Prick up your ears and listen to the violins: beyond the dreamy adagios and thrilling arpeggios the fat lady has sung. On stage Uncle Sam has been laid to rest, but unlike Don Giovanni, the good uncle’s corpse has not descended into hell.
European pundits are lesser liars and hypocrites than American ones, yet they have already buried the good uncle after the fiasco of the century, as the retreat from Afghanistan has been called. But as Mark Twain famously noted, the obituary is a bit premature.
In my lifetime, Uncle Sam has been through the wringer, time and again. The first bad episode included the sick man of Europe—Britain—and an enfeebled America that had just lost a war in Vietnam, was suffering double-digit inflation, had forced a great president to resign, and had its diplomats caged in a foreign land with authorities unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Oil prices quintupled seemingly overnight and the good uncle turned into a laughing stock.
Then came Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. The Iron Lady turned the screws on left-wing unions that were sabotaging the economy and which did not even enjoy approval from a majority of their members. Endless strikes became illegal and the Brits have not looked back, becoming the fourth-largest world economic power based on nominal GDP shortly after Thatcher’s tenure. Reagan installed cruise missiles in Europe and upped the stakes in the poker game with the Soviet Union. The Russian Bear folded its hand 10 years later.
After the passing of those two giants, it was natural for midgets to follow. The 21st century saw 9/11 and, in its aftermath, the rise of the neocons. Their catastrophic foreign policy saw the good uncle unmoored from his innate resistance to unchecked power. Suddenly there was no national purpose, just the recklessness and shortsightedness that has led to the present. The 21st century has been one long American defeat so far, despite what an arch fool and liar like Biden says. Just look at the emergence of Black Lives Matter and Twitter. Even the MAGA movement was not all roses.
Looking back at Afghanistan, had the U.S. confined its mission to kicking out the Taliban and denying the 9/11 perpetrators a safe haven, things would look far different today. A victorious George W. Bush, though still severely limited in brainpower, could have signed a deal with the Taliban in 2001, limiting our presence there to only three months. This deal brokered by Hamid Karzai was rejected by the neocons and the Afghan War was expanded ruinously into nation building, just as in Iraq. As everyone who has ever opened a history book knows, imperial hubris leads to nemesis and the fall of empires.
And the nemesis was severe and tragic. The Afghan National Army remained under-resourced, drug-addled, worthless, corrupt, and poorly led. No one was willing to fight for the kleptocracy in Kabul. Now we expect Biden to defend our country and our entire way of life, when he could not even defend an airport perimeter.
So what is to be done? If you ask a poor little Greek boy like myself, I’d make friends with the Russian Bear so together we can keep the Chinese Dragon in check. Uncle Sam and Uncle Vladimir will make Cousin Xi think twice about taking over Taiwan and roaming around the Sea of Japan.
Furthermore, I’d stop trying to bring down Bashar al-Assad, make nice with Iran, and read the riot act to the Saudis, who continually finance terror and have corrupted Washington even more than the Israeli lobby. Then I would turn inwards and do something about the woke-inspired nihilistic destruction that is the only true threat to America. I find it amazing that our elites now subscribe to Critical Race Theory’s demonizing of whiteness. Among these elite, loathing Uncle Sam is a badge of honor.
If America survives in its current form, years from now people will wonder how society was enslaved by a minority of privileged people who would surrender and give up their mother at the first sign of an attack. They will wonder how a leftwing con man like George Soros was allowed to use his billions to undermine American institutions and beliefs. How a 13 percent African American minority was given more than a 50 percent share in Hollywood movies and TV commercials. How a tiny Hollywood minority was permitted to depict Christianity as a malevolent, predatory force. They will also wonder why we allowed the predominant viewpoint on college campuses to be that everything is the fault of white men. The ancient Greeks had Socrates drink poison for indefinitely less.
So, is Uncle Sam a goner, and is the world we value falling apart? Yes—unless we do something about it. How do we do it is another column altogether, but let’s start by never reading the The New York Times or The Washington Post, and never watching TV or the movies. Only Turner Classics—and only in black and white. ◆
Taki Theodoracopulos is a writer living in New York, London, and Gstaad. In addition to his long-running High Life column in The Spectator, Taki writes Under the Black Flag for each number of Chronicles, and publishes Taki’s Magazine, a webzine.