“A Catastrophic Loss of Faith in America”​: An Interview with Pankaj Mishra

From The Drift:

We were born in the ’90s — the Cold War has never been particularly urgent or present-tense for us. Our sense is that people of our generation are reacting to the current conflict in Ukraine very differently from those who were around in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. What Cold War-era prejudices and holdovers are mainstream commentators, and even scholars, operating under? 

The big divide today on these matters is indeed between people who were around when the Berlin Wall fell and younger people who only saw the Twin Towers fall. After 9/11, there was a moment of unity in the United States — and a moment of international sympathy — which was quickly shattered by the actions of the Bush administration and its open-ended war on terror, which ended up essentially destroying large parts of the world. For people who were born in the 1990s, it’s been a nonstop experience of political trauma, beginning with 9/11, then the horrific insurgency in Iraq, then the failures of the Bush administration during Hurricane Katrina, then the corruption of the financial elites being revealed by the crash of 2008, and then the deception of the Obama years, which was revealed when Trump suddenly emerged ‘out of nowhere.’ It’s been very difficult, I imagine, for people in your generation to adopt a moralizing position vis-a-vis the world, or to think that after everything that has happened we can simply assume leadership of the free world.

More here.