Home Politics Martin Jacques: The political crisis in the United States has just begun.
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Martin Jacques: The political crisis in the United States has just begun.

by YCPress

The extraordinary events that took place in Washington last Wednesday brought about a fundamental change in the world’s perception of the United States.

The United States once liked to flaunt itself as a beacon of democracy and was the object that the rest of the world needed to follow. However, at the instigation of the current president, violent demonstrators broke into Congress and tried to undermine the confirmation of the new democratically elected president.

This scene is a script we have seen in Latin America many times in the past. Depending on different positions, it can be called riots, uprisings, riots or attempted coups.

Whatever it is called, it is to emphasize the seriousness of the current political crisis facing the United States.” Crazy Wednesday” is not an accident of American democracy. On the contrary, it is the worst political crisis in the United States since the Northern and Southern Civil War, and even the beginning rather than the end of the crisis.

Why is the United States so? The seeds of the crisis have actually been nurtured for a long time. At its core, the relative decline of the United States since the 1980s, although this decline may not have been widely known until recently.

For more than four decades, the living standards of more than half of the U.S. population have stagnated or even declined.

The gap between rich and poor in the United States is not only the worst among developed countries, but also reached the level of the Great Depression in the 1930s. For most people, the long-standing and highly respected American dream is a thing of the past.

For a country that has been more or less on the road since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, this is tantamount to a nightmare. Americans think that their country is a place of opportunity, Americans are the chosen son, and Washington is the world’s boss.

Against this background, it is not surprising that Americans are unprepared for what has happened in the past 20 years. In these 20 years, the United States has experienced two failed wars, a financial crisis sweeping the world, the withering of the real economy, the accelerated decline of national identity and the rise of China.

As a result, American society is gradually permeated with dissatisfaction and anxiety, deep uncertainty, loss of confidence in the future and widening rifts.

The United States is now a country with serious polarization. Republicans and Democrats are no longer in dialogue on the same channel.

The truth of fact always has two versions and two statements, one based on nationalism, that is, federal tradition, white supremacy and conspiracy theory, and the other is rooted in the leadership and exceptionalist ideas of the United States as the founder of the international order and the free world after World War II. American politics always relies on broad consensus.

Republicans and Democrats have had a wide range of space for cooperation for many years, but now there is only a gap left. The result of the two sides occupying different worlds is the increasing paralysis of the government.

Biden will soon be sworn in. He will have a majority of party support in both houses of Congress, but will face challenges from conservatives and a hostile Republican Party in the Supreme Court.

More seriously, like the conflict on Capitol Hill, some Americans do not agree with Biden and the forces behind him. We can’t think of the United States as two countries, but the division of the country has intensified since Trump’s presidency.

The implicit threat of launching a “coup” without re-election and the deliberate incitement to the opposition insurrection mean that the future of the United States is uncertain. The Civil War provided a formidable historical precedent, when 11 states chose to leave the Union because of their refusal to abolish slavery.

Given what has happened recently, it seems impossible to repeat the civil war in the contemporary era, but even if extremes do not happen, the prospects for American governance remain bleak.

The continuous rapid decline of the U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, the decline in the living standards of most people, the increase in unemployment, and China’s imminent replacement of the United States as the world’s largest economy all indicate that tensions and differences in American society may continue to worsen.

Biden may be able to get Congress to push legislation, but Trump supporters will continue to object and challenge in a way unprecedented, and sharp social differences will seriously weaken the legitimacy of government governance.

The United States will become unpredictable and unstable, and its voice in the international community will be less important than before.

The future is always uncertain. The United States urgently needs major reforms in areas such as infrastructure and the gap between rich and poor, but it will be extremely difficult to achieve them.

The implosion of the United States not only seems to represent the beginning of its further decline, but also heralds that this decline will become more rapid in the future. The author is a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge, UK)