The US is becoming USSR 2.0

Source: Global Times

An overconfident America risks going down same path as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, warned Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In addition to Putin, the Russian Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Neo-Eurasianism founder Aleksandr Dugin, and other witnesses of the former Soviet Union, and the former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, Russian-American scholar Rebekah Koffler have all talked about the US going down the Soviet Union’s old path.

Symptom I: Interest groups

In the USSR, the self-proclaimed dignitaries of a large bureaucratic class were parasitic on all aspects of Soviet society. They took advantage of their privileges and welfare. Under the highly centralized planned economy of the Soviet Union, the number of commodities that ordinary people could consume were strictly limited, but the dignitaries had privileges to obtain all kinds of scarce commodities such as TVs and cars.

Today, the American ruling class have become new dignitaries. For example, during the lockdown, “politicians went to expensive restaurants, got haircuts, and traveled on luxury vacations, while the rest of us hunkered down, grew long hair and tried to pacify our kids, who were bouncing off the walls during online ‘education.'” Besides, the military industrial complex, intelligence agencies, and Wall Street giants manipulate the US national machinery and deeply influence national policies, and become the shadow cabinet of the US.

Symptom II: abusing military force

The Soviet Union’s intervention in foreign countries was unrestrained. It not only sent troops to Hungary, but also to Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan and others, engaging in an arms race with the United States. It led to soaring military spending and severe restriction of the economic and social development of the Soviet Union. The Brezhnev style expansion policy led to the Soviet society’s stagnation, and war in Afghanistan became an important factor in its dissolution.

Since the 21st century, the US military has launched numerous wars such as the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, which not only cost a lot of money, but also led to serious strategic failures. Unfortunately, America has not learned its lesson at all, and its military expenditure reached new highs again and again. Its military expenditure in 2020 reached $778 billion, accounting for 39 percent of global military expenditures, which tightened American investments in infrastructure and the American people’s livelihoods.

The irony is that with such hefty spending, American military superiority over other major powers has declined systematically. The ensuing strategic anxiety causes American military expenditure to increase in turn, resulting in a vicious circle.

Symptom III: Totalitarianism

The Soviet Union once practiced chauvinism and advocated for limited sovereignty, which eventually led to the disintegration of the socialist camp.

Today, the United States believes in neoliberalism, the survival of the fittest, and winner takes all. America turned into a liberal totalitarian state, sprinkled with traits of an oligarchy elite, an ideology and media monopoly, and a police state. This is in full compliance with the standards of a totalitarian regime expounded by the former US National Security Assistant Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Symptom IV: Political correctness

The Soviet Union once vigorously suppressed “dissidents.” Neoliberalism in the US has now also become extreme and absolute. The rights of ethnic minorities have become the absolute standard of political correctness. Any speech that does not conform to liberal ideology is presumed guilty. Even Trump, who won 75 million ballots in the general election, is silenced by the media and internet giants at their convenience.

However, numerous requests for political correctness and diversified political identities have not bridged gaps in American society. Instead, it has created more dissidents. Anti-intellectual populist movements such as QAnon and the Proud Boys are spreading like wildfire in the US, further pulling apart the already fragmented social map. According to a CBS poll in January 2021, half of Americans said that other Americans and domestic enemies pose the greatest threat to democracy and their way of life.

Symptom V: Intensified surveillance

The Biden administration strengthened private speech and text message monitoring, and the FBI encouraged citizens to report any “violent extremism” from relatives and friends, just like the Soviet authorities did. This is a new era of the American government seeking full control of American society.

“Don’t believe everything you see on TV; don’t trust everything your teachers say; don’t talk to strangers about your family’s views.” What Americans teach their children now is nothing new to the Soviets.

Like the former Soviet Union, the United States is currently in great trouble. Its causes are not external but internal. In an internal structural crisis, the US has no choice but to pass the buck to other countries. America has to wake up and realize that holding a grudge against China will not lead to better conditions but allow oligarchic power to further oppress the American people’s interests. In the end, it is the Americans themselves who are at the helm to ultimately cure the country’s disease and avoid it becoming a USSR 2.0.

The author is a current affairs commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn