America on the brink

“Four dead and dozens injured are the preliminary results of the storming of the Capitol, the seat of Congress in the American capital, Washington, D.C.” Asbjørn Rasmussen with a personal classification of yesterday’s events.

Why was the Capitol so unsecured despite all warnings?
What no hostile power has succeeded in doing since the British set fire to the building in 1813 during the British-American War, neither Nazis, communists nor Islamists, numerous demonstrators from their own country, from regions of the USA which the power elites were able to ignore for a long time, which they overlooked, succeeded in storming this architectural symbol of American democracy.

Donald Trump’s role in this sad spectacle is extremely questionable; in the eyes of many, the still incumbent U.S. president has crossed a line that will not be without consequences either for him personally or for his political legacy.

But it also remains questionable why, despite all warnings, the Capitol was so unsecured that a mob was able to enter, especially considering how quickly U.S. security agencies otherwise have their finger on the trigger, in ordinary traffic stops, for example.

The Age of Rage
The superpower is battered, beset by domestic tensions that have not yet passed their peak but are only approaching it.

Some 30 years after the end of the Cold War, from which the U.S. emerged as the shining victor, as an unrestricted world power, indeed as a “New Rome,” as pathetic political scientists put it at the time, the U.S. rather resembles the outgoing Roman Republic, which, flanked by military overextension, went to ruin in the long run because of its internal contradictions. The fuse that exploded yesterday in Washington, D.C., had been burning for a long time.

The warning of a mass murderer
In 1992, an article appeared in a small-town American newspaper, written by a young man who had participated as a veteran in the first Gulf War, a time when the United States was at the height of its power and global reach. The article states:

“Racism on the rise? Most certainly. Is it the outlet for America’s frustration? Is the frustration justified? Who is to blame for the chaos? At a point when the world is witnessing communism stumble as an imperfect system of organizing people, democracy seems to be going the same way. No one sees the big picture.”

Timothy McVeigh was the name of the author who, a few years later, on April 19, 1995 to be exact, murdered 168 Americans in Oklahoma City with the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.

On the pulse of America
McVeigh came from a milieu similar to the lives of many of the protesters yesterday in Washington. Americans from the regions Hillary Clinton once derided as “fly over states,” states you fly over on your way from coast to coast.

Regions disconnected from the booming urban hotspots, inhabited by people who can no longer rely on their former privileges because of the color of their skin, their gender or their manual skills, whose qualifications no longer count for much, while they are still suggested to live in the best country in the world, or the American dream, with a steadily declining standard of living.

In the summer of three years ago, I traveled to this region, far from the tourist centers of the United States and researched between Cleveland Ohio and Detroit Michigan, in the so-called Rust Belt, the rust belt of America, where Trump was able to achieve his highest election results a year earlier.

Back then, talking to the so-called ordinary people, I got a sense of the deep divisions that are tearing the U.S. apart and causing tensions in other states of the West as well.

Globalization – with its features of highly mobile capital, accelerated communication, and rapid mobilization – has led to a weakening of older forms of government everywhere, in the social democracies of Europe as well as in Arab despotisms.

Fukuyama’s insights
The theses of the “end of history” that long clouded the brains of Western opinion leaders and decision makers have long since dissolved into the haze of history. Their author, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama had long ago distanced himself from his theses at the time. In his latest work, “Identity: How the Loss of Dignity Endangers Our Democracy,” he has succeeded in producing a realistic analysis of nightmarish topicality.

DepthTrade Outlook

Western heads of state react to the night of bloodshed in Washington, D.C., like devout Catholics watching a drug cell being rooted out in the Vatican on the news – with bewilderment.

The events do not fit the narrative of the NATO countries, which on closer inspection has long since ceased to be true, according to which the U.S. is the leading democracy and guardian of global human rights. It is likely that people in London, Paris and Berlin are only too aware of how quickly the events in Washington can find an imitation in European capitals as well.

Asbjørn Rasmussen Send an email

Mr. Rasmussen has been researching financial, monetary, and economic systems since the Dot-com bubble in 1999. His focus is on the analysis of American stock markets and the market driving policies. In addition to his journalistic activities, Mr. Rasmussen works as a self-employed energy and investment consultant in Norway.
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