Re: Alfred W. McCoy’s December 6 article on Salon.com, How America Will Collapse (By 2025):
I remember seeing an interview with Immanuel Wallerstein some time ago where he aptly described the practice of predicting the distant future as a kind of fantastic or creative-fiction based project. This would seem to me a very uncontroversial claim given what we are able to understand about the nature of reality, with it’s stark frictions, dynamical processes, brute facts, etc, all violently interrupting our near-pathological desire(s) to “explain” and “know” our world.
However, it seems equally uncontroversial to insist on fidelity to material facts and readily observable trends, and to draw conclusions thusly- put frankly, a sensible materialist stance. Alfred McCoy’s descriptions of 2025 may be entertaining in the sense of the aforementioned creative-fiction sense, but the overall message cannot be discarded as it is also thoroughly uncontroversial. America’s continued hegemony is so precarious , it’s behavior foreign and domestic so unsustainable, that to dispute what is so abundantly accessible to critique and analysis defies any sane position.
Moreover, a writer like Alfred McCoy is not some cred-lacking-try-hard with no intellectual backbone. His books, The Politics of Heroin, an exposé of CIA involvement in the global drug trade1 (a fact that should also no longer elicit controversy), or A Question of Torture, an exposé of the CIA’s involvement in torture research in the past century (another fact that should not tolerate challenge), are simply not works of hackery. Despite the imaginativeness of his 2025 scenarios, can American imperial decline and collapse even be considered up for debate?
Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be2.