Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Brief History of the 21st Century: Chapter 11: The Former United States

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

A Brief History of the 21st Century: Chapter 11: The Former United States

Article excerpt

A 34-year-old yard-sale shopper in Ohio, sifting through a cardboard box of items she'd recently purchased, got something more than she bargained for. Taped to the back of a painting of dogs playing cards, she discovered two pages of single-spaced text, ostensibly from a 22nd-century history book, describing our immediate future. The pages were numbered 88 to 91 (front and back), each with the following headers on alternate pages: A Brief History of the 21st Century, Chapter 11: The Former United States.

... since most English-language records were destroyed in the chaos that marked the end of the Hot Wars in 2051.

The difficult years 2001 to 2008 set the stage for this turbulent Hot War period. The United States, confident in its role as sole planetary superpower but anxious about the threat of jihadist terrorism in the aftermath of the homeland terrorist incident of 2001, staged three major military projects during these years.

First, it invaded Afghanistan with mixed results. It successfully forced regime change, ejecting the jihadist party there, but it failed to help the invaded country reunify and rebuild adequately, nor did it apprehend the key leaders of various jihadist groups hiding there, including the planners of the 2001 incident.

Before completing the Afghanistan project, U.S. leaders next turned their attention to a second invasion, this one in Iraq, resulting in another regime change but, again, not in lasting peace. In fact, both regions remain destabilized today as a result of these ill-conceived and poorly executed invasions, torn by ongoing civil wars among competing warlords, many of whom provide safe havens for various remnants of 21st-century jihadist networks.

As a result, doubts about the U.S. Ruling Party's competence became widespread, along with questions of the party's integrity, in large part because the invasion was justified on unflinching assertions that turned out to be false. These doubts caused the Ruling Party to fear loss of dominance in the 2006 elections. Party leaders responded by intensifying their long-term strategy of dividing die American voting public over fringe issues upon which they never planned to take action. Fearing that this strategy would not suffice, they also worked to increase fear and present themselves as the "homeland security party" by diverting attention from recent failures in Afghanistan and Iraq to a new threat: the nuclear aspirations of neighboring Iran.

While demonstrating a public willingness to use diplomacy, the Ruling Party developed and disseminated secret plans for bombings of Iran and then for a full-scale invasion, all the while denying that such plans existed. In all its efforts, it enlisted (or accommodated) the support of the echoing media. Because the echoing media depended on ratings that were advantaged by fear but disadvantaged by appearing unpatriotic, this Party-media alliance proved mutually beneficial in the short run, in spite of the long-term disastrous consequences.

So from 2006 to 2008, the Ruling Party and echoing media turned general anxiety into acute fear of Iran, intensifying pro-war rhetoric and moving the country decisively toward its third war in less than a decade.

The Ruling Party also enlisted notable religious leaders to support the war effort, which many saw as a fulfillment of obscure biblical prophecies. Those who opposed the build-up to war with Iran were labeled as "peace-at-all-costs liberals," "unpatriotic cowards," and "naive leftist idealists," including a growing minority of conservative religious leaders who opposed the impending war on moral and economic grounds. A series of air strikes was launched against Iranian targets shortly before the 2006 elections, based on so-called intelligence reports (later proved bogus) that the Iranians were "nearly at the brink" of producing weapons of mass destruction.

BY THE 2006 elections, the Ruling Party and echoing media successfully quelled all public opposition so that even the Subdominant Party was submissive in principle to the Iran war rhetoric, although they quarreled bitterly (and fruitlessly) about strategy and timing. …

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