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Monday, October 31, 2016

American democracy at stake

It is not an exaggeration to declare that the American political system has reached a point of entropy. The signs have been apparent for years. Consider recent history.

American foreign policy has been adrift since WWII. While the American spirit and values are to advance democracy wherever possible, the nation's capacity is constrained. It is easy to take on more than is possible to achieve. Prioritizing and making strategic decisions is required of responsible government.

Forms of governments that are misaligned with that of a pluralistic democratic republic such as America are defined as enemies and frenemies. That is, governments that declare war on America are overt enemies. Governments that coexist through trading partnerships may compromise for economic convenience and are called frenemies. On the one hand, governments in the Middle East that are the source of essential fossil fuels have been a strategic necessity. American presence there has been tolerated as Americans tolerate them. However, neither party wholly accepts the other because foundational conflicts remain.

In the late 1940s, with Elanor Roosevelt's leadership, the United Nations advanced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That declaration is intended to be a foundation upon which governments can declare their alignment. By signing the declaration, governments agree to protect individual human rights. Some signees have abridged or otherwise violated the resolution. However, enforcement or policing of abuses have but two consequences: 1. diplomatic, and 2. war. Economic sanctions are a part of the diplomatic tools. Implementing them requires universal discipline and compliance among all parties, and therein lies much complication.

Among American foreign policy shortcomings include (among others):
  • Russia
  • China
  • North Korea
  • Viet Nam
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Korea
  • Syria
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Israel
Iraq is one of the most visible American foreign policy disasters because attacking Iraq under false pretenses caused precipitous consequences:

  • Cost of war nearly destroyed the American economy and accrued debt
  • Simultaneous irresponsible tax policies exacerbated the debt and deficit problem

Those catastrophic failures were created by a Republican-led administration that was corrupted by influence from the military industrial complex whose leaders became members of the Bush administration, including Vice President, Dick Cheney.

With the nation on its financial knees at the start of the Obama administration, emergency action was necessary to restore stability. That happened with President Obama's leadership and a Democratic-led Congress.

Republican leaders in Congress declared war on the Obama administration. While voters elected Obama to two terms, they ousted the Democratic leadership in Congress. The consequence has been the dysfunctional government that has deteriorated in effectiveness ever since.

Political parties, whose processes of vetting and advancing candidates are woefully flawed, out of date and without standards, have produced inadequate and controversial candidates. If that were not enough, now a member of the executive branch has violated the Hatch Act to engage the politics with the intent to affect the outcome.

The present situation is a dire state.

America's enemies include state actors and terrorists which remain at large and active while the American political system is melting down with no resolution in sight. In fact, one might see insurrection on the horizon regardless of the outcome.

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