America’s present-day economic, political, and social experience is not unique, in the sense that what is occurring in the United States right now in terms of the state of the system has already occurred and has taken place in many countries around the world. I would not be surprised if many countries around the world are sitting back and watching as events unfold in the United States over the course of the next few years. Both experienced and seasoned nations in the East such as Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, and China as well as experienced and seasoned nations in the West such as Britain, France, Germany, and Italy have already experienced what the United States is experiencing in terms of its economic, political, and social affairs. And if we take some of these nations as a case study, the outcome of the American experience over the course of the last thirty years or so is perhaps already clear.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, policy can be defined as the final distillation of the economic, political, and social experiences of a nation. This was the definition for the term “policy” put forth by the famous 20th century political philosopher Hannah Arendt. History shows that all nations have experienced empire and hegemony at some point in their respective histories. What makes America different than everyone else is that America is the last country and nation in world history to experience empire and hegemony. At the close of one experience comes the beginning of a new experience. As mentioned before, the transition from one experience to another experience entails a level of economic, political, and social turbulence. Thus, for the United States, what is going on at the moment in terms of economic, political, and social turbulence is a reflection of the transition away from the 30-year experience of empire and hegemony to a post-imperial and post-hegemonic experience.
There were certain bureaucrats and politicians who were bullish in their pursuit of an imperial and hegemonic whole-of-government policy over the course of the last thirty years, and the question is whether they knew better or not and whether they naively took the word of certain enablers for a policy that was undergirded by arrogance and hubris. Overseeing the transition from a 30-year period of empire and hegemony to a post-imperial and post-hegemonic future is Joe Biden. The nature and state of the transition from one experience to another – as well as the fate of a post-imperial and post-hegemonic America – hinges to a certain extent on the decisions and actions of Joe Biden. Either the turbulence of this transition can smoothen out over time until the transition is fully realized in a stable fashion, or the turbulence can worsen based on his decisions and actions, which in turn will lead to a tumultuous and haphazard outcome. There are a little more than three years left in this transition period from one experience to another. And there is a lot that has to be done in order to ensure that the transition from one experience to another is both peaceful and successful.