I might be inclined to take this article more seriously if it wasn’t written by George Packer, a “liberal hawk” idiot who supported the Iraq War.
The US is a long way from being a “failed state.” The current pandemic is very similar to the Spanish flu of 1918, which actually killed many more Americans and others around the world than COVID-19 (so far, at least). The Hong Kong Flu epidemic of 1968/69 killed around 50,000 Americans. It’s just that so many other things were happening during that time no one noticed.
The current insurrection is almost on the level of the insurrections that took place in the late 1960s/early 1970s, a time in which the US arguably had the best economy in world history (one US dollar in1968 had 7.37 times the purchasing power of the US dollar today). At present, the US is in a state of decline, in that cracks in the global empire are starting to show and, domestically, class relations are starting to resemble those of Latin America. Uprisings like those of recent days (and much worse) are “normal” in many parts of the world. None of that makes for a “failed state” per se. Libya is a failed state (thanks, Barack and Hillary). Mexico comes close. Yemen, obviously. Syria since 2011. A number of sub-Saharan African countries.
Americans simply do not realize how much wealth and power their own ruling class has, which is almost unlimited by world-historical standards. We’re not fighting some Third World banana republic. We’re fighting the Galactic Empire from Star Wars or The Dominion from Star Trek.
By George Packer
When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.
Categories: American Decline