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Rise and Fall of the American Empire – Wade Davis

UPDATE – Deanna Kreisel posted a rebuttal to the Wade Davis article:

The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

Wade Davis is a Colombian / Canadian professor of anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.

One brilliant man.

A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.

In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …

No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …

In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.

When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich. 

In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. … 

COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.

As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.

… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. … 

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country.  …

The Unraveling of America

 

If Trump were gone tomorrow, the USA is still screwed because of FOX News and right wing media. And the GOP.

If a vaccine were available tomorrow, half of Americans would refuse to take it.

Wade Davis:

… even should Trump be resoundingly defeated, it’s not at all clear that such a profoundly polarized nation will be able to find a way forward. For better or for worse, America has had its time. …

BAYONNE, NJ – MAY 3: A wind blown American flag at the Tear Drop 9/11 Memorial flies over the skyline of New York City as the sun sets on May 3, 2020 in Bayonne, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

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