American Decline

Robert Kagan’s warning about the US constitutional crisis: It is 1932

Uber-neocon Bob Kagan, a founder of the Kristolite PNAC and husband of Vicki Nuland, pulls an AOCesque “I’m scared” routine and predicts that pan-secessionism, at least on a primitive level, will actually happen in the next few years. I wish I were as optimistic as Bob the Blob’s Fat Slob, but given that neocons are usually wrong about everything, it probably won’t happen. The neocons are basically what you would get if the Antifa or one of the Trotskyite fringe cults actually had access to state power, billionaire donors, and media cover.

By Michael Sean Winters National Catholic Reporter

Rarely does an essay in a newspaper make such a remarkable impression as did Robert Kagan’s essay in The Washington Post this past weekend titled “Our constitutional crisis is already here.” I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety, but these are the three sections that most grabbed my attention.

First, his bracing opening:

The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial.

Why have honest and decent people who happen to be conservative Republicans assented to laws that promise to make elections prone to political manipulation? Why are Democrats bickering among themselves when they need to pass some safeguards for our electoral process? And to make sure that government is seen to work for the people and not just for the plutocrats?

Second, Kagan’s frightening historical analogy:

As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation.

We forget that German President Paul von Hindenburg thought he would be able to control Adolph Hitler once he named him chancellor in 1933. We forget that there was no “March on Rome” by Mussolini’s black shirts in 1922: The thugs gathered outside the city and could have been stopped by the army. The fascist leader got to Rome by train and King Victor Emmanuel III invited him to form a government. Later, the myth of the March on Rome was created. The acquiescence of the Western liberal democracies to the rearmament of Germany is too well-known to need repeating and has forever turned an otherwise useful word, appeasement, into a derisive and foul concept.


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