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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

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sexta-feira, 7 de janeiro de 2022

Alertas sobre uma “guerra civil” nos EUA são exagerados - David Remnick, Peter Baker (The New Yorker e NYT)

 Mais dois inacreditáveis alertas sobre a possibilidade de “guerra civil” no cenário prospectivo da “democracia” americana. Não ocorrerá, é claro, mas esses alertas repetidos testemunham a fragilidade da atual “República democrática” estável e “farol” das liberdades mundiais:

The New Yorker -6.1.2022

Is a Civil War Ahead?

A year after the attack on the Capitol, America is suspended between democracy and autocracy.

David Remnick

The New Yorker – 6.1.2022

A Year Later, Jan. 6 Becomes Just Another Wedge in a Divided Nation

The nearly universal outrage after the assault on the Capitol has reverted to separate blue and red realities, and former President Donald J. Trump has remained the dominant force in his party.

Peter Baker

Grato a meu amigo Pedro Luiz Rodrigues pela transcrição sempre atenta e diversificada dos melhores artigos da imprensa mundial.

The New Yorker -6.1.2022

Is a Civil War Ahead?

A year after the attack on the Capitol, America is suspended between democracy and autocracy.

David Remnick


The edifice of American exceptionalism has always wobbled on a shoddy foundation of self-delusion, and yet most Americans have readily accepted the commonplace that the United States is the world’s oldest continuous democracy. That serene assertion has now collapsed.

On January 6, 2021, when white supremacists, militia members, and MAGA faithful took inspiration from the President and stormed the Capitol in order to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election, leaving legislators and the Vice-President essentially held hostage, we ceased to be a full democracy. Instead, we now inhabit a liminal status that scholars call “anocracy.” That is, for the first time in two hundred years, we are suspended between democracy and autocracy. And that sense of uncertainty radically heightens the likelihood of episodic bloodletting in America, and even the risk of civil war.

This is the compelling argument of “How Civil Wars Start,” a new book by Barbara F. Walter, a political scientist at the University of California San Diego. Walter served on an advisory committee to the C.I.A. called the Political Instability Task Force, which studies the roots of political violence in nations from Sri Lanka to the former Yugoslavia. Citing data compiled by the Center for Systemic Peace, which the task force uses to analyze political dynamics in foreign countries, Walter explains that the “honor” of being the oldest continuous democracy is now held by Switzerland, followed by New Zealand. In the U.S., encroaching instability and illiberal currents present a sad picture. As Walter writes, “We are no longer a peer to nations like Canada, Costa Rica, and Japan.”

In her book and in a conversation for this week’s New Yorker Radio Hour, Walter made it clear that she wanted to avoid “an exercise in fear-mongering”; she is wary of coming off as sensationalist. In fact, she takes pains to avoid overheated speculation and relays her warning about the potential for civil war in clinical terms. Yet, like those who spoke up clearly about the dangers of global warming decades ago, Walter delivers a grave message that we ignore at our peril. So much remains in flux. She is careful to say that a twenty-first-century American civil war would bear no resemblance to the consuming and symmetrical conflict that was played out on the battlefields of the eighteen-sixties. Instead she foresees, if the worst comes about, an era of scattered yet persistent acts of violence: bombings, political assassinations, destabilizing acts of asymmetric warfare carried out by extremist groups that have coalesced via social media. These are relatively small, loosely aligned collections of self-aggrandizing warriors who sometimes call themselves “accelerationists.” They have convinced themselves that the only way to hasten the toppling of an irredeemable, non-white, socialist republic is through violence and other extra-political means.

Walter makes the case that, as long as the country fails to fortify its democratic institutions, it will endure threats such as the one that opens her book: the attempt, in 2020, by a militia group in Michigan known as the Wolverine Watchmen to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Watchmen despised Whitmer for having instituted anti-COVID measures in the state—restrictions that they saw not as attempts to protect the public health but as intolerable violations of their liberty. Trump’s publicly stated disdain for Whitmer could not have discouraged these maniacs. The F.B.I., fortunately, foiled the Wolverines, but, inevitably, if there are enough such plots—enough shots fired—some will find their target.

America has always suffered acts of political violence—the terrorism of the Klan; the 1921 massacre of the Black community in Tulsa; the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Democracy has never been a settled, fully stable condition for all Americans, and yet the Trump era is distinguished by the consuming resentment of many right-wing, rural whites who fear being “replaced” by immigrants and people of color, as well as a Republican Party leadership that bows to its most autocratic demagogue and no longer seems willing to defend democratic values and institutions. Like other scholars, Walter points out that there have been early signs of the current insurgency, including the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, in 1995, which killed a hundred and sixty-eight people. But it was the election of Barack Obama that most vividly underlined the rise of a multiracial democracy and was taken as a threat by many white Americans who feared losing their majority status. Walter writes that there were roughly forty-three militia groups operating in the U.S. when Obama was elected, in 2008; three years later there were more than three hundred.

Walter has studied the preconditions of civil strife all over the world. And she says that, if we strip away our self-satisfaction and July 4th mythologies and review a realistic checklist, “assessing each of the conditions that make civil war likely,” we have to conclude that the United States “has entered very dangerous territory.” She is hardly alone in that conclusion. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm recently listed the U.S. as a “backsliding” democracy.

The New York Times – 6.1.2022

A Year Later, Jan. 6 Becomes Just Another Wedge in a Divided Nation

The nearly universal outrage after the assault on the Capitol has reverted to separate blue and red realities, and former President Donald J. Trump has remained the dominant force in his party.

Peter Baker


Washington, DC -  For a day or two or maybe a week after the can-you-believe-this-is-happening-in-America events of a year ago, there were those who thought that the shock to the system might upend politics in a profound way.

That the country might speak as one against an attempt to overturn democracy. That the tribal divisions of the era might be overcome by a shared sense of revulsion. That a president who encouraged a mob that attacked Congress in a vain bid to hold onto power might be ostracized or at least fade into exile.

That was then. A year after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol in which supporters of President Donald J. Trump trying to stop final recognition of a certified free and fair election burst through barricades, pummeled police officers and forced lawmakers to flee for their lives, what is most striking is not what has changed, but what has not.

America has not come together to defend its democracy; it has only split further apart. Lies and disinformation spread by the former president have so permeated the political ecosphere that nearly universal outrage has reverted to separate blue and red realities. Far from shunned for what even his own vice president deemed an unconstitutional attempt to thwart the will of the voters, Mr. Trump remains the undisputed powerhouse of his party — and a viable candidate to reclaim the White House in three years.

“I just kept hoping that that was going to change after the election,” said Olivia Troye, a lifelong Republican who worked on the White House coronavirus task force before breaking with Mr. Trump in 2020 and joining efforts to defeat him. “And then with the events after the election and Jan. 6, it became clear this was something that was going to be even more dangerous and pervasive than one man sitting in the Oval Office.”

The first anniversary of the assault on the Capitol serves as a chance to take stock of a country still trying to make sense of it all. Rather than a wake-up call highlighting for all the fragility of the American experiment, the violence that besieged Washington turns out to have been one more chapter in the polarizing, partisan, ideological and cultural struggle over truth and consequences in the modern era.

The disparate approaches to Thursday’s anniversary reflect the fraught condition of the nation’s politics. Rather than join in unified commemoration, President Biden and congressional Democrats will hold events marking the moment while Republican leaders plan to absent themselves. Mr. Trump originally planned to hold his first post-presidential news conference on Thursday but abruptly changed his mind.

While Mr. Biden and the Democrats describe the dangers to the constitutional order from what amounted to an anti-democratic insurrection, Mr. Trump and his allies rail against a congressional investigating committee and seek to rewrite history by repeating wild and false claims about a supposedly stolen election and asserting that the riot was born out of justified anger.

“Why is the primary reason for the people coming to Washington D.C., which is the fraud of the 2020 Presidential Election, not the primary topic of the Unselect Committee’s investigation?” Mr. Trump said in a statement this week. “This was, indeed, the Crime of the Century.”

An extensive, monthslong review by The Associated Press of every fraud claim in six battleground states targeted by Mr. Trump found fewer than 475 suspicious votes or attempted votes. That was not nearly enough to swing the results in a single state, much less the three or more necessary to tip the Electoral College, even if all of them had been counted for Mr. Biden, which they were not.

But the extent to which Mr. Trump has shaped the narrative, at least within his own party, would have defied belief a year ago when leaders on both sides of the aisle were seething with indignation at what he had unleashed. At the time, even allies thought Mr. Trump had forever sullied his name in the history books, as indicated by the subsequent investigation.

While intruders marauded through the Capitol, Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host, texted the White House chief of staff imploring him to get the president to call off the mob, warning that “he is destroying his legacy.” Her colleague Brian Kilmeade likewise texted that Mr. Trump was “destroying everything you have accomplished.”

Today, it has become heresy among conservatives to question Mr. Trump’s legacy. The cabinet secretaries and White House aides who resigned in protest of his role in the violence now largely keep to themselves. Many corporations that vowed to halt donations to Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the election have quietly reopened the contribution spigot. The congressional Republicans who angrily denounced the president after their headquarters was invaded have gone silent or even made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, all but pretending it never happened.

 “It’s a pretty sobering lesson about human nature,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democrat who led the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump in a Senate impeachment trial and now serves on the House select committee investigating Jan. 6.

In an interview, Mr. Raskin said he had ordered books about cults and deprogramming to try to understand his Republican colleagues. “It’s amazing to me how many of these Republican leaders have just fallen into line like lemmings,” he said. “I tell them when it’s all over, they’re only going to be fit to sell flowers and incense at Dulles Airport. They have basically surrendered their critical thinking skills.”

Mr. Raskin, who this week published “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy,” his own book on Jan. 6 and the subsequent Senate trial, at one point a year ago thought enough Republicans were fed up with Mr. Trump to convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors. In fact, just seven Republican senators voted to convict, short of the 17 required along with Democrats for a two-thirds majority, but it was the most bipartisan Senate vote in presidential impeachment history.

A year later, neither Mr. Raskin nor anyone else can say for sure that even those seven Republicans would still back conviction. “Rejecting the fact that Joe Biden won the 2020 election is now the organizing principle of the G.O.P.,” he said. “That is a terrifying and astonishing new reality that we have to contend with.”

For many Republicans, even those who privately despise Mr. Trump and agree that Mr. Biden was legitimately elected, Jan. 6 is a topic to avoid. They bristle at the focus on it, seeing it not as a good-faith effort to find out what happened but a partisan weapon to tear them down and distract from the Democrats’ own failed policies.

And then there are the Republicans still firmly in the former president’s camp and eager to take on the fight and amplify his claims, like his onetime chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who is hosting a podcast with other Trump allies on the anniversary to counterprogram the Democratic-led events.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, said that “Jan. 6 is going to be a disaster rather than an asset for Democrats” that will cost them seats in the November midterm elections. While he said those who broke into the Capitol should be brought to justice and the event investigated, he argued that Democrats were covering up their own complicity in not providing adequate security for the Capitol.

“The process of the select committee is only getting more corrupt and destructive,” Mr. Gingrich wrote in a newsletter this week. “Using an outrageous, painful and unacceptable event (which I fully condemn) to smear your opponents rather than find the truth will ultimately be repudiated by the American people.”

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