House of the Dying Sun

Wretchard has a good one this evening. Friday afternoon is a strange time to post your best stuff. I wonder if he's hoping people won't read it.
In retrospect the postwar American world can be said to have gone off the rails in one of two places. Liberals will put the date in March, 2003, when the campaign to topple Saddam Hussein began. Although the action was supported at the time by both political parties, the outrage liberals felt at what they believed to be the deception surrounding the operation created a reaction that made the second critical date inevitable: the 2008 election of Barack Obama.

Obama was regarded -- and is still regarded -- by many conservatives as possessing the same degree of delegitimizing characteristics now attributed to Donald Trump. In this view, the accession of Obama, not the invasion of Iraq, marked the moment Everything Changed. It also made the rise Trump historically inevitable. The chain runs thus: Iraq --> Obama --> Trump/Hillary. Where you start is optional. Where you end is unknown. Ironically September 11, 2001 plays an ambiguous role in the historiography. For some reason that date is regarded by some as occurring Before the Fall....

If political columnist Ron Fournier is right about this election cycle, it is less about achieving incremental policy change than precipitating a radical institutional change . In that case the current unpopularity contest can be seen as an deliberate process to increase instability by hoping the worst man wins, not in order to continue the status quo but to tear things down and start afresh.
Of course he's right, as regards Sanders and Trump. Only Clinton stands for trying to prop up the failing regime. She is the candidate of every remaining institution. Maybe that will carry her over the line, in spite of her felonies, in spite of her weakness.

But it can't stop the tide.


Ymar Sakar said...

The idea that things changed in America due to 2008, is an analysis based on the fault of pride. The belief that there were no useful signs or clues pre 2008 that hinted and demonstrated the power of the Leftist alliance.

Hussein, by becoming the religious and secular king of the Leftist alliance, was capable of drawing up nearly half to all of the Left's strategic reserves. Which were built and harnessed and stolen from the West, over more than a century.

So the idea that one person, homo or not, in 2008 up ended America, is a belief formed on the mortal sin of pride. If America had already been changing before 2008, and the intellectuals had refused to recognize it... then they aren't really intellectuals. A recognition that the ego and the proud ones, cannot accept, even hypothetically. True knowledge is a poison that kills the ego, the identity of self, politics, tribes, and allegiances.

Eric Blair said...

Yeah, I'm going to totally differ on that piece, which is actually more about the battle of Midway than what you noted. And even there, Fernandez may be wrong--as John Parshall discusses here:

Iraq didn't necessarily require Obama win. Or lose. That's way too deterministic. One could easily make a case, that absent 9/11, Obama could have been elected in 2004 or 2008 just by showing up. Or Hillary in 2008 rather than now.

Grim said...

I took his point to be less deterministic, and more literary or rhetorical. It's not that history is a set of dominoes, but that the story can be told in these two ways. (That's why it's of interest that 9/11, which surely exercised some sort of causal power, is somehow ambiguous in the story.)

The allegory of Midway is of others who had to act in uncertain moments. It's a good story, for a lot of reasons.