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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: The Decline of the United States Imperial Project
Latin American genius Carlos Alberto Montaner on the perils of the rise of nationalism across Europe and fading of American hegemony.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Are we closer to another war?

I don’t know, but if it comes it will be much more dangerous because the atomic bomb has escaped from the dusty wonderful lamp and is within reach of anyone who knows how to rub it and have resources for it.

Let’s see.

It was about avoiding wars. Woodrow Wilson had failed in his attempt that the First War (1914-1918) put an end to all wars, but the White House would not let this new opportunity pass.

It was in the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman during World War II. The United States should guide the enormous effort of leading the “free world” to prevent the great conflagrations between powers. That is exactly what is in crisis.

Then it was about building an empire based on the ideology of liberal democracy (democratic institutions plus market and private property) and not, as it had been done until then, adding territories conquered by force to a distant and distinct center like London, Moscow, Vienna, Istanbul, Madrid or Lisbon.

For these purposes, the Bretton Woods meeting was convened in 1944.

It was vital to provide the planet with a financial system that would allow it to face post-Nazism. The Germans were practically defeated and there was no time to lose.

After Roosevelt’s death, his vice president Harry Truman took the baton and created the defense mechanism to confront the Soviet imperial spasm. In the second half of the 1940s he created all the institutions that successfully fought the Cold War: the Marshall Plan, NATO, the CIA, the OAS, the TIAR and a few more.

Neither of them -- Roosevelt or Truman -- took into account the stubborn persistence of nationalism. A nationalism that would resurface everywhere, including the United States, driven by migrations of people partially different from the mainstream that shaped the host nations.

The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began with a very journalistic phrase: “A spectre is haunting Europe. The spectre of communism.” It was published a month before the revolution of 1848, but back then it went unnoticed. There was no relationship between the appearance of that text and the European revolts. If instead of the word “communism” the authors had written “nationalism” they might have guessed right.

Europeans continue ready to die or kill for their respective nations, but not for the European Union. The persistence of this phenomenon is very dangerous. I saw it very clearly after reading an intelligent observation by the Argentine Mariano Grondona. He said, more or less, because I’m quoting from memory: “Many Argentines are willing to die for their country, but I don’t know anyone who is willing to die for MERCOSUR.” The same thing happens in the European Union.

In the last elections to the European Parliament, it was quite obvious that the degradation of the purpose that gave life to this mixed-up structure continues. The purpose was to unite the European peoples under democratic ideologies and not under nations, races or languages.

In that great legislative body there exists, and still dominates, the center-right or European People’s Party. It is followed, by number of deputies, by the Socialists, the Liberals, the Greens and, finally, the Communists, who are not exactly democrats, because Marxism-Leninism is not and makes fun of those “petty bourgeois trifles,” but circumstantially they behave as such.

Britain’s Nigel Farage, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, France’s Marine Le Pen, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Spain’s Santiago Abascal, and the adviser of all, directly or in pectore, the American Steve Bannon, who was very close to Donald Trump, are happy.

The trend increased markedly in the European Parliament.

On the other hand, it seems to me a symptom of the agony of American hegemony and the gradual end of the world that emerged after World War II. We are entering a much more dangerous stage.

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is a review of Las raíces torcidas de América Latina (The Twisted Roots of Latin America), published by Planeta and available in Amazon, in printed or digital version.


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