America is the throes of an existential crisis.
Putin decided to sow the seeds of confusion and chaos in the West. He has succeeded, probably beyond his hopes. Of course, as every former KGB agent or wannabe Lago from Othello knows, to sow chaos you only have to exploit existing divisions and weaknesses.
Putin’s plan succeeded so bigly because the divisions in America were so gaping before he even started exploiting them. The Rightwing media has stoked those divisions by feeding their readers and viewers a steady diet of delusion and resentment and ‘us versus them’ mentality. The Left has contributed to the divides by tacitly embracing neoliberal economic policies which have fueled the increasing economic inequality and anxiety.
Having these deep divisions exploited was a crisis just waiting to happen. In a way we should be thankful to the Russians for doing it. In my view it’s better for it to have happened quickly, and be done by a hostile party, rather than the divisive crisis coming slowly, through a series of escalating civil unrests.
America now actually has a chance to face herself and decide how she wants to proceed. Do we continue down this path of rule by the wealthy and white resentment; us versus them social compact– or do we radically change direction, re-thinking our economic policies; re-thinking the role of money in our political system; re-thinking how technology and the internet is governed? These are big, in fact, massive re-thinks, but this re-thinking is probably our best and only hope.
We can thank the Russians for at least giving us the chance at this best and only hope.