Monday, February 15, 2021

A failed state

After Donald Trump incited a Nazi mob to storm the US capital in an attempt to disrupt the electoral college vote count and murder his political opponents, the US had a chance to save itself and its democracy. And yesterday, they failed, with the Senate voting to acquit Trump on charges of insurrection. Faced with a clear threat to democracy and the constitutional order, Republican Senators chickened out, worrying about funding and primary threats rather than the fact that a bunch of them only narrowly escaped being lynched by Trump's mob. And by letting Trump get away with an attempted coup, they sent an open invitation to the next wannabe-dictator to have a go.

The upshot is that the US is now a failed state, unable to institutionally protect itself. Its vaunted system of "checks and balances" means nothing. But while the temptation is to revel in the arrogant hegemon's fall, this is bad for everyone else too. Firstly, because the US tends to export its politics to other democracies, which means exporting violence and instability. And secondly, because they have nuclear weapons. And the thought of the latter eventually falling into the hands of a Trumpist American dictator by violence ought to scare the hell out of everyone else, and focus their minds on how to contain the US and limit its ability to do harm.