Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Failure of the Artificial Nation - Vox Popoli

 An insightful observation by Andrei Martyanov from his 2018 book Losing Military Supremacy : the myopia of American strategic planning:

The Americans in their intercourse with strangers appear impatient of the smallest censure and insatiable of praise. The most slender eulogium is acceptable to them; the most exalted seldom contents them; they unceasingly harass you to extort praise, and if you resist their entreaties they fall to praising themselves.

The American vaingloriousness described by Tocqueville has today become a clear and present danger to the world and it is, in the end, a direct threat to what’s left of America’s democratic institutions and processes. It threatens a shaky republic and it is embedded in the very foundation of a now increasingly obvious American decline. Of course, there are many opinions about American decline on the public discussion stage—some opinions reject the whole idea of an American decline out of hand as propaganda; others go to the other extreme by proposing an imminent collapse and disintegration of the United States into several states. What is lost in this contentious debate is the troubling fact of the very real and very dangerous decline of American cognitive faculties, which is also accompanied by what Robert Reilly termed de-Hellenization—a complete loss of sound reasoning across the whole spectrum of national activities from foreign policy, to economics, to war, to culture.

This decline is more than visible, it is omnipresent in the everyday lives of many Americans and even affects people from other nations and continents. This decline has deeper roots than the mere change of some economic paradigm, albeit this too matters a great deal. It portends a total existential crisis of American national mythology—a crisis of the American soul that has nothing to do with the superficial, mass-media driven ideological or party affiliations—rather, it is the decline of a national consensus. This decline reflects the American failure to form a real nation, a process which, as paradoxical as it may sound, was prevented by a sequence of historic events in the 20th century, which turned the tables on American fortunes.

That vaingloriousness and sense of exceptionalism has proven fatal, as it was exploited ruthlessly by the foreign invaders who played expertly upon the concept of “an idea nation” and “a nation of immigrants”. But contrary to those who would blame the decline of the USA solely on the two Jewish invasions – really three, in light of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment of 1974 – the seeds of the failure of Americans to successfully build a genuine nation were observably present long before the first major wave of immigration from Central Europe peaked in 1850 and the violent transformation of a Republic to an Empire in 1865.

Martyanov’s observations concerning why the USA lost its post-WWII military supremacy are particularly significant now that events in Syria, Ukraine, and the Red Sea have demonstrated to the entire world that the former superpower no longer has the ability to reliably enforce its will outside of its continental region of influence. More importantly, his diagnosis strongly suggests that the situation is not one that is amenable to fixing due to way in which the problems are not political or ideological, but intrinsic and foundational.

An artificial nation cannot, in the long term, be expected to remain cohesive and victorious in the face of a challenge from a genuine nation of similar power. This is an important military lesson, not only for the remnants of heritage America, but also for the would-be builders of a pan-European nation as well as the architects of the unitary Israeli nation, both of whom are twice-dependent upon the concept.