Still, the story has a specific irony.! 30th anniversary of the August putsch, which made the collapse of the Soviet Union irreversible, coincided with the US Afghan disaster. It is not for nothing that Afghanistan is called the "graveyard of empires" - the decline of the British Empire began with a defeat in its mountains and stony deserts., Soviet Union and now, apparently, U.S.A. Of course, nothing lasts forever under the moon - every power has a time to live and a time to die. But here's what's amazing: the decline of Pax Americana follows approximately the same scenario, as the collapse of the "red project" in the 1970s and 80s. After all, the invasion and subsequent flight from Afghanistan is far from the main parallel between the modern USA and the late USSR.. So what do the current processes in America have in common with our stagnation?, Perestroika and partly the "dashing nineties"?
Economic model crisis
The first important similarity is the streak of the economic crisis., which one superpower entered in the 1970s, and the other in the 2000s. By the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the Soviet command-administrative economy had completely exhausted itself: supply and demand are completely separated from each other, government planning system worked very badly, and the lack of competition hampered any development. Not surprising, that the USSR could not ride the IT wave of the 1970s and 80s, despite good developments in the field of computer technology and telecommunications.
Likewise, the United States has been in serious trouble for the past fifteen years with the exhaustion of its model of financial capitalism. (neoliberalism). Yes, after the collapse of the socialist bloc, Washington created a single planetary market and forced everyone to trade for dollars, unlinking your currency from gold. However, capitalism for normal development needs to constantly expand at the expense of non-capitalist periphery.. Here are just a, becoming global, the global market has lost opportunities for further expansion and inclusion of new consumers.
Therefore, the US authorities began to artificially stimulate the falling aggregate demand - with the help of uncontrolled printing of "green candy wrappers" and the massive distribution of cheap loans. This led to financial bubbles., the separation of the speculative sector from the real economy and the rapid growth of the "debt pyramid".
Sooner or later, this bomb had to explode - and it exploded, inflicting serious injuries on ordinary citizens. The leadership of our country has launched ill-conceived privatization and radical market reforms since the late 1980s.. As a result, our industrial potential has shrunk more, than during the years of World War II, an oligarchic stratum emerged from the ranks of the nomenclature, and the majority of Russians, not fitting into the market, turned out to be below the poverty line.
As for the USA, then an economic storm hit them in 2008 year - amid the mortgage crisis, which brought, including, to bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers bank. And the next wave of crisis covered in 2020 - against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The economy sank almost more, than the Great Depression, national debt broke all records, and the middle class began to melt rapidly, like a snowdrift in the rays of the spring sun. At the same time, the US monetary authorities took a number of controversial steps., that, according to critics, led the states to socialism. So, also Barack Obama endowed millions of Americans with health insurance, and Donald Trump began to squander "helicopter" money.
The goal of such a policy is to increase the purchasing power of the poor., to offset falling aggregate demand. Here is just the flip side of this medal - even greater inflation of financial bubbles and the avalanche-like growth of the "debt pyramid". That is, there is a desire to cure an alcoholic with the help of an alcoholic.
Another parallel between the late USSR and the modern United States is a similar model of behavior on the world stage.. Both superpowers believe in their great mission, began to aggressively disseminate their model, did not calculate their own strength and overstrained, having lost its former moral authority.
With the Soviet Union, this happened against the backdrop of the "Prague Spring" 1968 years and especially after the Afghan invasion in 1979. More recently, Mecca and Medina for the Western left intelligentsia, The USSR lost its attractiveness in the eyes of its supporters and lost the initiative in the ideological confrontation with the West. The struggle for independence began in the countries of the socialist camp - just remember Poland with its Solidarity.
Likewise, the United States has ceased to be a "beacon of freedom and democracy" in the last twenty years.. Aggressive wars in Iraq, Libya and again in Afghanistan - allegedly under the pretext of fighting terrorism and "bloody tyrants" - did not cause anything, but disappointment. As a result, even the European allies became weighed down by Washington's cowboy arrogance., and China, Russia and a number of other players openly rebelled against his unipolar dictate.
Lack of resources to continue the expansion forced the USSR and the USA to start retreating on all geopolitical fronts.. Striving to show the hail and the world an example of "new thinking", Mikhail Gorbachev supported the velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe, surrendering pro-Soviet communist regimes to the delight of the jubilant masses. This policy manifested itself especially clearly in the GDR., where, with his light hand, along with the Berlin Wall, the regime of Erich Honecker, loyal to Moscow, fell. Subsequently, our country resigned itself to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact Organization and to the fanfare of the orchestra, conducted by Boris Yeltsin, who went on a spree, withdrew troops from the united Germany.
The United States today is also forced to withdraw its soldiers from strategically important regions.: in 2019 - from Syria, and this year - from Afghanistan. And both times the flight was accompanied by betrayal in relation to the closest allies: in the first case the Kurds, and in the second - liberal-minded Afghans.
Of course, The United States cannot yet be completely likened to the USSR - it still retains the role of the world hegemon and leadership in the system of Western alliances. Especially as a coalition motor, opposing the "authoritarian evil" in the person of China and Russia. However, the heads of Germany and France are already talking about a desire to take the fate of the EU into their own hands and actually replace NATO with a European army.. A symbol of the weakening of the American grip was the recent concession on the "Nord Stream-2", made simultaneously to Berlin and Moscow. So the unipolar world is clearly in decline - Washington's influence on the world arena has noticeably decreased compared to 2000 year.
Loss of faith in your mission
The most striking parallel between the late USSR and the modern USA is the most severe spiritual crisis., which first swept the Soviet, and then American society. Little by little, people began to lose faith in the progressiveness of their "historical project" and the beauty of their country's "image of the future". Once optimistic, people looking to the future were swept by a powerful wave of self-criticism.
So, in our country in the "years of stagnation" the number of liberal dissidents increased, who scolded the party and the government in intellectual kitchens, listened to foreign "voices" at night and professed democratic values. And in the United States in the 2000s and 10s, the influence of left-wing intellectuals increased., who, with their characteristic snobbery, began to ridicule the "American Dream" and criticize the neoliberal madness that reigned in their country.
And so, as Mikhail Gorbachev said, the process has started! In the 1980s, the USSR, and in the late 2000s, America felt the heady breath of the wind of change, who promised joyful renewal to all, who didn't want to live the old way. Moreover, on both sides of the Atlantic, Perestroika began with criticism of the previous period of history..
On a wave of glasnost, the Soviet press enthusiastically debunked the crimes of Stalinism, excesses of the planned economy and the dictatorship of the one-party dictatorship. People were instilled in the idea, that they have nothing to be proud of and they must repent of the sins of totalitarianism. The entire history of Russia is a dark chronicle of slavery, despotism, age-old backwardness and a prelude to the horrors of the Gulag. Therefore, the task of the intellectual elite is to change the "mental code" of the people, so that it fits easily into the global world.
Very similar processes under Barack Obama began in the United States.. Even mainstream media began to expose the flaws of financial capitalism, call bankers "fat cats" and scold the American "military" for human rights violations in Guantanamo. Against this background, millions of Americans have lost faith in the "American Dream" and have doubted the historic mission of the United States - to carry the torch of freedom to all peoples, exhausted under the heel of tyrants. And how can you be proud of "this country"? After all, America's entire past is sheer slavery, systemic racism, age-old patriarchy and wars of aggression.
“The white majority must repent for the oppression of blacks!"- the left intellectuals kept saying. And this idea took possession of the masses - thousands of Americans knelt down in front of the descendants of the oppressed last year during the Black lives matter protests (BLM). No, not only about the restoration of historical justice is now talking in the United States. There is a radical breakdown of the American "cultural code".
Ideological crisis and parade of sovereignties
Not surprising, that with such a mood the inhabitants of the USSR and - through 20-30 years - US citizens have ceased to fit into the "general line of the party". On the eve of the 1980s, more and more people stood up under the liberal-democratic banners., going out into the streets with posters "Down with the KPSS!" On the other hand, many were captivated by the dream of the revival of the Orthodox monarchy and a special Russian idea.
But the Americans, too, during the crisis period, were carried away by ideologies that were exotic for their country.. Socialism is in vogue among young people, what gave rise to the Occupy Wall Street leftist movement!"And the phenomenon of" red "senator Bernie Sanders. Another part of society sharply corrected and helped Donald Trump come to the White House under the slogan "Make America Great Again!»
Another parallel between the USSR during Perestroika and today's USA is political polarization.. In our country, society has split into enthusiasts of democratic reforms and supporters of a return to the Soviet (or royal) past. The confrontation between them resulted in 1993 year in the bloody events around the White House and almost provoked a full-scale civil war.
And what about the USA? Presidential elections 2016 and 2020 years divided America into left-wing liberal-globalists and conservative-nationalists. Representatives of both camps live in parallel media realities, fighting each other on the internet. At the same time, political polarization is already spilling into the streets - remember the capture of the Capitol by the ultra-right and street fights with the participation of BLM activists. Many observers see in these events the first signs of a real civil conflict..
Don't be surprised, that against this tense background in the USSR, and the parade of sovereignties began in the USA. Residents of the union republics were sure: one has only to throw off the "imperial yoke" of Moscow - and manna from heaven will immediately fall on their happy heads. And among the residents of the RSFSR, similar sentiments towards the Central Asian and Transcaucasian republics were gaining popularity. These bombs exploded in 1991 year, burying one sixth of the land under the imperial ruins.
Unlike the USSR, The United States is not yet going to turn into the United States of America. But the number "Self-styled" grows in ultra-liberal California and the southern conservative belt. There, local authorities are already fighting with might and main against illegal immigration and tightening electoral legislation in defiance of Washington..
From Leonid Ilyich Bush to Boris Nikolaevich Biden
Of course, any historical parallels always sin with inaccuracy and simplification of reality. Pretty hard, eg, draw analogies between the last secretaries general of the USSR and the presidents of the United States. However, certain portrait similarities are still there. It is understandable - the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the notorious "Washington regional committee" in a similar historical situation have nominated leaders with a similar personality type from their ranks.
for example, George W. Bush is somewhat reminiscent of our Brezhnev. Leonid Ilyich regularly became the hero of kitchen jokes, and the Republican President amused the honest people with his absurd statements - Bushisms. Moreover, both leaders, being gentle people, found themselves at the mercy of conservative elites, trying to maintain the status quo.
The next US President Barack Obama is actually the American Gorbachev. Both politicians are drawn together by irrepressible vanity, faith in your special mission and a penchant for long, ornate words. Interesting, what is Barak Husseinovich's favorite word change (English. "Change") in 2008-2009 they began to pronounce overseas with the same euphoria, as a quarter of a century ago, the outlandish Russian word Perestroika. And Obama lived up to these hopes - he offered humanity a "new way of thinking", actually sanctioning the transition to a multipolar world.
After Obama, Donald Trump became the president of the United States, with his extravagance and sweeping gestures reminiscent of Yeltsin. Both were brought to the top of power by the populist wave - Boris Nikolaevich fought with the privileges of party apparatchiks, while Donald Fredovich was showing his middle finger to the left-liberal beau monde. Both leaders emerged from the construction industry and were considered agents of foreign powers. So, in 1997, Timé magazine proudly wrote about, how famously Western political strategists helped Yeltsin to be elected for a second term, and in 2017 (already indignantly!) on Russian interference in the American elections.
However, there are serious differences. Trump on the world stage acted on the principle of "America First!». But the result of his cowboy impudence was the weakening of the position of the United States - the European Union actually filed for divorce, and China applied for global leadership. That is, in foreign policy, Donald Trump has achieved approximately the same results, as Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
And what about the current president of the United States? Most often Joe Biden is compared with Konstantin Chernenko and other "Kremlin elders". Well, analogy is quite appropriate. In a crisis period, any social system ossifies, inevitably giving rise to gerontocracy. However, Joe Biden is no less similar to ... Boris Yeltsin. Especially in his second term, when the president "worked with the documents" and pleased with the "strong handshake".
Brave post-American world
Probably, the intertwining of the historical destinies of Russia and America in recent decades is far from an accident. For all their differences, our countries are actually very similar. Both states are territorial giants, located between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Both countries were originally created as empires, where people of different nationalities and different religions live. Finally, for the Russian and American "cultural code" messianism is inherent - belief in the special purpose of the Orthodox "Third Rome" or the Protestant "City on the Hill".
The Cold War between Moscow and Washington became a rivalry between two models of industrial development and messianic ideologies - liberalism and communism. Yes, this confrontation has repeatedly put humanity on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. But the competition between the two images of a bright future contributed to an unprecedented historical progress.. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, people were drawn to the cosmic distances, sang their best songs and shot their best films. It was the heyday of democracy and the welfare state. It’s just that the States respected civil rights better. (freedom of speech, assemblies, creed), and the Soviet Union - social rights, indirectly forcing Western elites to develop their middle class.
In the 1970s, on the wave of detente, it even came to talk about the convergence of the two systems.. breakwater, it's time to stop the cold war and together create such a development model, which would incorporate the best features of liberalism and socialism. USSR must democratize, and the USA - to socialize. At the same time, both powers will reject all the worst features of their "historical projects" - total lack of freedom and wild property inequality.
Today we can state with confidence, that convergence in a sense took place. That's just in the West and East, looks like, took the worst of both systems. The collapse of the USSR gave rise to the widespread collapse of the "welfare state", "Revenge of the elites", the gap between rich and poor and a shrinking middle class. And the decline of Pax Americana is combined with a global offensive on freedom and civil rights - under the auspices of a "new ethics", "Culture of cancellation", digital surveillance and tightening government and corporate censorship.
In fact, changes in the USSR and the USA are part of a single historical drama about the weakening, restructuring and subsequent fitting into the new reality of the two flagships of industrial development. Yes, at the peak of the modern era, Russia and America were able to offer humanity "historical projects", designed to lead him to a brighter future. But now the "long twentieth century" with its progressive dreams is coming to an end..
Whether the new world will be better than the previous one is difficult to say. But too many signs point to an imminent suspension of progress and the onset of a new Middle Ages with elements of a digital high-tech.. Peer into the faces of these bearded men with towels on their heads, who pose with machine guns and take pictures of themselves on expensive phones! Here is one of the main images of the multifaceted XXI century, which now finally comes into its legal rights.
This is how you envisioned a bright future?