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"The United States is not a true democracy"

By       Message Jean-Luc Basle       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   8 comments

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"The United States is not a true democracy" Says who? Former Congressman Ron Paul. "We have a monopoly of ideas which are controlled by leaders of the two parties" They call it a two party system, it's really a one philosophy." What is that philosophy one may ask? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. First things first. Is Ron Paul right? If he is, what of the "philosophy"?

Commenting on the mid-term election, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, calls the American electoral politics a "charade of democracy". (1) In Atlanta, in July 2013, Jimmy Carter declared: "America has no functioning democracy at this moment". (2) In 2006, "Sandra Day O'Connor, a Republican-appointed judge on the Supreme Court, said the US is in danger of edging towards dictatorship if the party's right-wingers continue to attack the judiciary." (3) Senator Frank Church -- who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- said in 1975: "The National Security Agency's capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left"" (4)(5) If the statements do not prove Ron Paul right they do demonstrate the elite's skepticism vis--vis the American democracy. Only the innocent, the naïve or the spin doctors would disagree. But, what's the philosophy of that one-party system?

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It rests on two credos: "the axis of evil" and "starving the beast", i.e. world hegemony and unfettered capitalism. They are other subjects, such as immigration, health, energy, etc., but the credos worked their way through the political spectrum over time, and dominate the political discourse today. The Project for a New American Century is the foundation of the hegemonic philosophy. Destroying Iraq, Libya and Syria, bringing Ukraine into NATO, pivoting the US navy to Asia are meant to ensure world domination through Middle East oil access control, Russia's encirclement and China's isolation. Unfettered capitalism is a product of Wall Street. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 which replaced the Glass-Steagall Act of 1993, is the epitome of an economy operated for profit only. In a market economy, the state is an adjunct whose role is limited to basic functions: defense, justice, police, education, etc. The Tea Party is often said to be the proponent of this philosophy. Its members are "useful idiots". The Party is a front for the 1% -- the wealthiest Americans.

The question is: "are these credos viable?" The answer is no. The United States' hegemonic policy is restless, dangerous and doomed to fail. Incredible as it may seem, some neoconservatives believe a nuclear first strike against Russia could be successful! The ongoing attempt to remove Ukraine from Russia's sphere of influence is senseless, tantamount to Russia or China trying to achieve the same with Canada or Mexico. The United States almost went to nuclear war following Khrushchev's decision to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. Why is it OK for the United States to install anti-ballistic missiles in Poland but not for Russia in Cuba? Doesn't it occur to the Washington intelligentsia that Russia may be tempted to launch a nuclear attack on the United States if the pressure on its borders becomes too high? Washington D.C. which often conceives of itself as a modern day Rome -- witness the numerous extra-territorial laws inflicted on other nations -- would do well to remember that Rome was unable to conquer Germany or Persia and had to leave Britain. World hegemony is a pipedream.

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So is an unregulated market economy. The Great Recession which follows the subprime crisis due to the banks' reckless behavior is testimony to this evidence. The recovery is artificial and fragile. Unemployment is understated as is inflation, boosting the economic growth rate in the process. Shale oil and gas production are providing a welcome, if temporary, lift to the economy at an unquantified but real ecological cost. Median income hasn't budged in almost a quarter of a century. (6) Drawing on their savings help Americans maintain their life style. The Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy had the effect of boosting financial markets with questionable long term benefits. In its last October meeting, the bank decided to end the policy without knowing what the effect will be. The shadow banking -- an unregulated banking sector -- continues to grow and to be a threat to the stability of the economy. Social security disbursements are growing at an exponential rate from 2.5% in 1962 to 10% this year and 12% in 2024. But fiscal revenues remain fixed at 18% of GDP over the same period, raising question as to the increasingly large budget deficit, expected to reach 4% in 2024. That year, the Federal debt will equal 80% of GDP, up from 42% in 1962. This development is prompting Tea Party members to demand spending cuts, not realizing that they will be the first to suffer since they are the primary beneficiaries of the social programs. In their minds, the main recipients are the blacks.

Every country, whatever its constitution or political system, is ruled by a small group of individuals. In Britain, the ruling elite is the aristocracy and the City. In France, it's the Grandes ecoles' graduates together with the administrative corps and the unions. In the United States, it's Wall Street, the military industrial complex, the oil industry, AIPAC, and a few other lobbies.(7)

Whoever is in the White House doesn't matter much. As Ron Paul said, the overall philosophy remains the same. Unfortunately, the "philosophy", on both the international and domestic fronts, is wrong, suicidal even. The United States cannot rule the world nor can an unlegislated market economy be viable. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Ron Paul, Ray McGovern, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and many others know that and fight back to restore the American democracy in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and the Gettysburg Address, so that the United States is again a true democracy.

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(1) The Real News Network, November 5, 2014.

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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School

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