The Rise and Fall

Americans must take the bull by the horns and put their house in order by acting firmly to initiate criminal prosecution against those who marred its image.

By Justice (R) M. Shaiq Usmani | February 2021

Trump Protest at Capitol

As the images of invasion of Congress at the Capitol Hill by hoodlums flashed across the screens the world over and in the social media on January 6, 2021, for a moment one pondered which third world country were these from. But unbelievably it was the seat of Parliament, the Congress in the USA, the citadel of democracy. How did it happen and why did it happen is the question that will reverberate in the corridors of power and think tanks the world over for many years to come.

Till the beginning of the 2nd World War, the USA was considered to be a powerful and wealthy but an upstart country and somewhat isolationist even though towards the end of the 1st World War it did break its isolation by joining the Allies. Its contribution was, however, more intellectual than militaristic as epitomized by Wordrow Wilson, the President of the USA at the time. He launched The League of Nations, a precursor of the present day United Nations. Even when the 2nd World War started, the USA was not inclined to take sides and was happy being an isolationist state. However, when Japan joined the war on the side of Germany and attacked Pearl Harbour, the USA was suddenly dragged into the war on the side of the Allies and, given the resources at its command, it soon tilted the balance and eventually the Allies came out victorious.

The war had completely devastated the major countries in Europe, leaving behind Russia and the USA as the dominant powers. Initially there was great bonhomie between Russia and the USA. However, when Stalin started expanding his sphere of influence aimed at subjugating all east European countries and central Asian states and forming the Soviet Union with these as its satellites, suddenly the confrontation between the two countries began and led to the formation of two blocs separated by what came to be known as an Iron Curtain. Nevertheless, it was the bloc led by the USA which had the upper hand and greater reach since the Soviet Union was totalitarian in nature and hence evoked suspicion in most freshly independant states. The USA represented democratic values, free trade and freedom of individuals while the Soviet Union represented exactly the opposite. Thus the USA gained the high moral ground, more so because of its strong political system based on checks and balances.

This was the time when the European colonial powers, considerably enervated due to blood-letting during the war, began to lose their grip on the colonies. The USA took advantage of this and supported the colonies in spite of its people’s Anglo Saxon roots, which inherently imparted to them racist ethos and also a slave owning past. Consequently, when the colonies started gaining independence one by one, they all looked up to the USA which was not lacking in coming to their assistance financially as well as militarily. The USA thus became a role model for the emerging nations and most of them sought to emulate it.

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