I live in Chicago. I was born in Poland, but I am an ethnic Ukrainian. Like Noam Chomsky, whom I admire, I am concerned with the state of the world: with the almost certain ecological collapse, with the possibility of nuclear warfare, and with U.S. economic and military imperial hegemony.
And because the U.S. dominates the world militarily (with nearly a thousand military bases around the world), it is difficult to envision any economic or political changes anywhere without some kind of U.S. acquiescence.
I also believe that the world is overpopulated. But, because population expansion is in the interest of capitalism, there is no policy of population control, as there was in China. The result is widespread world poverty, widespread conflicts, and ecological collapses.
I also believe that capitalism has taken total control of the U.S. political machinery, simply because the U.S. Constitution is structurally built for oligarchic control.
Theoretically, the solution is to have a different U.S. Constitution — perhaps one closer to that of Switzerland. But I do not see any prospects for any such radical change; for two reasons. The first is that amending the U.S. Constitution is very difficult — nearly impossible. The second is that the U.S. Constitution is regarded with the same reverence as any Holy Book — so, criticism is like blasphemy.
So, as regards the U.S. I am pessimistic, if not a cynic.
I have more hope for other countries. I regard Switzerland as the best democracy in the world. And my utopian hope is that Ukraine will emulate Switzerland.
But the prospects of this happening in Ukraine are dismal.
Situated on the border with Russia, and having a mixed population of bilingual speakers of Ukrainian and Russian, the recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections have given the Russian-speakers total control of the government.
Let me explain. First, Ukraine unlike the U.S. is neither federated nor decentralized. All power is concentrated in the President. He nominates the Prime Minister, the Prosecutor, the Minister of Internal Security (the police), the Minister of Defense (the military), the Minister of foreign affairs, and he appoints all the Governors of the 25 Oblasts and of Kyiv. Second, recent parliamentary elections have given the President’s party, an overwhelming majority. Only a few votes are needed from other parties to make amendments to the Constitution.
The result is that Ukraine has a democratically elected Dictator, who, prior to being elected, was a very successful Russian-speaking comedian on television. (I use the word “dictator” in the sense in which the ancient Roman republic used it, when power was concentrate in the hands of one person, rather than in the hands of two consuls.) How this concentrated power will be used in Ukraine is a total mystery at this stage — with foreboding apprehensions.