"We can see how politics, which used to be the art of government action, is becoming the art of inaction: to prevent the government from taking action and impeding decisions that have already been made. Or the art of anarchy: the opposition makes certain that the government cannot govern."
There's one week left. Neither
side wants to give an inch. A Democratic president like Obama cannot
drastically slash social spending without raising taxes on the rich: he is gambling
with his political future. Nor will ultra-conservative Congressmen cede any
ground. They have sworn to their constituents that they will never support a
tax increase: they seek a smaller government and want nothing more than to
prevent the president from governing. There is only one argument that in the
end may be convincing to both sides: If on August 2, the two sides have failed
to agree to raise the debt ceiling so the government can meet its obligations,
the American superpower will suspend payment of its debts. After a catastrophe
of this magnitude others will follow which will affect stock markets, U.S. debt
and the value of the dollar. This will affect the entire global economy. We
have already seen repercussions in Europe, where we still haven't managed to
pick ourselves up after overcoming the crisis [involving Greek debt] last week.
The likely reason is the uncertainty reaching us from the other side of the
Living on the edge and
challenging each other to a game of the “chicken” (sending ourselves at full
speed toward the abyss to see which side can stop first before going over a cliff)
has become the widespread sport of ungoverned globalization. Israelis and
Palestinians have given us repeated evidence of this and have now set their own
deadline. The moment of the truth in this case will come when all U.N. member countries
are forced to choose: In September, the Palestinian Authority will seek U.N.
General Assembly recognition and Israel will ask the U.N. Security Council to
exercise its right of veto.
For a year-and-a-half, Europeans
have been playing our own version of this risky game, over-and-over postponing measures
that could have stemmed the sovereign debt crisis that began in Greece in 2010.
And now that we've reached some positive agreements that could serve to begin straightening
out the economy, a storm has arrived from Washington involving Democrats and
Republicans that threatens the global economy and erodes confidence in these
same European agreements.
In this and many other cases,
we can see how politics, which used to be the art of government action, is becoming
the art of inaction: preventing government from taking action and impeding decisions
that have already been made. Or the art of anarchy: the opposition makes
certain that the government cannot govern. Obstruct and paralyze are verbs more
appropriate for this situation. The use of the right of veto is the highest trick in this art. The task of the opposition is to provide citizens with a
permanent alternative program and demonstrate that political change is always
available - but in addition, to throw as many wrenches into the wheels of government
The first and most elementary
rule of contemporary politics is to demand, the day after an election, that the
winners not be legitimized, and to demonstrate that they cannot govern and that
everything they do will be amended as soon as the opposition takes power. The
result of such "opposition at the edge" is that no sooner than one
has taken office, the credibility of the winners is questioned and there are
calls for new elections - with a different end, naturally.
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