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Living in 'too interesting' times: Credibility of the USA imploded as world watched

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By John J. Metzler, July 2, 2024

There’s said to be a Chinese curse which suggests, “May you live in interesting Times.”

On the one hand it appears like a gesture of good fortune and happiness. It certainly can be.

But what it subliminally implies is that you live in a world of churning conflict and chaos, and an age of disharmonious turbulence. Such resembles the current domestic and international situation.

The jarring spectacle of the presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, served as a stark reminder of the obvious and profound risk to the American Republic.

The planned early debate, even before the party nomination Conventions, was, as many have been saying, a political stress test for Biden. He failed.

The President's performance was dithering, daft and dumbfounded. Now we enter the unspoken...until today. For six months I have been saying that California Gov. Gavin Newsom was waiting in the wings and would profit from Biden's weak presidency. Gavin was the happiest guy in the CNN spin Room in Atlanta!

Two days before the debate, any American suggesting or saying that Joe Biden was feeble or facing cognitive decline would have been rebutted with a smirking smile or a bitter rebuke as a hateful Republican.

Ten minutes into the debate the Curtain, as in the mythical Kingdom of Oz, was torn back and we saw the President stumble and slip through pretty simple questions from the CNN moderators. By the end of the debate two things were clear; Donald Trump had convincingly won and the Democrats were in meltdown panic mode over the president’s performance.

The state of denial by Democrats towards Biden was shattered.

Now even the pro-Democrat mainstream media are openly questioning whether Biden should continue. The Democrats went into a tizzy and shelved faux deference to the President. Indeed many knew this would happen. Now it has.

The narrative has flipped. The next day the powerful New York Times editorial called for the President to “leave the race” while key left wing columnist supporters, the guardians of the regime, politely but very firmly called for Biden not to be the candidate in November.

Within a day, the talk of of Biden’s rambling incoherence and feeble physical demeanor became matter of fact news, rather than politically verboten heresy.

Following Biden’s disastrous debate debacle against Donald Trump, without missing a beat the largely pro-Biden mainstream media (with very few holdouts) conceded the inevitable. But shall the President step aside, for whom? Gavin Newsom or Michelle Obama?

The CNN sponsored debate intended to swing independent voters and energize the electorate but had a more subliminal audience.

Indeed the real and most influential viewers may have been in Moscow, Beijing and Teheran where the ruling dictators were following a script which was not so much political but rather invitational and alluring.

Following Biden’s appalling Afghan pullout debacle in 2021, Putin’s Russia was tempted and then energized to go beyond its usual military provocations in Ukraine and later take the gamble on invasion.

And speaking of elections, this week there will be the UK Parliamentary elections, Iran’s presidential election, and the French legislative elections.

In the French case, President Macron gambled and likely lost. In the first round of voting, Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally secured a powerful first place finish with 33 cent of the vote, the far Left Alliance Popular Front followed with 28 percent, and President Macron’s ruling coalition trailed with 20 percent; there’s a runoff July 7th. But the political game is hardly over.

In the United Kingdom, the long serving Conservative party (with a Small c) will likely be voted out of power. (July 4th)

Militarily speaking, there’s a real possibility of an expanding Israel/Hamas/Hizbullah war in both Gaza and into Lebanon.

There’s communist China’s persistent saber rattling and military threats to democratic Taiwan.

Last autumn, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served both under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine, “The Dysfunctional Superpower; Can a Divided America Deter China and Russia?” The article offered a starkly realistic view of the grave threats facing the United States juxtaposed to the political climate in Washington.

The USA enters some very dangerous waters. Shall the Trump “criminal” sentencing on July 11th put the leading U.S. Opposition GOP candidate in jail, thus making him more of the martyr? Sadly this lawfare resembles the very kind of political antics found in foreign countries the U.S. is quick to criticize.

Now we are entering VERY interesting times.

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism the Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014). [See pre-2011 Archives]
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