By Reza Moshfegh

American academic says U.S. can’t be an “ethical model”

March 18, 2021 - 14:26

TEHRAN - An American academic says that U.S. governance is not at all an “ethical model” for the world, but and it is an international fact that other countries following the footsteps of the U.S. 

“It cannot be an ‘ethical model.’  But the rest of the world operates in the same way,” Phillips Stevens Jr., associate professor of anthropology at the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences tells the Tehran Times.

Many observers inside and outside America believe that Trump’s presidency ruined what is called “American dream” and raised serious questions about U.S. global leadership.

Now the world is more aware about what is going on inside America, especially systematic discrimination against black and the radical divisions inside the society.  

This is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the main challenges facing President Biden?

A: President Biden is committed to supporting the principles of the U.S. Constitution. He is especially committed to ensuring equality of opportunity to all citizens.  I would say that achieving that goal is the greatest challenge.  To achieve that means solving many other social and economic problems which he inherited, all of which have been worsened by the pandemic.  These are unprecedented times for the world, as well as for the U.S.  All world leaders will acknowledge the same problems.  Global climate change is at the head of the list.  That is the most serious. 

Q: What are the main roots of division in the U.S.? Is this division political or societal?

 A: The roots of today’s division extend back through the entire history of the U.S., beginning in the 17th century.  

 “The roots of today’s division extend back through the entire history of the U.S., beginning in the 17th century.”


 Q: Do you think that racism and far-right narratives have been eliminated in the U.S.? 

 A: Absolutely not, just as they are not eliminated anywhere in the world.  We are human.  People everywhere are intolerant of cultural and ethnic differences.  People have to be TAUGHT to live peacefully with other types of people.  It is not natural.  It is natural to be suspicious of others; it is in our evolutionary biology.  “Far-right narratives” emerge in times of stress and social anxiety; people resist change, and people blame others, and the people who are blamed are the “others.”

Q: Do you think that the political system in America, especially the bipartisan system, is ready for fundamental reforms in order to find drastic solutions for social problems?
 
A: No, it is certainly not ready; neither is the world ready – global warming and the coronavirus must be resolved first.  Then, perhaps, the world can work on its serious social problems.
  
Q: The American political system is based on liberal capitalism. Do you think this model can be used as an ethical model for other countries? 

 A: No, it is not and it cannot be an “ethical model.”  But the rest of the world operates in the same way, what you are describing is an international fact! 


 
 

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