Dueling visions of the U.S. — Dmitri Orlov v. Victor Davis Hanson

I’ve noticed myself continuously asking, underneath: is the current U.S. cultural and political climate inevitably leading to collapse? Or: has Trump’s ascendancy somehow, possibly, shifted the U.S. to a new timeline?

I have no illusions that Trump can avoid taking the U.S, through bankruptcy. After all, that’s what he’s good at, and he’s probably always known that the U.S. would have to go through bankruptcy  for there is to be any hope of regeneration.

Moreover, if it’s true that somehow, with the improbable election of Donald Trump, we avoided the worst outcome, then it may be because enough of us wanted the future to go another way, despite all odds. In other words, and to me it’s still true, will always be true: whatever is to come in the future depends on how strongly held our intentions for that future now. If enough of us imagine collapse without regeneration, and do so strongly enough, and that usually includes bashing Trump, then yes, that IS what we will get.

On the other hand, if enough of us root for Trump, and in our own lives, nurture renewed aliveness in the midst of cultural deterioration, then we will be doing our part in the swelling underground movement to assist Trump’s improbable and astonishingly strong energetic rearrangement of whatever forces come at him. And in that case, if enough of us ARE all working and thinking and imagining together as one, then we WILL get what we all strongly desire, transformation, MAGA.

These days, so much of what happens, and the interpretations of what happens, can be put into this kind of framework: Death, or Death and Rebirth? Seems fitting that I should post something on this dueling polarity on Good Friday, approaching Easter Sunday.

So last night, I came across this: The Saker, who interviews Dimitri Orlov, a Russian who has long seen the U.S. as heading towards “collapse.” The Saker himself seems to be a never-Trumper, given the language in his questions. Much of this interview is focused on the Ukraine; the excerpt below is from the very end. Pay attention especially to the final few paragraphs.. Orlov has a provocative view of current conditions in the U.S. 

If collapse, then at what stage of “collapse” is the U.S. now in? Orlov, who endured  the collapse of the Soviet Union and sees signs of the American Empire’s similar collapse, said, in a February 2008 post that he then turned into a book, there are five stages to Collapse, and these are, in order: Financial, Business, Political, Social and Cultural.

But: did Trump’s totally unexpected election win shift the U.S. onto another timeline? I.e., is the improbable continuing triumphant march of Trump’s seemingly indefatigable energy against seemingly overwhelming odds managing to transform  our collective destiny?

As Victor Davis Hanson (originally a farmer, and who wrote a 2000 book on the demise of the small farm in America (p.s. I just ordered the book)), a public intellectual who came onto my radar just this morning, said, at the end of last year: “We’re at the point of no return. And Donald Trump is the antidote for that.” I include a video with this remark at the end of the Orlov excerpt, in which I include Orlov’s view of Russia’s political climate, in contrast to the U.S (P.S. it does seem to be that his native land, which died in the ’90s, HAS resurrected.)

The Saker Interviews Dmitri Orlov


The Saker: How do you see the political climate in Russia? I hear very often that while Putin personally and the Kremlin’s foreign policy enjoy a great deal of support, the pension reform really hurt Putin and that there is now an internal “patriotic opposition” (as opposed to paid and purchased for by the CIA & Co,. which is becoming more vocal. Is that true?

It is true that there isn’t much debate within Russia about foreign policy. Putin’s popularity has waned somewhat, although he is still far more popular than any national leader in the West. The pension reform did hurt him somewhat, but he recovered by pushing through a raft of measures designed to ease the transition. In particular, all the benefits currently enjoyed by retirees, such as reduced public transit fees and reduced property taxes, will be extended to those nearing retirement age.

It is becoming clear that Putin, although he is still very active in both domestic and international politics, is coasting toward retirement. His major thrust in domestic politics seems to be in maintaining very strict discipline within the government in pushing through his list of priorities. How he intends to effect the transition to the post-Putin era remains a mystery, but what recently took place in Kazakhstan may offer some clues. If so, we should expect a strong emphasis on continuity, with Putin maintaining some measure of control over national politics as a senior statesman.

But by far the most significant change in Russian politics is that a new generation of regional leaders has been put into place. A great many governorships have been granted to ambitious young managers with potential for national office. They are of a new breed of thoroughly professional career politicians with up-to-date managerial skills. Meanwhile, a thorough cleaning out of the ranks has taken place, with some high-ranking officials doing jail time for corruption. What’s particularly notable is that some of these new regional leaders are now as popular or more popular than Putin. The curse of gerontocracy, which doomed the Soviet experiment, and which now afflicts the establishment in the US, no longer threatens Russia.

The Saker: You recently wrote an article titled “Is the USS Ship of Fools Taking on Water?” in which you discuss the high level of stupidity in modern US politics?  I have a simple question for you: do you think the Empire can survive Trump and, if so, for how long?

Dmitry Orlov: I think that the American empire is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case. Some event will come along which will leave the power center utterly humiliated and unable to countenance this humiliation and make adjustments. Things will go downhill from there as everyone in government in media does their best to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. My hope is that the US military personnel currently scattered throughout the planet will not be simply abandoned once the money runs out, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if that is what happens.

The Saker: Lastly, a similar but fundamentally different question: can the USA (as opposed to the Empire) survive Trump and, if so, how? Will there be a civil war? A military coup? Insurrection? Strikes? A US version of the Yellow Vests?

Dmitry Orlov: The USA, as some set of institutions that serves the interests of some dwindling number of people, is likely to continue functioning for quite some time. The question is: who is going to be included and who isn’t? There is little doubt that retirees, as a category, have nothing to look forward to from the USA: their retirements, whether public or private, have already been spent. There is little doubt that young people, who have already been bled dry by poor job prospects and ridiculous student loans, have nothing to look forward to either.

But, as I’ve said before, the USA isn’t so much a country as a country club. Membership has its privileges, and members don’t care at all what life is like for those who are in the country but aren’t members of the club. The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed “shithole countries.”

It will be interesting to see how public and government workers, as a group, react to the realization that the retirements they have been promised no longer exist; perhaps that will tip the entire system into a defunct state. And once the fracking bubble is over and another third of the population finds that it can no longer afford to drive, that might force through some sort of reset as well. But then the entire system of militarized police is designed to crush any sort of rebellion, and most people know that. Given the choice between certain death and just sitting on the sidewalk doing drugs, most people will choose the latter.

And so, Trump or no Trump, we are going to have more of the same: shiny young IT specialists skipping and whistling on the way to work past piles of human near-corpses and their excrement; Botoxed housewives shopping for fake organic produce while hungry people in the back of the store are digging around in dumpsters; concerned citizens demanding that migrants be allowed in, then calling the cops as soon as these migrants set up tents on their front lawn or ring their doorbell and ask to use the bathroom; well-to-do older couples dreaming of bugging out to some tropical gringo compound in a mangrove swamp where they would be chopped up with machetes and fed to the fish; and all of them believing that things are great because the stock market is doing so well.

At this rate, when the end of the USA finally arrives, most of the people won’t be in a position to notice while the rest won’t be capable of absorbing that sort of upsetting information and will choose to ignore it. Everybody wants to know how the story ends, but that sort of information probably isn’t good for anyone’s sanity. The mental climate in the US is already sick enough; why should we want to make it even sicker?


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1 Response to Dueling visions of the U.S. — Dmitri Orlov v. Victor Davis Hanson

  1. Rich Buckley says:

    ….“whatever is to come in the future depends on how strongly held our intentions for that future now. If enough of us imagine collapse without regeneration, and do so strongly enough, and that usually includes bashing Trump, then yes, that IS what we will get.”

    I do believe your statement is true. Find a group and meditate/pray for a peaceful transition. It matters.

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