Letter: Myopic US system needs another modus operandi

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GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT searches for historical antecedents in order to explain the current political debacle in Washington ("America's in a mess because of its sublime constitution", 10 January).

An interesting perspective, but perhaps a little too complimentary. The current impeachment proceedings demonstrate the extent of contemporary America's degeneracy in domestic politics. This sordid episode, orchestrated largely by a venomous and vengeful right wing, illustrates how dangerously myopic, parochial and confrontational American politics is. Is the constitution there for the manipulation of all concerned? The United States is wilfully derelicting international responsibilities in favour of engaging in partisan politics lacking leadership or dignity.

Tragically, the US does not lick its wounds in isolation; rather it engages in random acts of extreme violence as America's pampered and generously- funded war machine lashes out at convenient pariahs of the system; Iraq at the moment, maybe Yugoslavia in the near future. The whole series smacks of hubris, possibly also terminal decline for an unworthy and somewhat pathological world leader.

DAVID JOHNSON

Stoke on Trent

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