1.) US/EU global socialism?
2.) Judeo-Christian strongman?
Like I said, I dont believe there is a third way. Actually, maybe there is: burn it all to the ground and start over
Neither of those two models are any better than what we have, in fact both are worse. Russians turn to a strongman because, first and foremost, it is all they've really ever known. Putin has wasted Russian resources, reduced individual freedom and otherwise done the Russian people no favors. He is no savior. He is playing with a weak hand, his adversaries at the moment (namely Obama) just happen to be buffoons. Putin wasn't even that popular and was dealing with internal dissent in what is a corrupt, decaying society. Putin is getting a bump in support the same way other shaky regimes do, but drumming up a conflict and stoking nationalist sentiment. No different than what the Argentine military tried, unsuccessfully over time, by invading the Falklands. The list is endless of corrupt dictatorships that have tried this.
There is a lot good about our constitution and system of governance, but what we have is still imperfect. I think you live and learn. You look at what worked, and when the time comes to create a new system you build on what was successful with the US constitution and make changes to avoid the pitfalls that showed themselves. As I pointed out, one of the first things I would do is specifically write out any role for the federal government in building a social welfare state. The flexibility would still be there for states to build safety nets and whatnot, but they'd have to do it on their own and remain competitive with the other states - this would make it much more difficult for us to arrive at the point we have. The idea that we have to choose between socialism and a Judeo-Christian strongman is way off base.
I am not optimistic in the short run, but nor I am ready to throw in the towel on the democratic republic concept. We may implode and have to start again, but the best idea is to learn from what went wrong and design a constitution that tries to prevent those things from happening again. And even at that, it may only be successful in delaying rot and decay for an additional 50 years or so. Instead of making it 250 years, perhaps next time we will make it 300. Nothing lasts forever, mankind is not perfectible (as so many socialists believe), and while our system has major flaws it still delivered great things to this country for a very long time. We'll just have to keep building on what works and curtailing those things that cause us problems.
Two big differences...
1. There's no "Thatcher" to oppose him.
2. The inhabitants of the Falklands were not Argies, and none of them welcomed them, as the Russian inhabitants in the Crimea welcomed the Russians.
Yours is an optimistic viewpoint. It’s reassuring in a sense. I hope you are right and it works out that way and we shake off what didn’t work and reinforce what has. I think both you and I realize that wholesale change is required to do that. What form that takes I don’t know.
One thing I do know is that until that time comes a lot of people, including folks on our side are going to be looking for solutions wherever they might present themselves and probably some very weird ideas and alliances will emerge. So I wouldn’t judge “putinista’s” too harshly. These are people who’ve been lied to and marginzalized for a while now: “Oh next election...etc” or whatever political dynamic you ascribe that puts them at the back of the bus.
When you couple that with the political rhetoric of today: “I won, you lost”, “law of the land” and other pronouncements made with finality aimed in one direction then its easy to understand a person’s predilection for courses of action that’ll trump such rhetoric. People want a leader and they don’t have it right now. Ted Cruz is the closest they’ve got but even he’s marginalized.
There is a tendency to equate “putinista’s” with the useful idiots employed by the Soviets in the Cold War era but its a different dynamic. In a very real sense the system they believed in has abandoned them. They win at the ballot box, and its overturned by an oligarchical judiciary. With such lawlessness and judicial activism is it any wonder that there are those who align themselves with someone who says screw all that and just punches people in the face?
The Marquess of Queensberry rules observed on the floor of the Congress and in the courthouses are used to advance one agenda and it’s not ours. The sooner we abandon them the better off we’ll be. 51 (R)’s in the Senate? Maybe we block a SC judicial nominee? Another piece of legislation? To what end? Tactical moves dressed up as strategic.
If we’re going to get to that place you’re talking about where we can effect the kind of change to extend the life of our Republic then we had better move off of the, “my talking head zinger was better than yours” mindset. There is nobody left to convince. We tell our story, they tell theirs. Everybody else in the middle is either stupid or a potential foe.