The Western media’s unfair and biased attitude toward Russian athletes, unfounded accusations, and defamation are destroying the United States’ appeal in the eyes of the international community no less than its airstrikes against Belgrade, Baghdad and Tripoli.
Perhaps the most important development in world politics since the collapse of the Soviet Union is taking place: disappointment with the U.S. and the collapse of the ideal image it created as an “empire of liberty and goodness.” This process began in the 2000s and, by all appearances, it has assumed a sense of being irreversible in the past two years. Everything that somehow created the illusion of an American dream that one would want to send abroad has now, in all of the key elements, suddenly lost its appeal and turned negative.
On different continents and in different countries of the world, a fascination with the “model of democracy” is being replaced by a disappointment over double standards, disappointment that’s growing into resentment over the world leader’s tyranny. Most countries are hiding their resentment for the time being, expressing it only behind the scenes in conversations with Lavrov or with our Chinese comrades, but a weariness with the U.S. is increasing and showing up more frequently.
Even in Europe, which was overwhelmed by a wave of terror as a result of the flow of refugees from countries turned upside down at Washington’s initiative, the voices of those disgruntled with U.S. policy are heard more often. Even Washington’s most loyal supporters among the local elite can’t help but see how the American ideals they sing about do not correspond to real action.
Freedom of speech and the media have long since turned an untouchable right and the basis of what the Statue of Liberty represents into a means of mass manipulation and a weapon of information warfare. Afghanistan, Iraq, Aug. 8, 2008, the Arab Spring, the revolution in Ukraine, the war in Syria—each new work of art by American demiurges in various parts of the world has destroyed the belief in freedom and in the broadcast word.* The West’s media empires have come to be perceived not as mouthpieces of freedom but as totalitarian sects of big business.
The success of the Russia Today network is not only a credit to Margarita Simonyan and company, but also a consequence of the Western media’s complete monopolization of the American point of view. Europeans and Americans turn on RT out of a fundamental desire to hear a different point of view on what’s happening at home and around the world, a point of view that only Russia (and China as well) dares to present.
Hence the indignation apropos of the British newspaper The Times, which rained down seven articles about “Putin propaganda destroying Britain” just because the news agency Sputnik opened an office in Edinburgh. Incidentally, the offices of the largest news agencies and broadcasters in Russia don’t elicit such a reaction from Moscow.
Human rights? Human rights are increasingly being violated in different parts of the world in furtherance of the State Department’s interests. One might retort that this is a common principle of geopolitics and all countries violate citizens’ rights in the fight against enemies. But the Americans pull such stunts that afterwards it’s impossible to talk about human rights as values of American policy without feeling ashamed.
The groundless detention of other countries’ citizens outside the United States, their trials and confinement in prisons where they’re tortured, providing cover for terrorist groups disguised as “moderates,” defaming without evidence officials and politicians it doesn’t like (Berlusconi, Strauss-Kahn, Blatter, Schröder)—after things like that, only a person without a conscience or honor could believe in some sacred human rights that are universal for all countries and protected by the U.S. Navy.
Tolerance and standing up for minorities are yet another American fetish that clashes with American reality. The propaganda of indifference, taken to absurd lengths under the guise of tolerance, comes home to roost in the form of white U.S. police officers shooting blacks.
Yet such aggression is itself a consequence of the black community’s aggression toward police. In recent years, dozens of cases have been recorded of African-Americans opening fire on police during an ordinary document check. It’s a two-way street, and one motiveless act of malice and the blood it spills gives rise to a retaliatory act of malice and new blood.
Even American democracy as a method of social control is obviously failing. Voter confidence in the elections and in the highest administrative ranks of the U.S. and Western Europe is at a historic low.
The U.S. two-party system, in which the Democrats have almost completely merged with the Republicans, has turned into such a boring parody of competition that even the American electorate, not noted for its introspection, feels something is wrong, and began to express its dissatisfaction with empty puppets like Bush.** That’s why Trump was necessary, on the one hand to revive the illusion of competition, and on the other hand to attract the sentiment of protest and channel it in a direction that’s safe for Washington.
Yes, some elements of Western democratic governance are still needed in the world, and it’s no accident Russia decided to use the very same primary election system. On the whole, however, American democracy as a system has ceased to be perceived as a model. It contains a ton of flaws, and states are increasingly building their own model of democracy, standing up for the right to promote distinctive national characteristics.
That’s what Russia, India, and Japan are doing, what Brazil tried to do, and what Turkey is trying to do. Incidentally, it’s significant that during the coup in Turkey, both the rebels and Erdogan alike insisted that they were fighting for democracy, but it’s clear that they both conceived of it as specifically Turkish democracy, distinct from Western democracy.
The world no longer wants to live “a l'americaine” and hangs onto Washington’s every word increasingly less often. Its model having lost its appeal for the rest of the world, the U.S. is increasingly using force to retain dominance.
At its disposal is what is still the most powerful army, present in every major region on the planet, and the dollar mechanism of control over global finance (plus a consumer society as a derivative thereof). Yet these two aces of U.S. dominance, for all their significance, are nevertheless secondary to the main ace—that it used to be considered the final model of human civilization’s development.
Power over the minds and desires of billions of people, achieved by virtue of the appeal of the American idea of power and freedom—that was the key to the success of the Pax Americana in the post-Soviet years, when an alternative to it disappeared.
Scientists, computer programmers, economists, actors, journalists, businessmen, and laborers from around the world traveled to America (or dreamed about getting a green card) not so much for comfort, professional fulfillment, better conditions, or money, but first and foremost out of a desire to get involved with the most powerful, richest, and at the same time freest superpower, the only superpower in the world and in that sense truly unique.
The power of big money and the spirit of American freedom—all these years that’s what attracted the most ambitious and high-flying types, and allowed for the formation of potential Washington allies in practically every country. But not only that—human rights, tolerance, and skillfully promoted media freedom won over many supporters of humanism. For instance, in the same Soviet Union, even ordinary citizens frequently tried to tune in to “Voice of America” or (imagine!) “Radio Svoboda,” interpreting the opinion of those stations as news of the truth, rather than enemy voices.
It’s simply impossible to imagine such a thing now. The U.S. has turned into some kind of analogue of the Soviet Union, only a capitalist, neo-liberal version. It’s still a powerful superpower with a huge army and developed economy, but it’s rapidly losing its appeal for others and its internal sense of the righteousness of its own idea. As a result, its system of governance is becoming increasingly less flexible, the decisions it makes less reasonable.
In this sense, Donald Trump, for all the personal dissimilarities he bears in terms of political role, resembles the demagogue Gorbachev: he promises Americans tired of waiting for change that which he a priori won’t be able to do. To be sure, the U.S. is not the Soviet Union, if only by the example of its relations with allies (Moscow invested in them, whereas Washington drains them of their energy), but the sense of the depletion of the American dream and the dead end for the existence of the Pax Americana is reminiscent of that era when even Soviet citizens weren’t prepared to defend Soviet ideals.
However, in contrast to the Soviet Union, which calmly slammed shut, causing pain only to its own population, the U.S. will cling to its domination to the end, even if doing so requires drowning the world in blood.
*Editor’s note: A demiurge is defined, among other things, as a ruling force or creative power, sometimes considered a creator of evil.
**Translator’s note: The word translated here as “puppet” refers to the character of Mr. Punch, the club-wielding eponym of the violent "Punch and Judy" puppet show.