A bit off topic:
I ought to know better than to wave red handkerchiefs in front of raging bulls. I'm not that kind of bullfighter.
But I stupidly blurted this out on Kloor's: "We may already be doomed; sometimes I think Obama is the Gorbachev of America, heart in the right place, but far too late to save the system."
It's not the sort of thing you can un-say. So I might as well defend it.
What I mean by this is not that Obama's policies for America bear any resemblance to Gorbachev's for the USSR. What I mean is that Gorbachev was a decent person with the aim of reducing the most extreme, malign and destabilizing aspects of his nation, who attained a limited amount of power in the face of hidebound reactionary opposition too late to save the system.
If the analogy works out (and I really hope it doesn't) Obama will be stymied by reactionary elements in the US, and the whole structure of corporate capitalism will crumble.
To some extent, Obama has the worse of the deal. Things were very close to collapse when he came in. That he and Geithner managed to patch things together as well as they did is little short of miraculous. It's truly baffling and tragic how little credit he gets for this. Yet again, the press choosing neutrality over objectivity, I guess.
But we see the patience for deficit spending and government intervention failing, even though by all indications it has been exactly the right thing to do to avoid complete destabilization.
What happens when America fails? Everybody seems to have forgotten how close we were, 18 months ago, to finding out. But we're not out of the woods yet. Obama's opposition may yet trigger an absolute and spectacular failure of Gorbachevian proportions. The idea that what will be left to that opposition to control would be any recognizable vestige of what they think Obama is attacking (and of what he is actually doing an amazing job of defending) is unlikely to pan out very well.
We see now a diminished, still authoritarian Russia, at last, after 20 years, recovering some semblance of prosperity, largely by virtue of selling untapped natural resources to others: a sort of gigantic and brutal Canada. What happens to America in the event of a collapse is anybody's guess.
All of this turf is much trodden by Dmitri Orlov.