Bush himself cautioned against this in running for president). Sadly, however, Obama ended up embracing and expanding the War on Terror, along with entrenching the surveillance state and penalizing whistle-blowers. Now that the office has been passed to Trump, an unusual product of a nation spurning the advice of its founders, he has unfortunately done the same in continuing his predecessor’s legacy while deriding him over bitter partisan issues where possible. Naturally, this has not helped improve his image to those who are against him, some of whom have long attempted to discredit and bring him down even before he took office. The current result of all this is that there is now a hyper-partisan impeachment effort, which is likely to fail despite some legitimate investigations into developments during his presidency. All this political theatre though is arguable because he has been more candid and less polished than many other government representatives, metaphorically showing a mirror to his accusers. Are they better than him when they are not supposed to abdicate certain powers, like that of declaring war or are complicit in proposing budgets that blow out an incomprehensible deficit every year?
The point is, that currently in this law-making body, the truth is often ignored, trivialized, or subjugated in preserving the empire at the cost of properly evaluating policies and laws on their merits. While this criticism, in which the U.S. owes many of its problems too, could be generally applied to many aspects of the Federal Government, in being topical how many times will U.S. drone policy be brought up in the impeachment hearings given Trump’s continuation of Obama’s drone policy? Probably none, considering that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi previous said in 2006 that “impeachment is off the table” for President Bush’s foreign adventures. To change her mind over something similar, even though it would be right to consider this, would hypocritically show a lot of what Democrats and Republicans have been bipartisan on for some time now—a warfare-welfare interventionist state devoid of meaningful debates. The truth, which would be good to hear, would do little to build confidence in an abysmally trusted and politically hack populated Congress, which is likely why impeachment will never touch anything other politicians are guilty of supporting. It is ironic then part of their recent attempts to regain the public’s trust in government is to remove someone who, despite his imperfections, occasionally voices some truth, reinforcing that truth is trivialized when power is at stake. However, Trump, despite the partisan impeachment process, deserves some blame too as simply questioning aspects of the American empire and then doing nothing about them, when he is the president, is also inexcusable. He appears then by inaction to be fine with all the abuses the government is ‘allowed’ to commit, which for example is also why he now deserves as much blame for whatever disasters occur in Syria so long as he is fine continuing Obama’s intervention policy. To summarize and reiterate the point, when the truth is traded for national security and safety, both of which are difficult to quantify, no wonder problems at home become bad and that trust and the system itself overtime begins to manifest in a gradual and painful deterioration.
The solution to all this mess ironically has previously been suggested by all three presidents mentioned, so it cannot be difficult to understand. Whether it is not being the world’s policeman, understanding that unnecessary conflicts can have undetermined consequences, or that the United States is being taken advantage of in bolstering otherwise safe parts of the world up—simply having a presence everywhere is wrong and should be changed. The truth is if the government cannot explain to the poorest in the country why their money is funding foreign adventurers, which historically have not made the United States better off in most circumstances, then should it be doing so? No, because the resulting consequences from passing all those over-bloated military budgets, which never decrease despite no obvious enemies, will not result in better outcomes for its citizens, least of all the poorest. Individuals and other countries might not like the idea of a non-interventionist United States, but if historic covert actions around the world and the open regime change wars of the past few decades are anything to go by, then the world might just learn to get along a bit better. That does not mean the United States should not have a presence in the world, however having an empire present in many parts of the world, despite all the costs, has meant that the world’s net condition has hardly improved for the better.
While morally the empire cannot be justified, neither in truth can the borrowing of money to prop-up the system be anymore a reason to continue it. Borrowing money from other countries to support the empire, perhaps spending it in the form of sending aid to allies (which happens to be part of Trump’s impeachment saga), demonstrates how backwards empire is when the economic truth is ignored. It does not matter if it could be justified as one day the lenders will stop lending and want their debt to be paid somehow, which would likely result in significant collapses in the federal government. Naturally, this would be devastating for the most vulnerable, which considering those on government assistance and that many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, this event would severely disrupt domestic life for all. If the moral truth is ignored, that a structural attitude change is needed to starve off the worst effects of a rotting empire, then the economic reality will, unfortunately, bear its worst result on all those caught up in it.
Finally, part of this whole issue of empire and trust is that the United States in many respects has become a country unrecognizable from the values it claims to have enshrined in its Constitution. While the founders were by no means perfect in setting up the United States, it was recognized that the country would be at its strongest when it was not looking for enemies to fight and when partisanship was not present. In other words, a respect for natural law and a realistic worldview that would not ignore the truth in government affairs, which would both lead to better outcomes for its citizens. Today, the country is far from that in being the most powerful in existence but at the cost of the greatest debt ever accumulated and wide distrust of its government. To be blunt, it is an insular giant with its people divided, potentially one disaster away from unintended consequences that could cripple it in great pain for some time. Things could change for the better though. After all, America has achieved many past things thought difficult. However, there must be some greater respect and commitment to the truth in matters related to policy to avoid the evils of empire. Merely focusing on impossible promises, hollow platitudes, and colourful individuals, will not change anything for the better if the relationship to the truth is not restored to the spirit it was at in the founding of the nation.
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