Saturday, March 24, 2018
A Shallow World
Bolton as security adviser only confirms the tendency to escalation. It is a really bad omen for the World. Trump, Pompeo and Bolton will now go on with extreme decisions and escalations and exaggerated quick reactions to real or perceived provocations.
For decades, maybe always, several US politicians in Congress and beyond have been and especially now are ignorant what concerns the complexity of modern American society and the World. Presidents from both parties and not least their ministers and advisors plus the administrative system have functioned as buffers limiting the harmful effects of decisions from ignorant politicians. Now we have both a president, ministers and advisors who are ignorant or extreme. The influence of the administrative system is being broken down. The ingenious mechanisms of mutual control in the American constitution do not function anymore. The buffer against harmful effects is gone. As said by several analysts, the deep state is getting shallow.
The Roman state in the republic was also a deep state. But because of the typical Greco-Roman principle of not letting administrators sit for longer periods, the Antique states were more easily shallowed. Until the second war with Cartage one of the reasons for the superiority of Rome in the Antique world was exactly the greater depth of the Roman republic compared to the other Mediterranean states. After this time the state was shallowed. Chaotic power struggles, shifts of power bypassing the constitution and violence prevailed. Now the superiority of Rome was only due to the weakness of the other states.
In comparison the Western civilization has been more stable. Its states including the United States took longer time to reach a similar level of shallowing. But now we are approaching it. The American state is clearly being shallowed under Trump. But what is even more dangerous, the int'l political system is also, both diplomatically, in trade relations, in the Internet and in military terms. Treaties and int'l organizations and the written and unwritten rules for behavior and interaction are beginning to be flagrantly ignored.
The Romans could let their destabilization happen and still win. But the world now is different from the Antique. The rivals are much stronger than those of Rome 146 BC. Also the US society and int'l interaction is much more complex in an infinitely intertwined world. Disturbances and conflicts can have disastrous consequences, also for the United States. And an America turned unstable can not expect to win easily over strong and more stable rivals.
America is now approaching the condition of the Roman Republic around 80 BC. Trump may be the modern Sulla. We may soon see the modern Marius. In the immediate future the next two US elections may bring relief. Still the Democratic Party is far less declined than the Republican. The contrast between the present ignorant rule and the wise rule under Obama could not be bigger. We must hope that the Republicans will accept defeat.