Twenty years ago the Berlin wall fell and Ronald Regan claimed victory in the Cold war. Regan felt that he had destroyed “The Evil Empire”. Twenty years later we can see the effects of Reaganomics, the so called free entrepreneurship which means unadulterated capitalism. In the final analysis the American victory in the cold war was not against the Soviet Union alone but was also against the European Union which has been following a different concept of capitalism than America. Regan and his followers advocated a system in which you are free to make profit without worrying for the social consequences. Regan and his followers not only despised communism but also despised soft capitalists who can be called Socialized Capitalists.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall and the so called American victory in the cold war, we are seeing that the “Golden Principle” does not work. The World is facing a severe recession. America is the worst affected country by the recession. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is gradually rebuilding itself and regaining its lost influence. However, the most interesting fact is that the European model of capitalism has beaten the American model. The European GDP is now bigger than the American GDP. The European currency Euro is 37% stronger than the dollar. European Union has grown from 12 countries to 27 countries with a total population of more than 500 million people. Europe is more united than ever. The division between the old Europe [France and Germany] and the new Europe [former eastern block countries] is diminishing. The new Europe was leaning toward America where as the old Europe wanted to be more independent from America. Now the new Europe is falling in line with the old Europe. ; Therefore, Europe is more and more asserting its independent role in the World.
America is not only suffering the Worst effects of recession but also is facing deep political, racial, cultural and social divisions. Europe has now an unemployment rate of about 8.5% whereas American unemployment rate is more than 10%. Europe is moving more and more toward unity in spite of many national ethnic and cultural divisions. On the other hand, in America all the divisions are becoming deeper than ever. President Obama was elected because the Reaganomics policies were failing. Obama is trying to change the American consumerist capitalism, which has failed, to a system closer to the European pattern. However, he is meeting a very tough resistance from the right. The rightists have started a very heated campaign against Obama which is much bigger and passionate than ordinary campaigns of opposition in democratic countries. The goal of this campaign is to make sure that Obama does not get reelected in 2012 and a rightist such as Sarah Palin wins the election and brings back the Reaganomics.
The hate these rightists are promoting against Obama is so intense that there is a risk that somebody can assassinate Obama. This is the worst thing which can happen to America or the World at this time. America has a history of intolerance and violence far more than the other industrialized countries. The Fort Hood tragedy in Texas is a reminder that any kind of violence is not inconceivable. People who are promoting hatred should be aware that they can cause more harm than they intend to do. We should be promoting tolerance and accepting Diversity. Whether we like it or not the fact remains that we are a multicultural society.
Dr. Sawraj Singh is Chairman of Washington State Network For Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition For Social Justice.