I have written in my blogs, too many to reference, that the USA is in the aging stage of the life cycle.
As systems age, they start to disintegrate. Like humans, animals, and trees do.
The speed by which we grow is mirrored by how fast we age. Look at a growing toddler. If you miss seeing them for a few months, you get a big surprise by how much they have grown. Look at an aging person. Within a few months, the deterioration of advanced aging is very noticeable.
At advanced stages of disintegration, the subsystems turn against each other. That is where the witch hunt starts. The search for a scapegoat. It accelerates disintegration.
The USA is disintegrating at an increasingly rapid pace. The Republicans and the Democrats are at each other’s throats like never before. The President is against the media, the CIA, the FBI, the Attorney General, the Federal Reserve, and mostly against Democrats.
Antisemitism is on the rise and the sentiment against diversity manifested by the rejection of immigrants is very high. Islamophobia is just one example of the rejection of ethnic or religious diversity.
President Trump is not the cause of the disintegration. He is an enabler, just making it happen faster. The cause is the location on the life cycle. The US is aging. (1)
So, what is so bad?
The USA’s biggest asset is not its technology, money, size, power, or physical resources. Plenty of other nations have wealth and land. The USA’s biggest asset is its culture of valuing diversity and practicing inclusiveness. A culture of live and let live. A culture of mutual trust and respect where multiple religions and ethnic groups live together in unison. It is the country where everybody shares the same identity equally: American. People of different ethnicities—Polish, Russian, Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Colombian—are all Americans.
In other countries, being Russian means that Russia belongs first of all to the Russian ethnic group. Their nationality and the ethnic group to which they belong are the same. It is the same with Macedonia. Macedonians are an ethnic group. For them to call themselves Macedonians make sense: it is both their national and ethnic identity. Now take an Albanian in Macedonia. How can he call himself Macedonian? He has to say, “I am Albanian with Macedonian citizenship.” He is a minority in the country he lives in. He does not feel equal. It is not like saying I am American. What I believe Trump is doing wrong is undermining the USA’s most important asset: its culture. Trump is sowing discontent by fostering conflict between different groups, which is dangerous. Building a culture of mutual trust and respect takes a long time and a lot of hard work; ruining it, undermining it, chipping away at it, takes very little effort. It is an expensive and fragile asset.
Also, Trump’s decision to close the Mexican border and increase tariffs and stop aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras might have some dire repercussions. Mexico is in a sense a two-country state comprised of the wealthy upper class and the poor lower class. If the USA hurts the Mexican economy, it could cause a sociopolitical eruption in Mexico. The same holds for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, poor countries with major wealth disparities, political instability, and histories of civil war. If the economic conditions in these countries get worse, turbulence and revolution will follow. Trump is disintegrating the USA and pushing poor Latin American countries to erupt into internal turmoil by withdrawing support, and desperate immigrants will overflow onto the USA. True, the economy is doing well. The stock market is going up and up, but at what price? With reduced regulations comes an increase in profit. The stock market reacts positively, but what happens in the workplace without protections at work which he eliminated? What happens to the environment in which we live? Damaging the environment is another manifestation of our disintegration. The consequences are dire and very significant.
Reversing the disintegration will require structural and values changes for which major, united political will is necessary.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder of Adizes Institute Worldwide
(1) See Ichak Adizes: Managing Corporate Lifecycles ( Adizes Institute Publications)