Expert: why no one needs a war more than the United States today

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 Expert: why no one needs a war more than the United States today


Super polarized parties

The outbreak of the new crown epidemic in the United States was at the final stage of Trumps impeachment initiated by the Democratic controlled house of Representatives. Although the Senate with the majority of Republicans finally ruled trump innocent, since he took office, the party struggle between the two parties has become increasingly fierce, and the degree of political polarization is rare in recent decades, which is obvious to all. Stephen Walter, an international relations scholar at Harvard University, called it hyperpolarization.

In fact, at the beginning of the outbreak, some people expected that this public health crisis might be able to bridge the political divisions in the United States like the World War II. In an exclusive interview with Atlantic Monthly, New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt said that at the beginning, he thought the epidemic might become a reset button to get the United States out of the downward track. However, the development of the situation soon destroyed this expectation.

Thomas Carothers, vice president of Carnegie Endowment for international peace, believes that trump has adopted a strategy of consolidating his own fundamentals, attacking opponents parties and polarizing both in response to the epidemic and in dealing with ethnic conflicts - criticizing the mismanagement of democratic states such as New York, California and Illinois, only asking for money, and accusing the media of boasting in order to prevent his election He also criticized experts, deep state within the government and the World Health Organization.

In fact, the polarization of American politics has a long history, and the new crown epidemic and ethnic conflicts only exacerbate the existing trend. The global challenge of democracy, edited by democri esDivided:TheGlobalChallengeofPoliticalPolarization uff09In his book, Carlos thinks that the source of American political polarization can be traced back to the cultural civil war in the 1960s. In the Obama era, the polarization between the two parties has developed to a very serious level. Many clues of the party struggle in the trump era have been revealed in the Obama era. For example, at the beginning of Obamas presidency, the Republicans made it clear that he would only serve one term. In the 2010 mid-term election, after the Republican control of Congress, Obama had to resort to more and more executive orders to bypass the Congress, so the Republican Party accused him of imperial presidential behavior.

Now, the same is happening to trump. After the 2018 mid-term elections, although Republicans still control the White House and the Senate, the house of Representatives has fallen into the hands of Democrats. No matter which Party of the two parties tries to pass a bill, it will face the constraints of the other party. Veto politics prevails. As a result, major legislation related to the national economy and peoples livelihood, such as economy, immigration, gun control and health care reform, cannot be pushed forward. This situation forced trump to issue presidential executive orders frequently, bypassing the constraints of congressional Democrats.

Wartime president and emergency government

Under the background of increasingly serious polarization politics, trump adopted another strategy to declare a state of emergency, and compared the new crown epidemic to World War II, trying to make himself a wartime president, so as to bypass the various legal constraints under the conventional state and release more power.

According to Paul Renfro, a historian at Florida State University, war metaphors have gradually become the dominant political discourse since World War II at least. Instead of disappearing with the end of World War II, war metaphors have extended to non military fields. Americans are more and more used to seeing social problems through the lens of war and declaring war on all visible or abstract, domestic or foreign enemies. However, in Renfros view, war thinking is not an appropriate way to understand social issues. The excessive reliance on war metaphors leads to the lack of American political imagination and hinders Americans ability to correctly understand and solve social issues power.

Bruce Ackerman, an American constitutional scientist, has made similar observations. He believes that the president, based on the state of emergency, bypasses legal procedures and advocates a state of emergency government directly authorized by the people, increasingly endangers the constitutional principles. A major source of the presidents state of emergency is war. For a long time, presidents have advocated the power of unilateral action in wartime. For example, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the American Civil War. But for the first century and a half, it was an exception, not a normal. The war will end and politics will return to normal.

Since Truman brought the United States into North Koreas police operation, the president has been given the power to bring the country back to war without the consent of Congress. At the same time, the White House has always extended the war metaphor to other affairs - the war against poverty, the war against crime, the war on drugs, the war on terror, and so on. These metaphors allow the president to continue his mystique as a military commander in chief and to advocate unilateral action in a state of emergency. After a series of war metaphors lacking reflection, the president has won general legal power from Congress, declaring a state of emergency and taking unilateral actions to deal with various crises. The presidents actively use these powers and issue presidential decrees repeatedly to explore the fuzzy boundary of the presidents statutory power. Years of practice has accumulated a large number of precedents, which provides the basis for the normalization of the presidents emergency power.

Institutional issues

Since the polarization of American politics has a long history, the reflection on it has existed for a long time. Carrousels believes that some characteristics of the American political system itself contribute to political polarization. In the familiar words of Chinese, this is a system problem. The basic structure of American political system is the separation of powers and the two party system. It is generally believed that the two party system in the United States is highly competitive - the two parties need to win a series of competitive elections before they can enter the White House and Capitol Hill. This is not only a factual description, but also a normative judgment. It implies that high competitiveness is a desirable quality and an advantage of the American political system. Is that true?

Francis Lee, a political scientist at Princeton University, found that the competitiveness of American politics is actually relatively low in the long run. If high competitiveness is really a desirable quality, looking back on the most stable and highly praised period of the two party system in the history of the United States, there are all periods in which a stable majority party is strongly dominant, and another period in which minority parties cooperate and assist, such as the Republican led reconstruction, the era of progress, the Democratic led New Deal, and the World War II era. In the words of political scientist Samuel Lubell, the characteristic of our political solar system is not that there are two equal suns, but one sun and one moon. In fact, the policy problems in each period are solved within the dominant majority party, and the minority party only reflects the light of the majority party. In this light, the era we are in today is actually an abnormal period, because todays two parties are more evenly matched and power changes are more frequent. Why is this counter intuitive phenomenon?

Because the basic political structure stipulated by the constitution of the United States is a fragmented structure - on the one hand, it has a large number of vetopoints; on the other hand, the horizontal and vertical decentralization makes these veto points in the hands of relatively independent actors. If we want to run smoothly with such infrastructure and two party system, there are only two ways out: to form a stable majority party, or to have a relatively high willingness to cooperate between the two parties. If one of the parties forms an overwhelming majority, it will be difficult for the minority parties to compete, and they will have to choose cooperation. But when the two parties are evenly matched, they will be more inclined to polarization and fierce party struggle rather than cooperation - because if both parties have the chance to win the majority, they are more inclined to fight for the majority, and use the means given by the system to block and veto the plans of the other party, which eventually leads to frequent political deadlock. In other words, the highly fragmented basic political structure of the United States determines that if the two parties fail to form a stable majority party, they will easily fall into polarization and party struggle, so that Francis Fukuyama specially invented the word vetocracy.

Ackerman and Juan Linz, a Spanish political scientist, have made a similar analysis. According to Ackerman, the constitutional tradition of the United States traces all systems to peoples sovereignty in different ways, and does not recognize that any particular branch has the qualification to act as the sole spokesperson of the people. Both the president and the Congress, as two branches elected by the people, are entitled to claim that they are more representative of the people than the other party, and are more qualified to speak in the name of the people, thus leading to confrontation. Linz believes that the presidential system in the United States is more likely to lead to crisis than the parliamentary system. Under the parliamentary system, the majority parties form the cabinet. The Prime Minister of the cabinet is also the leader of the majority parties in the parliament. The unity of the legislature and the executive ensures that only one party is in power on the stage. The American presidential system is not the case. The power of the president and the Congress are separated, and they are both elected. Therefore, it is quite possible that one party will take over the Congress, the other party will be in the White House, and even the two houses of Congress may be in the hands of different parties. Since both parties can control part of the state machine, they tend to use the state machine in their hands to attack each other. Right now, the United States is experiencing such a split - Republicans control the White House and the Senate, and Democrats are the house majority.

Carothers offers another analysis. He believes that the simple majority system is adopted in the U.S. Congress and presidential elections, that is, those who get the most votes, even if no more than half of them, can win the election, which makes it difficult for a more moderate third party to rise. Moreover, the two party system also excludes the possibility of forming a more inclusive ruling coalition under the parliamentary system.

The fragmented basic political structure and polarized two parties make it difficult for the United States to organize a nationwide anti epidemic campaign. Because of this, Theodore Lowe, a political scientist, believes that the most suitable party system for the political structure of the United States is not the two party system, but some modified version of one party system - one party is strong, the other is weak, but the weak party still has the hope to become the majority party again.

The polarization and confrontation between the two parties in the United States today is actually the result of the collapse of the powerful new deal coalition created by the Democratic Party in the 1930s and 1940s. Roosevelt led the United States through the great depression and won World War II. The political basis of all this is that he built and maintained a powerful new deal coalition during his four term presidency, which brought together a variety of social groups that even had conflicts of interest in some aspects, such as white racists and black minorities in the south, Puritans in rural villages and Catholics in cities, liberal intellectuals and traditional conservatives And workers and small farmers.

However, after the Second World War, under the impact of a series of events, the new deal alliance emerged cracks and gradually disintegrated. After decades of restructuring, todays Democratic Party has become an alliance of social groups. It likes to introduce preferential policies for specific social groups (such as ethnic minorities, LGBT and women) to correct various forms of discrimination and inequality. The Republican Party, on the other hand, is more like an ideological movement, preferring to resort to a unified and abstract ideology such as laissez faire and opposing big government. Its voter base is more homogeneous - the proportion of white, male, Christian and middle-aged people is much higher. However, in any case, it is difficult for both parties to establish an overwhelming advantage over the other party in the short term. Neither party can dominate the political agenda for a long time, and the polarization of American politics is expected to continue.

However, the demographic structure of the United States is changing in favor of the Democratic Party. Political writer Ezra Klein points out in his book why we are polarized that 2013 is a critical point. In that year, the proportion of white babies born under one year old was already less than 50%. Moreover, the white population is aging, and the average age is much higher than that of Latinos, blacks and Asians. He believed that it would take more than a decade for demographic changes to be transmitted to political power. According to this logic, even if trump loses the election in 2016, there will be another trump around 2024 sooner or later. Trump and the Republican Party represent the last struggle of desperate white people. If they dont win now, theyll be in the minority and wont win again.

New Cold War: a rare cross party consensus

Interestingly, it is precisely because the two parties and the voters behind them have difficulty in reaching a consensus on domestic issues, so globalization and China, which has benefited from globalization, have become scapegoats for them to pass on the crisis. Both parties blame the slow growth of American workers income and the widening gap between the rich and the poor due to the outsourcing of multinational companies, the impact of Chinese goods on American industries, and Chinas technology theft and unfair trade behavior. The polarization of American internal politics and the extreme of China policy are two noticeable phenomena in American domestic and foreign politics. It can be said that maintaining the leading position of the United States, criticizing and suppressing China have become the glue of the elites of the two parties and the new political correctness of the United States.

Timothy Sith, a senior researcher at Rand Corporation, believes that in the context of such polarization between the two parties, containing China has become the consensus of both parties. Although the Democrats may not agree with some specific strategies of Trumps trade war with China, they support Trumps basic attitude towards China. For example, the defense authorization act of 2018, which contains a large number of provisions to curb Chinas espionage and military activities, has won wide support from both parties.

(function(){( window.slotbydup=window .slotbydup||[]).push({id:u5811557,container:ssp_ 5811557, async:true }Under the background of polarization between the two parties, if trump is re elected in 2020, the Democratic Party will have a strong incentive to continue to boycott trump on various domestic issues. On the contrary, if there is a Democratic president after this years election, his policies will have distinctive anti trump characteristics, and will certainly meet strong resistance from the Republican Party. The lowering of the threshold of impeachment indicates that impeachment may become a frequently used means of struggle. In view of the fact that it is difficult to make a difference in internal affairs and contain China is the consensus of both parties, no matter which party the new president comes from, he should continue to use the expanded foreign affairs power of the president in previous foreign wars to contain China. The new cold war against China will become a rare adhesive for the home of division of the United States. Therefore, for China, the external pressure is likely to be long-term. Source: observer.com editor in charge: Lin Qihui_ NB13068

Under the background of polarization between the two parties, if trump is re elected in 2020, the Democratic Party will have a strong incentive to continue to boycott trump on various domestic issues. On the contrary, if there is a Democratic president after this years election, his policies will have distinctive anti trump characteristics, and will certainly meet strong resistance from the Republican Party. The lowering of the threshold of impeachment indicates that impeachment may become a frequently used means of struggle. In view of the fact that it is difficult to make a difference in internal affairs and contain China is the consensus of both parties, no matter which party the new president comes from, he should continue to use the expanded foreign affairs power of the president in previous foreign wars to contain China. The new cold war against China will become a rare adhesive for the home of division of the United States. Therefore, for China, the external pressure is likely to be long-term.