‘As NATO pushed up to the gates of Moscow, what happened, oddly enough, is that the Americans and the Russians switched roles. The former, invoking a militant “democratic” internationalism, adopted the revolutionary rhetoric and mindset of the early pre-Stalinist communists, while the latter took up the conservatizing role abandoned by Washington.
Which is where we are today – except that the danger posed by Washington is far greater than any the old Soviet empire could have mustered, for two reasons:
1) The Soviet economic system was inherently unworkable, and ended the only way it could have ended. On the other hand, the American economic system is the mightiest industrial machine the world has ever known: capitalism has created enormous wealth, and while we’ve eaten a lot of our seed corn and built up an enormous mountain of debt, the system is still coasting along on the achievements of the past.
2) Stalin was essentially an “isolationist,” that is, he didn’t want to get too involved in the affairs of other countries, concerned as he was with cementing his own despotic rule at home. That’s why he ditched the old Leninism, drove Trotsky into exile, and declared the official Soviet doctrine of “socialism in one country.” In the US, however, “isolationism” is out of style: both parties support an “internationalist” foreign policy, differing only in the details of how to apply the general principle of empire-building on a global scale.
What all this means is that the world’s wealthiest nation has now decided it can and should rule the world – and has embarked on a campaign, consisting of both military and “soft power” aspects, to achieve just that. And while this effort effectively undermines whatever claim the US once had to be being the leader of the “Free” World – as Edward Snowden revealed, and as the continuous erosion of our constitutional liberties underscores every day – Washington still wields the banner of “freedom” to great effect, especially when compared with the regimes it seeks to overthrow.
Baldly stated, the United States government is the greatest danger to peace and freedom the world has ever known. This is true precisely because it has held aloft the torch of liberty for so long, an example to the world of what a society based on individual freedom can achieve. That is the great paradox of American power. As we abandon our libertarian heritage – even as we retain the forms of a constitutional republic – we destroy what made our power possible.
The process is reversible: we can restore our old republic – but only if we give up the mirage of empire. If we continue to pursue the fatal dream of a beneficent internationalism, America will lose itself, dissolve its unique character – and wreak destruction, not only on its own people but on the peoples of the world. In switching roles with the Soviets, we prefigure their fate: and the resulting implosion is going to shake the world to its foundations in a way that the fall of the Kremlin never did. In programming our own self-destruction, we will likely drag much of the world with us.‘