Editor, The Times:
The US presidential debate – score the first one for Mitt Romney – the second one for Barack Obama – the third one? Nobody!
The final exchange, which centered on foreign policy, had both Romney and Obama prattling on as if the USA were still a top super power ‘rolling in dough’ loved and respected all over the world instead of the stumbling giant, awash in debt with thousands of it’s citizens homeless or living in tent cities with acres of abandoned housing all over the country.
Thirty years ago an American commentator had this to say about the now defiant Soviet Union, “If it weren’t for its huge military Russia would be a Third World entity.”
Well guess what, 30 years on, with $687 billion consumed by the Pentagon – (weapons being about the last thing still manufactured in America) about the same thing can now be said about the United States.
Twenty-five years ago this would have all sounded ludicrous. However as Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges points out the specter of American failure is all too real. (The Walrus, Nov 2012)
The causes? Well that volume would make Gibbon’s Declare and Fall of the Roman Empire (which, incidentally, the U.S. in its downward spiral most resembles) looks like a postcard.
The banks, which indulged in financial moves that resembled something thought up by Lewis Carroll – the stock market, which awards failure (selling short) as much as success – the top one to five per cent who fly their helicopters and private planes from mansion to mansion, totally ignoring those on the ground who at least in part made their elevated status possible – who don’t want to pay their fair share to keep the country alive – (the same happened to the Roman Empire).
However during the third presidential debate Obama and Romney blabbered on like the Aztecs in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto – just gouge out a few more hearts, chop off a few more heads and all will be well.
It didn’t work for the Aztec and, as Chris Hedges wrote, it won’t work for the U.S. either!