The Bureau of Land Management should have ideally sent one person to the Bundy Ranch. Sending 200 Federal agents to enforce obedience isn’t a mark of power. It’s a sign of dangerous weakness; of the collapse of credibility. And that’s true internationally too. Recently NBC News reported a Russian fighter repeatedly buzzed a US warship in the Black Sea.
According to officials, in a 90-minute encounter, the Russian SU-24 fighter jet made a dozen low passes — ranging from sea level to several thousand feet — near the USS Donald Cook.
The crew aboard the Donald Cook made several attempts to radio the Russian warplane asking the pilot what were his intentions and sending warnings to remain at a safe distance, but the Russian pilot never responded.
American credibility and prestige — its legitimacy as the hegemon in other words — would once have prevented the Russians from trying this stunt. But it’s gone. And going to battle stations each time plane shows up is ruinously expensive.
When the IRS shuts down Republican companies or when Harry Reid uses his political position to drive a rancher off his land the damage goes beyond the individual aggrieved party. It goes to the legitimacy of the system. Of all the values the “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” cohort have squandered, nothing has been more ill-spent than trust.
Well, Richard, the real problem is that the last fifty years have already entirely delegitimized the American governing system.
We have now reached the point where the state can no longer expect unquestioning obedience of the people, because the state has forfeited – nay, entirely destroyed – the trust necessary for such a system to function.
We are now in no-man’s land, where the state will have to focus its killing power ever more minutely in order to get even the simplest things accomplished. In truth, today, when the state says, “go there and do this,” the most likely response will be a combination of “fuck you” and “make me.”
And both sides of that equation are gunning up. I can guarantee you that it won’t end well.
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