Why the Wheels Are Coming Off, by Charles Hugh Smith

The wheels would be coming off even if America’s rulers were as smart as they think they are, but of course they’re not. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Is that the scent of smoke? What’s that red glare? Must be nothing.

Why are the wheels coming off the American Project? Afghanistan is front and center in the news flow for obvious reasons, but since I have no expertise on that nation or America’s role there, I am stipulating these are general comments from a systemic perspective.

By the American Project I mean 1) global hegemony in both hard and soft power and 2) American Exceptionalism, the belief that America is not just uniquely strong but uniquely right in terms of holding the high moral ground.

1. If you don’t understand the problem, you can’t possibly arrive at a solution. It’s long been painfully obvious that U.S. presidents would be best served by their closest advisors being anthropologists with long in-country experience in whatever nation the U.S. is engaging.

Any anthropologist with experience in Vietnam would have dismissed the idea of an American “victory” by any means as a possibility. The same can be said of Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, American presidents don’t listen to anthropologists, they listen to advisors with no real understanding of the nation and people the U.S. is engaging. Lacking a grasp of the situation, every characterization of the “problem” will necessarily be completely misguided and the proposed “solutions” cannot but fail miserably.

Rather than seek a deep understanding the nation and its people, U.S. presidents and their advisors see everything through the distorting lens of great-power rivalries, geopolitical juggling, American prestige and power and a profoundly parochial, provincial view of other cultures and societies. The resulting ignorance of U.S. policy is stupefying.

Willful ignorance and blind ambition are fatal siblings.

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