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What Kind of America is Standing Behind the Door? - By Hazem Saghieh, Asharq Al-Awsat

 

 

The US, because of its several layers, obliges us to look at it from several angles. The US that concluded the nuclear agreement with Iran and may go back to this agreement has left the world, particularly us in the Arab world, worried, just like the US that had turned a blind eye to the chemical weapons massacre in Eastern Ghouta in Syria, the ninth anniversary of which was marked a few days ago, pained the world.
 
It is also frightening, on the other hand, that, on several fronts, US power is declining vis a vis forces with no reliability neither in what they are nor in what they do. The fact is that this decline, not imperial power or imperial brutality, is what explains decisions like concluding the nuclear agreement or overlooking Bashar al-Assad’s crimes.
 
 
One matter is beyond any doubt; those associated with the Axis of Resistance, sick with hatred for the US, are exaggerating in their haste when they call the decline it is genuinely undergoing at the moment a collapse. By the way, without exception, they are all watching for markers of progress and decline from fallen countries whose backbones have been broken. Their “analysis” is more like a declaration of their desires that is not backed up by anything but fairy tales- desires that stem, among other things, from their characteristic laziness in following and monitoring global developments.
 
 
The truth is that what is happening in the US is nothing short of a massive refurbishing job that will leave the country stronger, more youthful, and more dynamic than it has been in decades. To get an idea of the scale of the work underway, it suffices to say that the “sleepy” and “old” US President Joe Biden had signed 95 executive orders and 93 presidential memoranda by August 17.
 
 
Perhaps more significant is what happened in Congress as the parties of opposition and government signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will rebuild the country’s roads, bridges, railroads, airports, and seaports. This will have massive implications for the provision of services that begin with ensuring daily needs and do not end with cleaning the environment and expanding and developing broadband infrastructure, all with a focus on communities and regions that had previously been neglected.
 
 
You imagine the effects that this kind of project, for which 1.2 trillion dollars have been allocated, will have on employment opportunities and workforce efficiency, to say nothing about how it will reduce the US citizens’ life expenses on all levels.
 
 
The list goes on and on: 700 billion dollars, for example, have been allocated for a plan to combat climate change and reduce healthcare costs, with direct taxes on large corporations and the wealthy increased…
 
 
Paul Krugman, one of the United States’ most accomplished economists, wrote in the New York Times praising what had been achieved while calling, at the same time, for more of the same. Indeed, according to Krugman, what is happening today should be an everyday occurrence. He claims the administration had three domestic policy objectives: investing in the country’s crumbling infrastructure, combating climate change, and expanding the social safety net, especially for families with children. And per his strict uncompromising accounting, the administration has accomplished the first two goals and managed to accomplish some of the third.
 
 
True, these policies are somewhat shaped by the Midterm elections and thus the effort to strengthen the dwindling popularity of the Democratic Party. However, their outcomes will surely go far beyond those elections or any others. These policies and their impacts are the sorts that prove more historical than political.
 
 
In its recent history, the United States has undergone several pivotal economic and social leaps that were perhaps introduced by the industrial revolution arriving from Europe during the last third of the nineteenth century. It is enough to say that in 1860, the year Abraham Lincon was elected president, only 16 percent of US residents lived in cities while 84 percent still lived on agriculture in rural areas, while after the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), industry, which had up until that point been limited to the northeast- began to grow in the south. In the thirties through President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, his response to the Great Depression, the foundations of institutionalization and labor rights were established and would remain in effect for five decades.
 
 
After the Second World War ended, an explosion in consumer demand triggered massive economic growth. New or expanded industries, like the car and technology industries, put their weight behind this push, as did increased birth rates. GDP thus increased from 200 billion dollars in 1940 to 500 billion in 1960. Then, with Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society,’ the quality and scope of medical, educational, and other services expanded, as did the social and ethnic groups benefiting from the democratic participation.
 
 
In five years or close to it, what is happening could have a comparable impact and take its place among America’s great leaps. Any reading is tenable except the lie of a “collapse” that those associated with the Axis of Resistance are selling.
 
 
With that, foreign policies seem a different, more problematic matter.
 
 

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