When it comes to great empires, domestic events and political decisions are good indicators of emerging changes and predictors of the future that awaits those empires. When such events or official decisions are incompatible with the image and political legacy of the world’s greatest empire, the United States, they signal the start of a new transformative phase that can potentially cause that empire to veer toward a new reality and a different global status. A full transformation won’t happen overnight — the important takeaway is that the phase has begun.
Observers of social and political dynamics in America realize that the country is on the verge of a new era and that the future America won’t be the same global power that once ruled the world, dominated it economically and politically, treated other world regimes like chess pieces, besieged and put pressure on other states, toppled governments and imposed its values, sometimes with diplomacy but more often with tension and war.
The transformation phase currently underway began with the extraordinary 9/11 terrorist attacks. The attacks dealt a blow to the image of a strong America, as they were of a scale not suffered by even far weaker countries. America was supposed to know about everything on the planet, yet it was unable to detect the worst plot hatched against it and failed to protect thousands of its citizens and one of its most famous landmarks.
In the wake of the attacks, America resorted to brutal force to recover its prestige on the international stage, but its actions in Afghanistan and Iraq cost America the trust the world had placed in its democracy and values, which were then being used to pressure other nations and governments. Moreover, America maintained its double standards with regard to numerous global issues and continued to spark uprisings that resulted in nothing but havoc, destruction and displacement for many nations.
Recently, another unusual event took place in America when the FBI raided the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump, collected thousands of documents that were removed from the White House and accused Trump of destroying and concealing highly classified materials. This is the first time in U.S. history that a former president has faced such accusations, charges which could land him in jail. Trump tried to claim his actions were not unprecedented and accused former President Barack Obama of doing something similar, accusations that officials refuted.
The division between Democrats and Republicans had really only been skin-deep. Erstwhile complements of each other, they shared exclusive control over the presidency, Congress and local governments. The FBI raid, though, exacerbated the Democrat-Republican divide, which consequently spilled over into the public. These developments placed both Trump and President Joe Biden in unenviable positions. On one hand, Trump concealed and destroyed classified documents. On the other, Biden has gone after his predecessor to try and rescue the Democratic Party from defeat in the midterm elections in November and deny his archrival a chance to run in the 2024 presidential election. Although Biden denied any advance knowledge of the FBI raid, that assertion is doubtful. Moreover, Trump, Biden and even Obama have engaged in an unprecedented exchange of slander and accusations.
The 9/11 attacks, the raid on Trump’s residence and the numerous decisions and events in between all confirm the onset of America’s collapse. America’s ill-advised policy on the Ukraine crisis and its harassment of China in Taiwan have ruined all diplomatic prospects between Washington and either Moscow or Beijing. This state of affairs is bound to create a multipolar world marked by fierce competition for the position of the planet’s CEO, which America has monopolized for decades.
Domestically, racial discrimination is once again rearing its ugly head in American society and dividing Americans. This new wave of racism was fueled by the rhetoric of certain leaders, including remarks by then-candidate Trump about immigrants, Muslims, people of color, Latinos and Arabs.
Additionally, America lost its status as a global source of protection in times of disaster and crisis when it became the country hit the worst by COVID-19. The pandemic was followed by wildfires and rising temperatures resulting from climate change, all of which further tarnished the image of the world’s greatest power.
Although the U.S. remains the world’s leading economy, current price hikes and high inflation rates, the worst in 40 years, are further evidence that, just like any other country, America is unable to deal with its crises.
America is in crisis domestically and internationally. It is getting worse with every passing day. The path toward transformation and eventual decline could take some time or it could surprise the world with how quickly it unfolds. Just like climate change, the impact may surprise us all with how fast it takes place.