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(YouTube)   What Do Foreign Correspondents Think of the U.S.? TL;DW: A failed state   (youtube.com) divider line
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827 clicks; posted to Politics » on 28 Oct 2020 at 10:27 PM (17 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-10-28 10:52:22 PM  
4 votes:

shut_it_down: quatchi: Obama dragged American credibility back after Bush squandered it but nothing will ever restore American preeminence to precious levels.

I wouldn't say never. Everybody likes a Germany and Japan again. If we can just stop acting nuts for a couple decades we... ok you're right that won't happen.


We've been acting nuts for decades now. Kennedy was farking women, LBJ was aggressive, Nixon was paranoid, Carter was creepy, Reagan had zingers, Clinton was farking women, Bush was a wanabe cowboy, and Obama was the millennial Bill Cosby who stopped caring in 2014. The only boring Presidents since World War II who actually cared for the country were Truman, Eisenhower, Ford, and HW Bush. They did the work everyone hated.
 
2020-10-28 10:46:53 PM  
2 votes:

quatchi: Obama dragged American credibility back after Bush squandered it but nothing will ever restore American preeminence to precious levels.


I wouldn't say never. Everybody likes a Germany and Japan again. If we can just stop acting nuts for a couple decades we... ok you're right that won't happen.
 
2020-10-28 10:32:38 PM  
2 votes:
Again.
There are things that Trump has done to America that can perhaps be fixed in time.
Other things like America's reputation as a stable global superpower is gone.
Obama dragged American credibility back after Bush squandered it but nothing will ever restore American preeminence to precious levels.

Kind of like the UK and Brexit but much worse.
 
2020-10-28 8:30:51 PM  
2 votes:
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/or something like that
 
TWX [TotalFark]
2020-10-28 5:54:27 PM  
2 votes:
I don't think we're failed yet.  We're on the verge of it.

The federal government has its hands in just about anything, but state government, county government, city government handles most of the implementation.  It's rare for any random person to have direct interaction with federal officials outside of paying taxes, receiving mail, and attempting to purchase a firearm through a licensed dealer.  Some industries might find themselves subject to direct federal oversight, but even then, the number of actual private citizens interfacing with the federal government is small.

Part of what saves us from becoming a failed state is literally one of the bogeymen of Trump, which is the vast bureaucracy.  Career government employees are used to working through whatever administration is at the top, and given the vagueness in laws and policies it usually takes a lot for real change to be forced onto that bureaucracy, especially change that individuals of that bureaucracy don't want to see.

States with strong economies and strong state-operated social programs also tend to be the states that pay a surplus in taxes to the federal government without receiving as much revenue for state programs in return.  Those states are the ones that would survive even more collapse at the federal level because they're simply so much less reliant on the federal government to start with.  Poorer states are the ones that would suffer if the federal government goes astray because without the redistribution of wealth from the more economically stable states, they wouldn't have money for even their ailing social programs.  Grift at the federal level hurts them more than it hurts economically strong states.

It looks like more and more people are starting to realize this.
 
2020-10-29 2:43:57 AM  
1 vote:

Emposter: 1) We're failing, but haven't failed.  Yet.
2) Empires that fail don't HAVE to fall into ruin like Rome.  They can revert back to less powerful status like Britain.


This is the ol' narrative conceit vs. descriptive trend thing. The answer is statecraft, not doom prophecy.

Empires are not real things, with lifespans or behaviours. They do not rise, nor fall, nor are they born or killed.

An empire is an arbitrarily-determined region and period with arbitrarily selected bookends. That's all. Time and geography, and class and ethnicity and all the rest of it, are cut up into pieces to make them easier to discuss.

Similarly, a state is an only superficially discrete body. Nobody's 100% self-sufficient at that scale. If you think about Roman silk, you're necessarily including China, to whom Rome was an unimportant, podunk Western kingdom not worth learning about.

It's like slicing up a sushi roll into sushi pieces -- they're only separated for human convenience. You can do the same with anything that exists long enough to go through changes and has impacts outside of itself -- Istanbul, the Nike shoe company, Manichaeism.

These are narrative conceits, and they exist to streamline complex and often unknown factors, and to support various philosophical and ideological notions. They're artifacts of a particular way of thinking, not essential truths.

It's not like Egypt up and depopulated between dynasties and a whole new everything sprouted up wholesale out of the ground. Nothing comes from nothing, and essential threads can be traced back well beyond the usual acknowledged limits.

As such, notions like empire are too misleading to make decisions by, or try to forecast by, without getting into the granular details. There are no magical laws that assert themselves because some milestone has been met -- it's not like every 'empire' has a famine in their 18th year because that's how empires do.

What you actually get are observed trends. Trends often lead in certain directions, particularly when several feed into each other. It doesn't mean the underlying mechanism will always express the same way.

Combine a situation where there are few opportunities for the majority, plus a relative ease of travel, and you get people moving away in droves to try to find something better. This happened to Rome, such that Rome itself depopulated and people could graze herds inside city limits--and it's not like that now, because things change. It also happens constantly in regions with political instability, and in politically stable but economically variable regions we call one kind of this phenomenon a brain drain. It's all the same fundamental principle: people will leave home to find better options elsewhere if they can, often relocating family members and making a permanent or long-term move.

Trends describe what is observed, not what will necessarily happen with any granular assurance. The existence of a brain drain in one way does not mean that the sending state will dissolve, or that such a drain is permanent or unsustainable. The Schengen Zone exists to contain this movement, with measures of control and monitoring, as a responsive institution.

One situation where thinking in discrete units can be helpful is in regard to statecraft, though.

The state is much like a body comprised of organs, which are various institutions. These grow and change, they suffer debilitation, and the whole mess is in constant repair. People know that "you get a new spine every X years because your cells are replaced" thing, well, the bureaucracy replaces all its units over a certain stretch of time, too, and so does a workforce, an industry, an institution.

Statecraft is the means whereby state bodies are created and maintained from the inside.

That means creating institutions when needed and dismantling them when not, it means formulating and altering policies, it means shoring up failing structures or replacing them, changing the weighting of what is valued most.

This is a constant process.

People are healthier, wealthier, and safer than they've been before. That wasn't stumbling dick first into success, it was a product of continuous effort, sometimes Herculean effort, in the face of all kinds of oppositional circumstances and provocations. Polio and smallpox killed human beings for millennia, and they are now functionally extinct in the wider world. That is enormous. It took years of work, diligent, continuous, frustrating work and many setbacks. It happened because people believed in the idea and continued to support it through real, tangible effort.

Partisan electoral bodies can be replaced with independent institutions, and institutions have cultures. Cultures are intrinsically malleable -- they arise out of values and practices and customs, all of which can be changed.

Prophecy is there to forgive despair, coasting, and defeatism. "It's fate that things are farked up, and they'll get worse because we're in decline!" So? Declines change.

If you are diligent and continue to push, and do so efficiently and effectively, then things will change. It might not be measurably better right away, and it may take more time than desired. Change the approach if needed. Care for yourself when you have to, but the moment you give in to inevitability and fate you have abdicated responsibility.

This is not about hope or despair, those are temporary things. Thinking in temporary notions about long term trends is like trying to measure the sun in units of the moon -- it's not the best use of your time because one of them is so tiny compared to the other that it's neither useful nor relevant.

TL;DR -- "failed" states can un-fail, empires are fairytales, time goes on, hope is a painkiller for despair and don't get hooked on it because it masks what is wrong. Work hard and keep working.

And don't get your history from Hollywood. Hollywood peddles narratives and happily lies, it's not helpful or instructive, and I say that as a fiction writer.
 
2020-10-29 2:42:54 AM  
1 vote:

Space Banana Physicist: Animatronik: Yeah, thats not what 'failed state' means.  Think Yemen or Somalia.

The hyperbole, it grows tiresome, even in an election year.

Yemen is an enduring clusterfark, sure. And Somalia, despite recent impressive progress, is still a hellishly dangerous place. But don't kid yourself that there is some universally accepted definition of which states are failed and which are not. The closest we get to that is describing what's happening. In other words, enough things like these and you are a failed state:

*loss of control over territory
*loss of monopoly on the use of force
*eroded legitimacy of government
*inability to provide basic services
*inability to function as a full member of the international community
*widespread corruption and criminality
*intervention of nonstate actors
*intervention of other state actors
*sharp economic decline
*inability or unwillingness to uniformly enforce laws
*extreme political corruption
*state predation a.k.a. cronyism
*escalation of communal conflicts
*democratic collapse

By my count, we are currently experiencing every item on this list, to some degree. Can we avoid turning into the kind of self-immolating disaster found in Syria? We shall find the answer to that one very soon. What happens after that is anyone's guess.


No we aren't.
We are experiencing negative trends in our cities for crime due to the pandemic and social unrest.

Please park the hyperbole for once.
A failed state has lost control of its borders and is basically run by gangs.
By that definition, Mexico under Obrador is coming close,
but the U.S.?  No farking way.

The hatred for the U.S. is no excuse for making shiat up to make things look worse.
 
2020-10-28 11:37:01 PM  
1 vote:
If they don't like it, they can just get out!
 
2020-10-28 11:04:04 PM  
1 vote:

Emposter: 1) We're failing, but haven't failed.  Yet.
2) Empires that fail don't HAVE to fall into ruin like Rome.  They can revert back to less powerful status like Britain.

We can still fix this, though we'll have to find a way to deal with the tens of millions of conservative morons dragging us down.


Even the Roman Empire survived for centuries after the fall of Rome, if you look at Byzantium as Roman (which they absolutely did). Failures of empire aren't always or even often catastrophic to the common citizen.
 
2020-10-28 11:00:08 PM  
1 vote:

Funk Brothers: shut_it_down: quatchi: Obama dragged American credibility back after Bush squandered it but nothing will ever restore American preeminence to precious levels.

I wouldn't say never. Everybody likes a Germany and Japan again. If we can just stop acting nuts for a couple decades we... ok you're right that won't happen.

We've been acting nuts for decades now. Kennedy was farking women, LBJ was aggressive, Nixon was paranoid, Carter was creepy, Reagan had zingers, Clinton was farking women, Bush was a wanabe cowboy, and Obama was the millennial Bill Cosby who stopped caring in 2014. The only boring Presidents since World War II who actually cared for the country were Truman, Eisenhower, Ford, and HW Bush. They did the work everyone hated.


You are not from the same planet as the rest of us, apparently.

Kennedy was farking women, - Only considered nuts in the USA

LBJ was aggressive, - He was racist and a paragon of the police officer we saw this summer.

Nixon was paranoid, - And yet his White House staff also staffed Reagan and Bush and Bush2.

Carter was creepy, -He literally was elected because he was likeable and had a fun campaign.

Reagan had zingers, - This? THIS is what you think is "acting nuts"???

Clinton was farking women, - Only considered nuts in the USA.

Bush was a wanabe cowboy, - Bush is exactly what a cowboy is.

and Obama was the millennial Bill Cosby who stopped caring in 2014. - WTF
 
2020-10-28 10:43:19 PM  
1 vote:
1) We're failing, but haven't failed.  Yet.
2) Empires that fail don't HAVE to fall into ruin like Rome.  They can revert back to less powerful status like Britain.

We can still fix this, though we'll have to find a way to deal with the tens of millions of conservative morons dragging us down.
 
2020-10-28 10:36:30 PM  
1 vote:
The United States is a giant ant farm. People living outside the US can't see the ants directly so they must rely on commentators and journalists for a description on what's going on. Problem is these people [commentators and journalists] all seem to hate ants.
 
2020-10-28 9:08:41 PM  
1 vote:
(._. )
 
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